Making Choices

Today I had a great comment on my $4 Gasoline post by Joy at Joy’s Victory Garden and Our Friendly Earth, that got me to pondering an issue that I have addressed here before. With the inevitable $4 gasoline, and the possibility of the rising cost not taking a downward turn anytime soon, what are average Americans going to do? Choices will be made…choices born out of fear and exasperation.

My concern with $5 gasoline is that people will have to choose between buying a gallon of milk or loaf of bread and buying a gallon of gasoline. Without fuel, people will not be able to afford to drive to work. If a person doesn’t work, then what? There are assistance programs, but I am certain it is not enough.

DH drives 36 miles round trip for work everyday. He drives an older vehicle with terrible fuel economy…but that is our only choice at the moment. Just cipherin’ in my head, I come up with a monthly expenditure of around $200 for him to drive back and forth to work. It is not proper form to tell you what percentage of his net income that actually respresents, but let’s just say….I would much rather that be going into a college savings fund instead pouring out into the environment. There is no choice for us for now, we will keep paying the amount, whatever it is, so that DH can earn his paycheck.

What about other’s who do not have other resources to offset this enormous budget buster? For a minimum wage employee, almost one hour work will pay for a gallon of gasoline. I am thinking that most minimum wage workers drive older less fuel efficient vehicles. Using the same scenario as DH’s, except on minimum wage, the percentage of net income spent on fuel is approximately 25%, a percentage that was once reserved for the most important issue of your budget…housing. Rising fuel costs added to a fixed rent figure could skyrocket to a 60-70% of a minimum wage earners net salary. So that puts us at 85-90% of salary….hmmmm….what about child care (I am thankful I do not have to worry about this expense), medical, and ummmm…let’s say FOOD? There’s another hit below the belt. Milk is as much as gasoline and bread/eggs not to far from it.

I am not an economist….and there is much I do not understand about inflation, recession, supply and demand, but one thing that I recognize with our current situation and where it is headed is that we are in deep stuff here. I think I could ramble on and on here with what ifs. It seems…and I realize that I will most likely be corrected in the comments section….that we have a full viscious cycle building larger and larger….like a thunderhead in the distance. If people are put into a position of making choices of whether to purchase gas to drive to work, or to feed a hungry family, what will that choice be and what are the ramifications of the choice? No work? No paycheck! No paycheck? No food or housing! Then what? Subsidies are available, but will they continue if a the need becomes greater? Certain jobs are filled with minimum wage workers (right or wrong) that will otherwise not be filled by anyone else. What will happen if the need for employees is not met? What if, what if?

I don’t know the answer. Do you? One thing I do know, it that I am watching the lightning strikes…..1….2….3…..and counting the moments…1…..2…..before I hear the thunder…..1……and I believe it to be a prudent time to take cover! There is a different kind of storm a-comin’!

11 thoughts on “Making Choices

  1. I don’t think there are any answers… none that regular citizens can come up with… one just ends up thinking in circles trying to figure it out..

  2. The doomer’s best case scenario is usually worse than the Great Depression…. most economists paint a rosy scenario with “alternatives” and “new technologies” stepping in to save the day. My best guess is that some people will manage to adapt and hang on (maybe those with the greatest resources – monetary and otherwise), others will lose what they have and move in with family, others will be out on the street.

  3. On snowy days, I often used to look out my window to the usually busy street, now almost empty. I’d wonder where all those people were normally going that they could just stay home when it snowed. Nothing very important, I’d figure.

    Today as I sat a few minutes on my front porch, I noticed that there wasn’t a car on the street at a time when it should have been bumper to bumper. I think that’s how people here are coping, by making only essential trips. I guess that’s how it always should have been.

  4. Frau…those that have will continue to have and those without…well….The storm is brewing on the horizon.
    Do you ever watch the Peak Moment videos?


    Alice! Good to see you! The other day I drove on the highway over 1/2 of the way to Dodge City without another card headed the same direction.What a shock that was! I can’t say whethere there were any vehicles going the opposite direction, because I was always watching my rear view mirror…worried that I was going to have to speed it up to 65 mph. I was able to drive 45 mph that 1/2 portion and my fuel efficiency was at 40MPG. I hope I am not damaging my electrical system by shutting the a/c off and on with when I coasting downhill.

  5. It seems that we all have the same worries and thoughts. Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting. Roswell is like a trip back in time…it was an experience!

  6. I agree that if we keep doing things they way we have been for the past 50 years we are in for a tsunami of problems that have been quietly or not so quietly escalating for years while we have gone on enjoying our lovely modern conveniences as if there were an endless supply of everything from land to water to clean air.

    I am no economist either, but there are so many complicating factors that are causing these issues to collide and fester it feels like a major hurricane swirling away and heading our direction. We don’t know where, when, or how bad it will be. And we have no idea if the “levies” will hold once it does hit.

    We will need all the new technologies that should have already been implemented if corporate America had a soul for anything other than the almighty dollar. And each and every individual will have to make adjustments. We will also have to revise the Republican ideal of every person for themselves. We just might have to reach out and help each other and there might have to be some help from the government hopefully funded by the rich that keeps getting richer. I have never been a fan of over taxing the rich because in theory they should be fueling the job market with their own industry…we don’t see that happening. Corporations are sending jobs overseas where there are fewer regulations and cheaper payrolls. So now we probably do need some real redistribution of wealth although I fear it has been sheltered so heavily that it just won’t happen.

    My worst case projection is that we will be seeing a homeless population like never before and “tent cities” could be popping up everywhere. Best case, we all make a hard turn in how we live and get very creative and the synergy of that action turns this ship around to fairer waters.

  7. Hi I followed a link over here and found a blog very close to my own heart. It’s important that we all start talking about these things and that more and more people are aware. When I go out into the world, I see so many people with blinders on – I have to come to cyber world to have good conversations.

    One comment on the kitten eye infection, I’ve learned that feeding a bit of raw egg helps clear that up. I heard it years ago and found it has worked when we’ve taken in the kittens that are stressed. You can always pay $35 later if it dosn’t clear up.

  8. Waterrose-I agree…we are all talking about what is most prominent on our minds.

    Hi Verde! I definitely know what you mean about people having blinders on. I sometimes feel very alone in my concerns, until I visit with a more globally minded people.

    In addition to Peak Oil, I have been watching the H5N1 concerns over the past couple of years. Try mentioning THAT in a group of uninformed individuals! 😮

    Joy-what a great post/comment! Working together as a community sounds so wonderful, but it will take education of leaders in the community before some populations will become cohesive in their efforts and helping one another becomes fashionable.

    In my area, I feel pretty much alone (when it comes to my efforts) in our small town. Until my daughter has graduated and moved away, I must strive to NOT be called the “looney-sun-cookin-lady” or “whacko-eco-backyardfarmin’-survivalist-broad”. I will work very quietly behind the scenes and visit with like-minded people in cyberland.

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