Gas Pains

Tom grew up in Milwaukee, bartended in Wauwatosa in the '70s and moved here in 1984.

Commentary, observations and musings about the outdoors, life in general and maybe Tosa politics and personalities will be the order of the day. He savors a lively debate as much as terrific cooking.

A Gallon Of Gas In Every Pot

Governor Walker, Misguided Priorities, Mitt Romney, The Big Fat Middle, Voodoo Economics

Don't you just love the smell of elections in the spring air?

Oddly-enough Governor Walker and I have something in common.

We both own (or owned) high-mileage Saturn sedans and packed a bag lunch to take to the day job.  While I’d like to think I thought of this first and have been doing it the longest I give all the credit to the Guv.  He told the story about the Brown Bag Lunch and his frugal driving habits first.  And he bankrolled that story into a trip to the governor’s mansion.  Me?  I still have the same day job.  And the Saturn was given to our niece as a high school graduation present.  Cheap transportation for a kid looking for a job and going to college.

As I was filling the tank of my brand new compact crossover, Honda CRV, with leather seating, XM radio and assorted other bells and whistles at the $48 mark I got to thinking of Newt Gingrich and his promise of $2.50 a gallon gasoline.

Shoot.  $2.50 a gallon!  That sure beats a chicken in every pot.

At that price I’ll drive my 1968 Pontiac road monster to work and back.  Considering how nice the weather’s been I’ll put the top down and work on my tan.  At about 10 miles to the gallon for this Detroit-built muscle car - $2.50 a gallon is cheap entertainment.  On top of that it is a chick magnet. 

It is also a guy magnet.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.

I’ve also been thinking about Mitt Romney.  Who is the inevitable and only worthy and qualified Republican candidate for President and his commentary on this matter…

Since the president has been president, the cost of gasoline has doubled. Not exactly what he might have hoped for. … He’s said it’s not my fault. By the way, we’ve gone from ‘Yes, we can’ to ‘It’s not my fault.’ Well, this is in fact his fault.  – Mitt Romney, March 2012

Oh brother.  Mitt, if you think you’re going to float the Republican boat to the Whitehouse by capitalizing on a spike in gasoline prices you’ve got another thing coming. 

I fashion myself a reasonably smart guy.  Not brilliant - but capable.  Which means I'm clever enough to understand that the candidate has seized-upon the correlation is causation trick out of the handbook of silly campaign tricks.  Smart people don't fall for silly tricks like this because if you're reasonably smart you already know that correlation is not causation.  Anyone who has a grip on their wits also understands basic economics.  So maybe the candidate is pandering to the slow vote?   That’s anybody's guess.  But I'm sure that the pollsters know the answer.

Here’s a simple economic lesson for the day.

Fact: Oil is a fungible commodity that is traded globally. Gasoline is highly correlated to the price of oil.

Just like the price of stocks and corn traded on an exchange or used deck lumber sold on Craigslist - oil prices gyrate all over the place. The price of a barrel of oil can be impacted by recessions,  Or Middle East worries.  And (gasp!) supply and demand.  We actually have it pretty good here in the states.  If we lived in the Fatherland we’d probably be paying the equivalent of $8.00+ for a gallon of petrol.  (Taxes are much higher.)

So my take away from this unchallenging lesson is that anybody that implies that a president, presidential candidate, congressman or alderperson can exert their influence over freely-traded commodities is furthering an exercise in the absurd.  Heck, it almost has a whiff of socialism to it.  Nevertheless, I suppose there are probably just enough people who have spent a sufficient number of years listening to daytime angry radio that their brains have turned to mush.  Maybe they believe it.

Me?  I was reminded that the two GI jerry cans of petrol in the back of my pick-up have doubled in price since I last filled them.

Smart investment.

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