As I drove past the Sheetz gas station in Shepherdstown this morning (once the lowest-priced venue in the area and now one of the most expensive) regular gas listed for 3.75 a gallon. It made me think. I drive approximately 30 miles a day to and from work in a car that averages 33 miles to the gallon (a 2001 Toyota Echo). That means just driving to work now runs me about $75.00 a month just to commute to work. It used to cost me a third of that… $25.00 a month.
The cost of food, largely dependent on the trucking costs that bring carrots to the Food lion in Shepherdstown, for example, has increased by about 30% in the past few months. Eating is now a much more expensive pastime.
So basics have gone up about $1800.00 a year, but payroll hasn’t.
My retirement account has lost eight thousand dollars this past quarter or so because of the dive of the stock markets and the wretched effect of the mortgage fiasco on the economy. That means, with my increase in expenses, I’m now $10,000.00 poorer. I haven’t figured my wife in here, but if I did, our household would have taken at least a $20,000.00 dive.
I don’t feel middle-class anymore. I used to. Since Reagan, the government that regulated banks and oil and trade and insurance and airlines and all the basic needs we consider to be the foundation of middle class existence has de-regulated everything, leaving corporations and lobbyists and multi-millionaires (and Charles Gibson, apparently) in charge of this faltering economy.
Conservatives, who have dominated this country for the past 30 years or so, have always claimed to be protectors of America… champions of small and efficient government… those who see America as safe for Americans. In reality, they have destroyed the America we had and fought two world wars for. They have exploded the size of government, primarily to deal with the massive infusion of corporate lobbyists they have turned much of America over to.
The folks we now call liberals are, I believe, the real conservatives. Those who would conserve America for Americans… regulate corporations back from their status as “citizens” to their former existence as job sites… bring banks and mortgage companies under ethical scrutiny, not be their own kind, but by our elected officials.
Elected officials! We once elected people to pass laws and regulate those who would take over and rape the economy. We have to get back there again.
It is one of the reasons I support Barack over Hillary. Lobbyists and “free traders”(there’s a misnomer if ever there was one!) know she will keep things in their interest. Obama, so far, actually looks like a change.