Saturday, August 2, 2008

Blame (Insert Party) on Gas Prices

Whether Republican, Democrat, Independent or some other affiliation, we're all getting burned at the pump. To use a phrase, we have all heard that giant sucking sound from our bank account into the gas tank at this point. Just as we are all feeling the pain, we must all accept the truth that neither Party in Congress is actually willing to do anything to help us.

Republicans are blaming Democrats for not allowing a vote on off-shore drilling, disingenuously selling the idea that such a move would provide relief at the pump. Republicans went so far as to stage a protest that the House went into recess without voting on their plan to help you ten years from now. At the same time the Repubs have blocked initiatives to regulate speculation, force companies to use the land they already have for drilling instead of sitting on it, and release oil from the strategic reserve.

Dems, on the other hand, are laying blame squarely on the Repubs. However, because of how they structured the votes on Energy, requiring supermajorities to pass, nothing got through. So they can stand there and blame the Republicans for not voting with them, but they never wanted them to in the first place.

It's this nefarious political stance that the Dems are comfortable waiting until after the Election to try and accomplish anything. Instead of attempting to work with some Repubs, the Dems are telling families to hang in there for at least another six months, and if enough families vote Dem in November maybe they'll be able to help you.

This is part of why I hate partisan politics, and I know I'm not alone.

Both parties are guilty of using gas prices for their partisan gain while the average American is suffering. This sort of self-serving bull manure is dragging the entire nation down.

While they're busy counting campaign contributions, wages aren't coming close to keeping pace with the cost of living. This is the latest from the Bureau of Labor Statistics on wages:
Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings increased by 3.4 percent and average weekly earnings rose by 2.8 percent.

Then there's this on prices:
The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U)increased 1.0 percent in June, before seasonal adjustment, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. The June level of 218.815 (1982-84=100) was 5.0 percent higher than in June 2007.

Catch that? Weekly earnings are trailing the cost of living by 2.2%. Energy prices are the driving force behind this problem.

Once winter rolls around, and people in the Northeast have to heat their homes, we could be heading into an even worse economic crisis (either that or Citgo is going to give away a lot of oil, since our own oil companies can't be bothered).

That's part of the reason the idea of waiting until at least the end of January for something to pass is ridiculous. Unfortunately, it seems both parties are more concerned with their six figure paychecks and campaign war chests than with the lives of their constituents.

There's no motivation for them to do anything as long as they're rewarded for "standing up to the obstructionist (insert party here)". The whole lot of them, Republicans and Democrats, they're both guilty. Until voters are willing to take a stand (a tough one) on inaction, ineptitude, and indifference, we're never going to see a difference.

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