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Old 2011-04-27, 21:47   Link #1
TurkeyPotPie
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Gas prices and inflation in general

Well, here we go again. Flashback to 2008 and skyrocketing gas prices and inflation. Who here is feeling the pinch? It really burns me up whenever the government reports "official" inflation at near zero percent. Why on earth are energy and food prices excluded from "official" inflation (rhetorical question, I know why they're excluded). My savings earn nothing while the government/banks inflate away everything I own.

Anyway, I just bought some gas and it was $3.85 a gallon for regular (this is in Texas). Gas was nearing $4.00 here when the economy finally started swirling the bowl in 2008. How much longer this time until we hit the skids? After the last crisis there was a massive downsizing at the company where I work accompanied by pay cuts and forced furloughs for those left. I am glad that I made it through that with a job, but now I know what my parents meant when they were talking about stagflation back in the 70s. My wages have been stagnant or falling for years while the price of everything is shooting up.

About the only saving grace of my company downsizing is that they closed the regional office I worked at in Houston and allowed me to work from home since I was considered critical to certain operations. So I don't have to actually drive that much, and besides that I have a relatively fuel efficient car (Honda Civic with manual transmission). Whenever I do go out though it seems like I am in a bizarro world. The stores are still packed, as are the roads. There are more over-sized trucks than ever, and everyone is going 80+ MPH. I live in a rural county, and it is not an exaggeration to say that 90% of the vehicles around here are huge trucks (we're talking 3/4 ton heavy duty dualies, etc.) How the hell do these people afford that? They're not doing any heavy work either (all the farming and ranching around here dried up 20 years ago).

And the food prices, wow. I've always had a garden if possible, but this year I really expanded it. Major problem is the huge drought we're having here in Texas. There hasn't been any rain where I live since last September. My garden is withering away and it's not even May yet! Makes me wonder if the Dust Bowl from the 30s is going to make a reappearance. Don't even get me started on the insanity of diverting a huge portion of the corn crop to ethanol.

So how is everyone dealing with the economic crunch?
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Old 2011-04-27, 22:02   Link #2
Vexx
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My growing opinion is that yes, you ARE living in 'bizarro world'. It mostly makes sense as long as you understand that a very small group of people are looting the economy through diversion and sideshows after years of corrosive influence on the government intended to regulate and oversee a fair environment.
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Old 2011-04-27, 22:11   Link #3
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I'm not very familiar with this, but look into: Oil speculation.

Notice how gas prices were about as high as they were today. But during the recession, they dropped. Once the "economy" seemed to be in better shape, they climb again.

Coincidence? I don't think so.
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Old 2011-04-27, 22:38   Link #4
TurkeyPotPie
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
My growing opinion is that yes, you ARE living in 'bizarro world'. It mostly makes sense as long as you understand that a very small group of people are looting the economy through diversion and sideshows after years of corrosive influence on the government intended to regulate and oversee a fair environment.
My company is like America in miniature. It used to make huge amounts of money, yet over the past five to ten years it's been completely hollowed out by a revolving door of executive management. These guys are all in bed with each other serving on the boards of their companies and taking turns as CEO, CFO, etc. The last CEO we had (have not had an "official" CEO for about three years) only served for 10 months, yet when he left the company was forced to pay the remainder of his contract. $3.8 million dollars for 10 months of "work". This was right after the company implemented an across the board 5-15% pay cut and instituted rolling unpaid furloughs. This CEO was 35 years old at the time and had gone to the right schools and knew the right guys, but didn't know his ass from a hole in the ground for the business we were in. Plus half the jobs in the company were shipped off to India and Vietnam, while huge amounts of money was spent on "consultants" to tell us why were going broke (hey, think it had anything to do with the payouts we are constantly making to musical chairs executive management or selling off company assets for a song and then leasing them back?) The chicanery that goes on in American business today is just disgusting.

Some of these guys have absolutely no clue -- I can remember one of the managers that made $250k+ coming to explain to the hourly workers how everyone had to share the pain, and he was taking a 15% cut in pay while they were taking only a 5% cut. These people make $9 an hour and probably only stay because they need the medical benefits for their families. I don't think the guy realized how close he was to being strung up when he talked about shared sacrifice.
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Old 2011-04-27, 22:39   Link #5
Yuutsu
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Oil costs $5.44 per gallon where I live. Drives my parents nuts (pun unintended).
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Old 2011-04-27, 22:39   Link #6
synaesthetic
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What Kyuu said. Gas prices are subject to crooked commodities speculators who will keep pushing the price of oil up as high as they can, right beneath the point at which the market would stop bearing the cost.

I hope they screw up and go too far, actually. It'd really put a lot more pressure on companies and governments to push EV and battery technology development.

I for one cannot wait until the day when we're no longer a petroleum based economy. Just think how much crap we wouldn't have to put up with if oil wasn't important for running our cars and trucks and planes and such.
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Old 2011-04-27, 22:40   Link #7
Kyero Fox
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China's economy is getting too powerful! america is doooooomed!

^ my reply to the people freakin out about china's economy thing


some guy at my old work laughed at me because i come to work on a bike. Yesterday i laughed in his face "hows that gas bill you douche?"
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Old 2011-04-27, 22:41   Link #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyuu View Post
I'm not very familiar with this, but look into: Oil speculation.

Notice how gas prices were about as high as they were today. But during the recession, they dropped. Once the "economy" seemed to be in better shape, they climb again.

Coincidence? I don't think so.
It is more than just oil speculation - speculation is a way of telling the governments that there is a supply-demand issue somewhere in the world, and work together in that part of the world to balance out the problem.

The thing is, the Americans are out of military steam, and the European politicians are wrangling around in "summits" and "meetings" to discuss the situation while the conflict just gets worse in oil-producing countries.

And China is missing out on a huge military deal. They could have made millions selling AK-copies to both sides of the conflict. *sarcastic*
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Old 2011-04-27, 22:44   Link #9
synaesthetic
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurkeyPotPie View Post
Some of these guys have absolutely no clue -- I can remember one of the managers that made $250k+ coming to explain to the hourly workers how everyone had to share the pain, and he was taking a 15% cut in pay while they were taking only a 5% cut. These people make $9 an hour and probably only stay because they need the medical benefits for their families. I don't think the guy realized how close he was to being strung up when he talked about shared sacrifice.
This is pretty much illustrative of what needs to be done to stop this. These guys will keep grabbing anything that isn't nailed down until people start killing them. It'll happen sooner than later, too.

Basic human nature states that you can only fuck people over so long and so hard before they get pissed off and kill you for it.
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Old 2011-04-27, 22:47   Link #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
Basic human nature states that you can only fuck people over so long and so hard before they get pissed off and kill you for it.
Then, what? Red America?
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Old 2011-04-27, 22:48   Link #11
Ithekro
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Gas prices for the lowest grade is already over $4.10 a gallon locally, and has been for several weeks. Diesel is even higher than that by at least 20 cents of whatever the price is at any given station (between $4.13 and $4.35 depending on what city you are in in California...possibly more, for the lowest gas prices I mean). Diesel is the highest priced fuel currently.

And not all that long ago I was considering stopping going to work in protest if prices got over $2.11.
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Old 2011-04-27, 22:48   Link #12
Master_Yoma
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Well almost 4 bucks here and by summer it will maybe 5 to 6 bucks it makes me glad I dont drive very often
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Old 2011-04-27, 22:50   Link #13
SaintessHeart
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Originally Posted by Flinch View Post
Then, what? Red America?
Yeah, that will happen because almost everyone will try to seize control.

But seriously, US is really getting chaotic inside now. Some people certainly don't know their limits or to lose gracefully.
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Most of all, you have to be disciplined and you have to save, even if you hate our current financial system. Because if you don't save, then you're guaranteed to end up with nothing.
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Old 2011-04-27, 22:52   Link #14
Vexx
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Then, what? Red America?
Well... in France you got... France. But first there was that nasty period where the rich took it in the neck and then the Napoleon period.
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Old 2011-04-27, 22:57   Link #15
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Well, more often than not, a lot of the rich deserve a guillotine. Then again, I guess a lot of people don't know modesty anymore.
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Old 2011-04-27, 23:01   Link #16
TurkeyPotPie
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Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
What Kyuu said. Gas prices are subject to crooked commodities speculators who will keep pushing the price of oil up as high as they can, right beneath the point at which the market would stop bearing the cost.

I hope they screw up and go too far, actually. It'd really put a lot more pressure on companies and governments to push EV and battery technology development.

I for one cannot wait until the day when we're no longer a petroleum based economy. Just think how much crap we wouldn't have to put up with if oil wasn't important for running our cars and trucks and planes and such.
I would love for us to shift away from using so much petroleum if only to be able to get out of the ME, but I don't think EVs are going to do that. The energy to power those EVs has to come from somewhere, and solar/wind/hydro just isn't going to cut it. I wish we would go nuclear in a big way, but Fukushima probably put the kibosh on that for a long time.

And speculation is driving oil, but then what is driving the speculation? I think debasement of the dollar is driving all the commodity speculation, and much of that can be blamed on Bernanke and the Fed's insane policies to bail out the banks (and out of control spending for everything). A small part of me hopes for final collapse just to get out from under the whole rotten system, but then a bigger part of me fears going through the collapse (and what we may end up with on the other side).
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Old 2011-04-27, 23:10   Link #17
synaesthetic
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Most of our plants are coal-fired, not oil-fired, and America is like the Middle East of coal. So getting on EVs will drop our oil consumption tremendously. With coal and nuclear + renewables wherever possible, we could squeak by until orbital solar arrays could finally be realized.
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Old 2011-04-27, 23:10   Link #18
Asuras
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Well, more often than not, a lot of the rich deserve a guillotine. Then again, I guess a lot of people don't know modesty anymore.
We use electric chairs and syringes now, yes?

Quote:
Originally Posted by synaesthetic View Post
Most of our plants are coal-fired, not oil-fired, and America is like the Middle East of coal. So getting on EVs will drop our oil consumption tremendously. With coal and nuclear + renewables wherever possible, we could squeak by until orbital solar arrays could finally be realized.
As if standard roof-mounted panels don't cost enough. With the intake of rays we have now and the price of both producing the panels and shipping it off into space tells me it's a long ways off.

Isn't Germany mostly on renewables now? Why not do that?
Oh right. Oil tycoons.
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Old 2011-04-27, 23:22   Link #19
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Well in simpler terms the weaker the dollar( which is the international currency) the higher the commodities (; Eg oil precious metal like gold, silver and general goods like sugar wheat rice etc)

Well there over factors as well like natural disaster , accidents that effects globally, conflict, supply and demand, and debt rating
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Old 2011-04-27, 23:27   Link #20
synaesthetic
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Yeah, the thing being, if the engineering and materials science hurdles of orbital-based solar panel arrays could be solved, energy would no longer be a finite resource.

Well, it's still technically finite, but the sun's got a few billion more years before it runs out of hydrogen to fuse.
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