As various politicians vie for air time over the outrageous gas prices, there is one symptom no one is talking about. Yet.
As oil production stays pretty steady while the demand for oil increases, this fuels the speculators who have dollar signs dancing before their eyes. So we are seeing a rise in price even while there is no 'shortage' like we saw after Hurricane Katrina. Naturally this is eating many pocketbooks alive and making people put the SUVs in the front yard for sale.
There are a few more pocketbooks that are being raped by these outrageous prices and we, the taxpayer, are paying for it. I am talking about the fuel budgets for local, state, and federal governments. I am betting the budget gurus last year did not factor in such a steep jump in price. So all these people are staring at budgets about to hit bottom.
Which means there will be a reprioritization of fuel usage at all these levels of government. Hopefully the first to get axed are the vehicles for people like supervisors and mayors. Some governments will first slap on an emergency tax instead of trimming budgets. Which means the citizens will be taxed to keep government vehicles running while they themselves further tighten their belts. But if prices keep going up and the available funds vanish, then even the most tax happy government will have to cut back. And just think if the first thing to go is the transit buses before the mayor's car? Or police department has to cut back on patrol cars. Or a fire truck cant respond to a fire due to lack of fuel. Not a pleasant thought. Now add to these stressed budgets, power bills that are also going up.
Now imagine this at the federal level as various agencies go, hat in hand, to Congress for more money for fuel and power. And Congress goes into debate mode. The military will have to scale back fuel supplies for non-combat deployed units while bases get even more manic on electrical conservation. Coast Guard will have to scale back. Agencies will have to cut back on vehicle use and start adjusting their computer controlled thermostats along with hunting down lights in unused offices to turn off.
So with a whimper, the vaunted US military is felled because Congress would not vote for domestic drilling that would rob the speculators of their money model that allows them to make a profit. Denies US energy independence from such jolly fellows as Chavez as they oppress their people using money earned from US consumers. And keeps many American citizens in the poor house due to poor decisions by the US Congress.
'When in the course of human events...'