April 22, 2011

Big Trouble

Filed under: commentary,current events,opinion — Penrod @ 8:38 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,


There is big trouble on the horizon for America, and $6.00 per gallon gasoline is the least of it.  But gas spikes may very well be the trigger that culminates in a “perfect storm” of problems that could prove to be horrific for the USA, to say the least.

But first the gas issue:

According to many predictions, we could be seeing six dollar per gallon gasoline before the year ends.  Last time we faced average costs of $4.00pg, the whole country cut back on use, and gas prices fell back to a more normal $1.87per gallon or so.

But, cutting back on gas use will not help us this time.  With a forecast for gas to be ‘one third again’ higher than the $4.00 level of 2007, it is obvious that Americans will be forced to be even more frugal – – all to no avail.   It should be noted that the $4.00 price came before the stock market plunge and the banking,Wall Street and, and mortgage problems.  We used “bail-outs” to help right-the-course.  But, the country fell into the recession from which we are still trying to dig out.

The US is again in a gas crisis, but this time, there will be no rising from it. Cutting back on gas use will not lower the price because there is no shortage of gas this time.  In fact, there is a glut of oil at the moment.  The chief pluralistic reason driving less won’t help is because the value of the dollar is being devalued by our government and that big bank, The Federal Reserve.

We have lessened our buying power.  We are broke, and we will have no money to create nonsensical “bail-outs” this time.  Being broke, along with having your money worth less because of it, is never a wonderful thing.

The value of the dollar is now at all time low against many world currencies including the important EURO, and each time the dollar loses some of its value OPEC raises the price of crude oil.  This is due to the fact that OPEC uses the dollar as currency for oil, so when the dollar plunges, OPEC raises prices of oil accordingly.  The saddest part is, there is no oil or gas shortage. No glut of oil will help the US this time.  It is simply a matter of what our dollar will buy – or more accurately, what it won’t buy.  If OPEC sees the dollar does not get them the profit they want, they will cut back on production in order force the prices to rise, and we can only get less for our dollar.  It is a vicious cycle.

For many workers, cutting back on gas use is not an option.  Growing numbers of families are already at the point where, after paying for necessary expenses, there is not one cent more.  Many will simply find that they cannot afford to get to work.  Consider this example:

A commuter drives 50mi to get to work.  Gas is priced at $6.00pg  His/her car gets 14mpg.  That calculates to 3.57 gallons of gas needed for the drive.  This comes to a cost of $21.42 to get to work.  The drive back home doubles it to $42.86 a day just to get to work and back.  Put into other terms, the first $5.36 of each hour of pay in an eight hour day goes directly to gasoline!  A staggering 214.29 per 40hr week.

Granted, in actuality, everyone does not commute 100mi per day, nor does each car get only 14mpg, nor does everyone commute alone, and some are even able use mass transit.  But, no matter how you look at it, gasoline takes a large chunk of available funds – and more and more workers have nothing available to give toward higher gas prices, as it is.

Some may be forced out of work because they cannot afford to go there.  And, given the shortages of jobs, looking for work closer to home may not be an option. Mass transit availability may not work either.  Hence, more become unemployed,  there is less tax revenue, more welfare, less company profit, and on and on.

And on it goes:

It is not just the gas price alone.  We know that prices in general are related to increasing gas costs, and will all rise in tandem.  Add to that, the fact that a large majority feel that the US is headed in the wrong direction, and the outlook for the quality-of-life getting any better is bleak.

This fuel issue we are facing could become a catalyst for anything from a major depression to an all out revolution in America.  Grim indeed.  The mood of the country is already stressed and the situation could get very ugly in short order, with hell-to-pay for those targeted as complicit in causing extended and ever-increasing grief.  Anger, either just, or misdirected, along with related social unrest, is difficult to predict.  Many grow sickeningly tired of hearing what they consider to be buck-passing, lies, or outright thievery – all at their cost.  Excuses for the state of the economy are wearing thing and the government is finding it harder to explain away lack of corrective action.

The low-wage, and middle-class workers who have shouldered America’s workload are, to say the least, fed up with having their endless demands for relief going unheard.  They are continually asked to sacrifice more, while costs go up and wages go down.

If you happen to be one of those who sit comfortably, somewhere above the middle-class, you may not be “home free” this time around.  It would be unwise to think that you will be affected only to the point where you are mildly inconvenienced – and then  all will pass.

Should $6.00 gas get us to a “chain reaction” point it may become a very difficult nationwide  situation, and by the time it is realized, the system will have killed the “golden geese.”   They are those who produced the few American-made tangible products that have paid for, and kept the rich and lazy propped up.  They will have lost their jobs for one reason or another.   It will then be too late for you too.

In this light, it would be very foolish indeed, for the powers-that-be to assume that a breaking point of Americans cannot be reached.  It would be a mistake to confuse the good and tolerant nature of the American people with that of being easy marks – to be bled time and time again.  Everyone has a limit to how much pain and abuse one can stand before exploding.  And, exploding social situations are likely to be contagious and spread.

Where this might end would be anyone’s guess.  But the word “revolution” was a word well-known, just prior to America’s successful bid for independence from an intolerable situation.  It could happen again.  In the words of the late rocker Janis Joplin (Me & Bobby McGee): “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”

I am not, with this writing, in any way approving or fomenting revolution. It is opinion, and I am just calling it “like I see it”.  Also, it is a shame that such a declaration even /has/ to be made in this country.   But, I can tell you this much: If Marie Antoinette were alive again today, she would be very, very, afraid – and rightfully so.

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