The Critical Eye

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Economics 101

It has become quite clear that no matter what George Bush says, we are in a recession. I don't blame him though for thinking otherwise. After all, he doesn't buy gas, has been living rent and mortgage free for almost eight years, has frequent flier miles on the most comfortable aircraft in the American skies and probably doesn't shop for clothes. His food is free, and he doesn't pay for laundry detergent. So it is quite apparent that he would not recognize a recession if it slapped him in his wallet. This in one of the most economically trying times in many years and it is amazing to hear that the esteemed President is clueless. According to him, we're in an economic slow down.

Laced in the vitriol of conversation is the acknowledgment that every conceivable good and service has been affected by the price of gas. From milk to the soft ice-cream cone I buy every year at the start of Spring costs more. Yes, even the kiddie size one that used to cost $1.25 is now $1.50. Forget about the groceries and consumables that us everyday folk require; messing with my ice-cream is just unconscionable. Recently, George "Dubyah" traveled to Saudi Arabia. His visit must have had some impact; because the price of gas has gone up. I imagine he said something to tick them off. Something like, "We're not pulling out of Iraq," would do the trick. As a common man I have been beaten down by what clearly appears to be the most oppressive economic downturn in the past 30 years.

Dubyah isn't feeling it though, he's in the top three percent. Three percent? That's that oily film that floats to the top when you make a really good stew. Those are the guys that congress is calling to hearings and questioning. The white dudes in suits, that run the oil and mortgage companies. Their sheer arrogance in the face of questioning shows that they are a direct product of the very system that has created and is benefiting from this mess. No amount of eloquence and clever prose can mitigate a broke pocket.

My twenty six mile one way commute has become a $70 a week gas excursion. I may like my job, but somehow parting with close to $280.00 a month to get there, wasn't in my plan. It's called budget defying economics. How to stretch every dollar so that it meets your needs while circumnavigating the beltway, has become a version of economic roulette. If you're not getting ticked off at being cut off, then the price of tomatoes will make you blow a gasket. So now, I'm not as tolerant of my boss or co-workers. My employees are getting on my nerves with their questionable work habits and timeliness valuelessness (now that rhymes). Can't quit the job though, it's barely paying for the gas to get me there.

Consider me a skeptic and pessimist. I have a huge suspicion that while we have been watching -with keen interest- the terrorist warnings levels go from orange to red, to green and back up again; the terrorists have been watching our gas prices go from $3 to $3.50 to $3.71. We have ignored the fact that this may just be a new form of terrorism. There has to be some satisfaction in watching us squirm and complain about gas prices. There must be some deep satisfaction in knowing that thousands of Americans have and will lose their homes. That the system of credit dependence has allowed smug looks like the ones of the oil and mortgage company presidents we saw on television. Someone is happy watching our economy implode. Evidently it might be some of our own people. We all know the government is not doing enough to mitigate this situation. I love the economic stimulus package, but it won't go to pay for my gas. I have a mortgage, wife and kid. It would be uncivilized to use any of it to pay Hussein El Bin Al Sadab to build another palace or diamond earrings for his ninth wife.

So as rhetoric builds about how to fix this royal mess, I can only sit in awe at how we will survive. If the housing crisis isn't an indicator, then leaving my car at home and using a moped should be. We're sick and tired of being sick and tired. The way I see it, I need to call over to Pennsylvania avenue and ask if I can move into one of the guest rooms for a spell. It's closer to work.

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