No Wonder Those Pumps Look So Phallic

They help you keep in mind that you're getting screwed.


Let's get a few things in perspective, here. With gas prices going insane and the cost of living becoming harder and harder to manage, it's time to start thinking about our priorities. From Senator Kennedy's Minimum Wage Act of 2005:
  • The number of Americans in poverty has increased by 4.3 million since President Bush took office. Nearly 36 million people live in poverty, including 13 million children. Among full-time, year-round workers poverty has doubled since the late 1970s—from about 1.3 million then to more than 2.6 million. An unacceptably low minimum wage is a key part of the problem.
  • The last time Congress voted to raise the minimum wage was in 1996. That increase raised it from $4.25 to $4.75 in 1996, and then in 1997 to its current $5.15 an hour.
  • Today, the real value of the minimum wage is more than $3.50 below what it was in 1968. To have the purchasing power it had in 1968, the minimum wage would have to be $8.70 an hour today, not $5.15.
  • In the past eight years, Members of Congress will have raised their own pay seven times—by $28,500. In those same eight years minimum wage workers have not gotten a single raise—they continue to earn $10,700 a year.
  • The current minimum wage fails to provide enough income to enable minimum wage workers to afford adequate housing in any area of this country.
Again, the numbers are from 2005, but you get the idea. And as to the people that moan that raising the minimum wage will inevitably end in the End of the World as We Know It:
History clearly shows that raising the minimum wage has not had any negative impact on jobs, employment, or inflation. In the four years after the last minimum wage increase passed, the economy experienced its strongest growth in over three decades. More than 11 million new jobs were added, at a pace of 232,000 per month. There were ten million new service industry jobs, including more than one and a half million retail jobs, of which nearly 600,000 were restaurant jobs.
More answers to common arguments about the Living Wage here. In the meantime, oil companies are posting record profits, with one particularly oily customer making out like a bandit.
April 14, 2006— Soaring gas prices are squeezing most Americans at the pump, but at least one man isn't complaining.

Last year, Exxon made the biggest profit of any company ever, $36 billion, and its retiring chairman appears to be reaping the benefits.

Exxon is giving Lee Raymond one of the most generous retirement packages in history, nearly $400 million, including pension, stock options and other perks, such as a $1 million consulting deal, two years of home security, personal security, a car and driver, and use of a corporate jet for professional purposes.
Read that again. The biggest profit of any company ever. And who's paying for Jabba to fly around in a private jet?

We are.
Last November, when he was still chairman of Exxon, Raymond told Congress that gas prices were high because of global supply and demand.

"We're all in this together, everywhere in the world," he testified.
Funny, I don't recall being "in this together" with Lee Raymond. Am I going to see any of that $400 million? Will I get a driver for my car, and not pay for the gas? Will I get a free trip anywhere I wish to go in a private jet? What about people that use a vehicle to make a living and feed their families? Is he in it with them?

Somehow, I doubt it. Doesn't look like Raymond has missed many meals.

It's good to be the king.

And as to that "supply problem" security blanket, there are certain people that would argue with that:
DOHA (AFP) - Saudi Arabian Oil Minister Ali al-Nuaimi said that markets determimed the price of oil and that the current level was not due to supply shortages.

"The market determines the price," Nuaimi said on his arrival in Doha for an informal meeting of the 11-member OPEC on the sidelines of an international energy forum.

"You know and I know that the reason for the price being where it is is not shortages of supply."


Dealers said they expect ongoing concerns over Iran's nuclear programme will keep crude prices above 70 dollars until the crisis is resolved.

It's also easy to lecture about the importance of fuel-efficient vehicles when you can afford five (five!!) Humvees.

What sparked this was a post by Greg Saunders that puts the whole thing into perspective in 3,000 words. Reminding you that a picture is worth a thousand of 'em.

Post it, print it, circulate it. Americans may be apathetic voters, and the easily swayed might be distracted by shiny objects such as abortion or "gay marriage," and some of them still think that the war in Iraq is hunky-dory, because at least "we got rid of a brutal dictator," but nothing will motivate someone more than a hard rabbit-punch in the pocketbook.

We're in deep trouble, America, and it's the Republicans that sat back and crowed "Make it so." And the lilly-livered Democrats sat back and let them go to Warp 10.
You’re paying at the pump. Get payback at the polls.
The time to demand results is now.

(Once there was a man who decided he knew everything... once there was a cross-post he threw in my face...)

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