Democrat From Kentucky

Democrat from Kentucky
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The Keys To The Next Election and Beyond: Oil Prices Friday, March 31, 2006

There's lots of debate right now over what the major issues are for the year. Abortion is rearing it's head in many states. Some are even considering stopping state funded birth control. Then there's spying on U.S. citizens and the Patriot Act. All these are important to many of us, regardless of which side one falls on. The issue though, no matter what else happens, is going to be the pocket book and nothing screws with people's lives more than the cost of gasoline.

The market ended today with the May contract of crude cracking $67 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange and the price of gasoline going over $2 a gallon before it ever sees the pumps, we may be in trouble. Summer driving season starts on Memorial Day weekend and that's when the prices will really kick in. I would expect fuel prices to hit $3 a gallon or more by the beginning of the summer season.

What all this means is people will be spending more money for their driving. This will have an impact on lots of things, including retail costs. This means people will have less money to spend on various goods and services. Heck... it'll even affect people's ability to put food on the table or even maintain a house payment. I hope you don't have to commute very far. You're likely to run into problems because gasoline costs are going to hurt.

Here's the predicament for the Republicans: They're supposed to be good at economic things. We've got an executive team who came from the energy industry. Why haven't they been able to handle it?

I failed to mention the Iraq War earlier because I believe the war is tied to oil. As Ted Koppel pointed out in a recent editorial in the New York Times:

But the Bush administration's touchiness about charges that we acted — and are still acting — in Iraq "because of oil"? Now that's curious. Keeping oil flowing out of the Persian Gulf and through the Strait of Hormuz has been bedrock American foreign policy for more than a half-century.

But realistically, even though the Iraqi War was over oil, it's still not improved our condition really has it. The word to ask if I were running for office, is "Are you better off than you were 2 years ago or perhaps 4 years ago or even 6?" All one must do is to look at gasoline prices.

Also remember we lucked out big time on winter. If Old Man Winter had elected to be a bit cross, then I daresay the U.S. would've had a heating crisis between the costs of natural gas and heating oil. We can't forget about hurricane season though. It's less than six months away. What if we have a couple of Cat 5s this year? The Gulf Coast can't handle it again. Louisiana and the rest of the coast is still the victim of one massive cluster fuck. The only reason we don't hear about Mississippi is that's prime Republican territory.

How does this all translate to votes? People vote their wallet. Almost always. If people are making more money and enjoying a nice life style, then they will vote the status quo. People are making less money though and most people are in debt up their eyeballs. If Democrats can convince people they will be financially better off with them, then they will get elected. I just hope the Dems start talking common sense economics instead of getting hooked in on wedge issues, which often seems to be the case.

The long windedness had ended for the moment. I hope I make some sense.

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posted by Stithmeister @ 12:35 AM

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Location: Harrodsburg, Kentucky, United States

I'm currently working in the telecomm industry but one of my passions is still politics.

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