Friday, May 16, 2008

Current Happenings


I know that I resolved last week to post more, but alas... it's almost over. On Monday, I have a final and a quiz, and that should be it as far as this semester goes. Then it's the summer, where I'm planning to take one online course and hopefully find a job, and then onward to fall, where I'll hopefully finish this program. But come Monday, hopefully (there's that word again), I'll be able to post more. I miss blogging terribly.

Anyway, I realized this morning that I haven't really talked much about what's on everyone's minds, the ever-rising price of filling up your car at the pump. This might not affect me as much as it affects you, since I don't drive, but my family drives me often to places, so it's easy for me to understand. Every time there's another increase, I see an article in the paper outlining all the reasons why it's going up. It's everything from speculation by investors, the fall of the dollar, turmoil in oil-producing nations, and all these other reasons. It could very well be these things. But personally, just judging from my gut instinct, I can't say that I buy it. Again, I could be wrong, and call me crazy, but there are two factors that come to mind when I think of this.

For one, in 2000, there was the coup and Bush was selected by the USSC against the will of the majority of Americans. When he entered the White House, gas was in the $1.40 per gallon range. Fast-forward to the present, 7 years later. Gas has nearly tripled in that time. Prior to entering the White House, Bush was an oilman. His family comes from that world. Cheney also has connections to Big Oil. With all that, does anyone think that the guys occupying the White House have absolutely nothing to do with why gas has tripled in 7 years?

Also, if there are all these factors behind the rise in oil prices, as the media explains to us, wouldn't it make sense for the oil companies (Exxon, etc.) to be feeling the pinch too? But no, every few months, when a quarter ends, what do you read in the business section? That these companies are realizing record profits. As well thought-out as these other theories may be for the rise in oil prices, and they could well be true, what do I know? But these 2 points that I just raised are never brought up by the media. It just seems strange, I'm sure I'm not alone in thinking this.

Prior to blogging, I did read a snippet of an article that in Wisconsin, people are now connecting with each other online to share the ride to work and in the costs of gas. That's very encouraging. There aren't a lot of solutions to help manage the pain at the pump, but that's one sure-fire way to lower the costs of driving your vehicle. I remember after Katrina happened, and gas prices first started spiking up to 3 dollars or so a gallon, and on one of the news programs, people were being asked whether they'd consider carpooling, and the response was almost entirely negative. They seemed to really value their independence and at the time, I found it very foolish to not even consider that common-sense idea. Maybe now with gas prices having increased by at least another dollar since then, people will rethink some of their opinions. It's time to get over our perpetual distrust of people and realize that we're all in this together, that we're all being boned up the ass.

Sorry, I know that's an unpleasant image. But that's as simple and blunt as I can be. Now, I'm about to cover some previously unexplored territory in this blog, and I hope I don't frighten some of you off. But I am hoping that this worsening economy will make more Americans realize the totally unequitable relationship between capital and labor. No, I'm not a socialist or a commie, you'll have to take my word for that. But capitalism has its deep flaws as well, and I don't think it ensures long-term prosperity in any society, at least for the vast majority of us. But I'm digressing.

Someone close to me told me the other day, that it makes him laugh when the reasoning for increasing the prices at the grocery store, is due to the gas prices and how companies have to pass their costs on to the customers. He asked, "who do I pass my costs on to"? For the most part, I haven't been working for nearly a year. I'm in this program, and it's been my life, pretty much. But the key reason behind my leaving my job, was a conflict with my employer. It wasn't something I initiated, mind you. My everyday costs were increasing. My health insurance had recently gone up by over a third. So I'd asked for a one-dollar raise. A few weeks went by, I didn't hear anything. Then one day, I had an argument with another employee, and the circumstances behind that (I strongly believe) were chereographed by my employer to force me out. We did talk about my asking for a raise before I'd left, and he told me that I wasn't worth 12 dollars an hour. So, my costs went up, and I couldn't pass them on to my employer. But when the prices of the goods he ordered went up, the first thing he'd do is raise his prices, and pass them on to the customer.

So that's what I mean by there being an unequitable relationship. When our costs of living go up, we can't approach our employer and explain that to them. They'd likely laugh and say "don't let the door hit you on the ass." But when their costs go up, they don't hesistate. And in a lot of instances currently, these companies will use the situation to gain. This is their opportunity to charge even more, on top of what they're apparently losing, and then wrap it all in a ball and tell us, "we have no choice, our prices are going up."

So that's all I have to say at the moment. Again, I hope to update more over the coming weeks. I appreciate your patience.

No comments: