Thursday, May 20, 2004

The Real Reason Bush Will Lose

We've already acknowledged that we're in the middle of a very shaky economic stabilization (I won't call it a "recovery") after three years of being in the tank. While folks on the West Coast have been dealing with high gas prices since early spring, the full force of the spike in prices is just now being felt on the East Coast. I put gas in one of my cars last night. I put gas in the other one this morning at the same station. The price had jumped up a nickel.

This simply can't continue. I don't have a big enough brain to know whether opening up the strategic petroleum reserve to drive down prices is a good idea. My gut feel is that this isn't the direction we need to be heading. But being in a job position that requires me to absorb fuel price increases in my department budget -- everything from UPS deliveries, trash removal, and fueling our own trucks -- I know that this can not go on much longer without significantly (and I mean significantly) impacting whatever economic stabilization was underway a few months ago.

It's this easy. The cost of heating my house this past winter was bad enough. Now, it's costing me nearly twice as much as it was a year ago in fuel costs to commute to/from work. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that my family and I have tightened the money belt. By contrast, understand that in the past 1.5 years, my place of employment has provided no pay increases to employees. Our "out of paycheck" health insurance costs went up over $70 / month this year.

It's pretty clear by now -- Iraq could go up in flames, and there would still be a 50/50 split among Americans regarding the war. What will drive Mom and Pop Trailerpark away from Bush (and the GOP) are pocketbook issues. It's always been that way, and always will. "43" need look no further than "41" as a recent example of this phenomena.

(P.S. - if my rant strikes a chord with you, you'll be particularly amused by this.)

Update, 4:25PM EDT: You knew this was coming.