Three dollar bills and gallons of gasoline

Jack wrote this in September, 2005:

Tonight when I went down to Bernalillo to buy my lottery tickets the price on gas, I saw again, is again the highest I’ve ever witnessed in the US.  I’m told the price jumped immediately when the hurricane came in.  I got to talking to a guy outside the store who was obviously taking a break from driving.  Noted his Maryland tags and asked how the gas prices had been along his route.

“Higher than here.  $4 a gallon in Needles, California.  But it’s going to go higher.”

Interesting news.  A person has to wonder how high gasoline can go before it puts a boa-constrictor squeeze on all other consumer spending.  I’d guess, not a lot higher than it’s gone already.

Meanwhile, Public Service Co of NM, has notified customers that charges for gas and electricity will be maybe doubled this winter.  If that’s true here, I’d guess it’s also true elsewhere.

So, I asks myself, what’s happening here?

I’m seeing no assertions that these higher fuel prices have anything to do with the war we’re in, but  they’re coincident with it.

I’m hearing no explanations for fuel prices going up the exact moment when a hurricane comes inland leaving a path of devastation, but from here it appears to opportunistic price-gouging.  The fuel in those tanks couldn’t possibly have cost more as a result of the storm.  It was bought before the storm.  But, the price increase happened to be coincident with the storm in much the way the earlier price increases were coincident with the war.

In ’74, when the Arab oil embargo drove gasoline prices sky-high for those times, Americans got awfully angry about it in fairly short order.  Admittedly, that was before the wussification of the citizenry was complete.

But I’m inclined to believe that if this fuel price situation becomes an enduring feature of American life, there’s no way it can fail to result in inflation, a wintertime disaster to almost match the Hurricane, but concurrent with it, and a lot of Americans who’ve never experienced hunger suddenly knowing there are more important things in life than who won the Super-Bowl.

My pre-wussification mind tells me those Americans will be looking for scapegoats, which might well not be true.  But if Americans discover suddenly that they’ve squandered the legacy of abundance left them by their ancestors, that they’ve sent their industry overseas by sleight of hand, that they’ve elected politicians based on the deadly desire to abdicate responsibility for their own lives, there’s probably going to be a comeuppance.

Today there’s a tender compassion for victims of a disaster.  But the day mightn’t be far distant when Americans turn their backs on those in need because their own needs seem hardly less demanding.

I recall pictures when I was a kid, of Benito Mussolini hanging upside down from a lamp post while his former admirer/worshipers strolled by to spit on the corpse.  That’s because Il Duce quit making the trains run on time.

But that’s all pre-wussification.  No bearing on what happens in America when gasoline prices go to five bucks a gallon and home heating oil doubles in post wussificated America.


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