The price of gas is utterly fucking ridiculous.
There’s no other way to say it; and saying it without profanity doesn’t come anywhere CLOSE to describing it.
Utterly. FUCKING. Ridiculous.
Of course, there’s the usual anti-corporate finger-pointing going on. Oil companies are posting record profits and so everyone assumes they’re doing something illegal. Maybe they are. Maybe not. I don’t know enough about the oil industry to tell either way, but I do know basic economics. Shenanigans are not out of the question, but I think it’s more likely they’re benefiting from a good old fashioned supply-and-demand crisis, which they are only partially responsible for creating themselves. There’s lots of oil in the ground that doesn’t happen to be sitting underneath an Arab country. We aren’t drilling for it. Why not? And even if we were, our refining capacity hasn’t increased significantly in the past 30 years. Again… Why not? Meanwhile our demand for energy of all types has skyrocketed. As an energy company, you’d have to be completely inept NOT to make record profits in such a circumstance. It’s raining money for those guys, and people are pissed because they’re getting soaked?
Whatever. I’m not ranting about oil companies. What’s on my mind is this:
With gas the way it is, something is going to give. And by ‘give,’ I mean break. Shatter. Erupt. Gas-riots in the streets? No… no, you could only WISH. At least that would be entertaining. Rioting can be fixed with a suitable application of OMGWTFTEARGAS!! but the slightly-more-subtle cracks in society are just as dangerous but aren’t so easily addressed. Things are going to start changing for the worse, and we can’t stop that with the National Guard.
WTF am I talking about?
Okay, here’s a few misanthropic thoughts for you:
- Buy a locking gas cap. NOW. Popping open the little door on the side of your car and siphoning out a few gallons… or all of them… has suddenly become a lot more attractive. People who wouldn’t steal your car outright might think differently about just lightening your tank every few nights. When gas was $1 a gallon, that was just a harmless prank you played on people. Now you can make money at it. No alarm system=easy target.
- Just today, a member of my family had to make a choice between buying gasoline and buying medicine. More and more people are going to have to make similar choices as prices go up. As a society, we do not want that. Even for a hardcore misanthropic “let them all starve” libertarian like ME… that’s too much. Why? Because I’m SURROUNDED by people in the same situation and I don’t have enough bullets. And I can’t afford more. And I certainly can’t move. As that becomes more common… well… re-read item number 1 above and extrapolate. A poor economy is just an EXCUSE for crime… not a cause. However, when the economy reaches the point where you can no longer afford necessities, it breeds anger and disillusionment… which IS a cause for crime. Why obey the rules of society when the rules say you starve? Speaking of affording things:
- Every physical item you buy… everything… got to the place of purchase on the back of a truck. Trucks run on gasoline. Prices for food are already starting to go up. When prices spike, most people won’t even know enough to connect it with rising energy prices, but that’s what it is. Everything will start costing more soon. Spending patterns will shift, and the economy along with it.
- Very soon, some people will no longer be able to afford their current job. Sounds ridiculous, yes? Think about it. I see a rise in telecommuting and a sharp drop in business travel (plane tickets are already starting to rise). That’s actually a good thing and long overdue, but will it be enough? If your job is to dig ditches for minimum wage, you still have to physically be there, right? And if the closest ditch-digging job is 30 miles away… can you afford to work? You probably never thought about it… and that’s the problem. I don’t trust the person of average intelligence (at least in my area) to REALIZE that they’re losing money on their job until they’ve already ruined their finances. Suddenly, bills will stop getting paid. Debts will stop getting paid. What does this do to an already strained economy with prices rising due to energy costs and whatever the hell else?
Oh, but don’t worry. I’m sure
mommy and daddy the government will step in and fix everything. And by “fix” I mean make things only marginally better (only for the poor, of course) in the short term while sacrificing freedom and long-term economic stability. Like those “economic stimulus” refund checks. Right. Well, I’m not getting one of those because I already owe the government money, so fuck me. How about just LOWERING taxes so that people can keep more of what they earn, thus enabling them to afford gasoline AND food AND medicine at the same time? No? Okay, whatever. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
Nationalize the oil industry? You might hear that idea batted around, but they can’t pull that off. Not yet. Maybe after another generation or two has been raised in complete ignorance of the Constitution, but not now.
Seize those “obscene profits” from the oil companies? That, they probably COULD get away with. And do what with them? Whatever it is will SOUND good (to idiots), but won’t help a damn thing. This is the same government that brought you… well… the mess we’re in right now! So now you want them to grab money and throw it around in hopes that some of it lands on a solution? Please. They’ll probably just hand it out to poor people (which will include ME, but I won’t actually get a check because I still owe the fuckers money) which means that it will end up in the hands of the same people who have it right now in a matter of months. Net Result: Fuckall. Call it “Economic Stimulus II: Electric Boogaloo”.
Anyway, this unentertaining rant was brought to you by $4.00 a gallon gas, a car with a full tank and no lock on the cap, a 45-minute commute that gets more expensive every time I make it, the money I still owe
Uncle Motherfucker Sam, and three loaded guns within arm’s reach.