Thursday, February 24, 2011

Gas Prices: If you’re not outraged, you’re a hypocrite

I remember when gas prices first hit just under $2.00 a gallon. I was filling up at Albertsons on highland and about 45th So or so, the guy at the pump in front of me got out of his car and looked at the prices and was clearly taken aback. His immediate response was to curse Bush as loudly as he could.

The increase in gas prices then triggered round after round of gas boycott emails, all of which failed, trucker lead protests and general consumer anger which I believe was the real reason Bush became so hated. Say what you will about the war Bush’s biggest problem was what happened to the economy under his presidency.

Gas prices increases lead to an increase in the cost of transpiration and transporting goods, which lead to decreased expenditures on unnecessary goods and even some necessary goods, which lead to a decline in the economy, which lead to lost jobs which lead to people not being able to pay their house payments, which lead to the housing market collapse, which lead to an even more severe recession and even more lost jobs. Granted stupid policy like the Community Reinvestment Act and the subsequent forcing of banks to give loans to folks who couldn’t afford it was no help, but its time to face the reality that a huge part of the reason those loans could not be paid back was because they were putting everything in the gas tank!

Bush presided over a 5% unemployment rate throughout most of his tenure, it peaked at 7% in his final months. The Obama economy has brought unemployment around 10%, this despite the initial drop in gas prices. By the time the gas prices fell the damage was already done, but to fix the problem gas prices should have remained low so that people would have time to recover from the gas shocks of the previous administration. If gas prices remain high we will never get this economy back on track the way it was in the Reagan-Bush 41-Clinton years. Gas prices have skyrocketed while our wages have been static or declined.

On top of it all we have too much debt both individually and collectively, and can’t seem to get ahead, ever. We screamed and shouted over this while Bush was President, yet we fall silent now… why? We continue to pay unfair prices for gas which is consuming our disposable income preventing us from paying down our debts or doing the consumer spending needed to stimulate the consumption driven economy we have. Consumer spending is crucial, but how do we spend when every spare cent ends up in the gas tank?

The key difference between Bush and Obama on this issue is that Obama is on record saying he energy prices to “necessarily skyrocket.”-1. Bush came off clueless that this was happening. I remember watching on CNN a clip where he reacted with horror that the gas had gotten so high. Obama, in a knee jerk reaction to an admittedly horrific oil spill shut down US drilling off the gulf coast even though it was a British company responsible for the leak. Under Bush much talk was given to opening up ANWR and other domestic sources but nothing was done. Obama is a well known Greeniac so we can’t expect that to change. Both presidents served during a time of increasing instability in the middle east causing speculator to go crazy on the futures market which all but invited OPEC to go crazy in their price baskets… I wonder if they’d be so eager to fleece us if we got most of our own energy domestically?

Needless to say this is the problem at the core of our economic woes. If Republicans want to maintain and grow our 2010 gains in 2012 this is a problem that can no longer be ignored even if the media is a little short on the outrage they showed President Bush over this problem now that Obama is in charge.

Further more silence on our part amounts to hypocrisy. What, did we get used to being robbed blind at the pump? How is it fair to President Obama to stop complaining about gas prices now? I think its only fair to hold his feet to the fire the same way we did Bush’s. The economic problems we are facing now will not go away if we don’t.


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