As we shift social classes


Crude oil prices keep flirting $140USD and gas prices are now close to averaging around $4.00USD a gallon. As nothing is being done of any significance on the national level to regulate their resource, the only talk there is comes from the White House on drilling in ANWR. But as with anything, if you allow people to take advantage of the system, then it only takes one bad apple to abuse the loophole.
But in doing some straight mathematics, we find that while traveling is a fixed necessity (you have to take your kids to school, go to work, or buy groceries), the lower on the societal totempole you are, the harder hit you have to take.
Let’s first make some assumptions. If we assume that the vehicle gets on average about 25 miles to the gallon, and that you drive about 300 miles a week. If that 300 miles takes up about 12 gallons (an average full-sized car given the circumstances) then that also means that every week you’re spending $4.00USD times 12 gallons. That would equate to $60USD a week. Given that there are fifty-two weeks in a year, $60 x 52 is $3120.00USD.
Now this estimate is probably a bit low, but let’s just use that number for now. If you’re a NC teacher with a Bachelor’s degree and certified in teaching with one year of experience, the salary is approximately $30,000USD. That means that even before taxes, you spend more than 10% of your income for gas. If that’s not ridiculous, I don’t know what is.
As you shift this fixed necessity above or below that salary scale, then you can see that it definitely impacts a lot more people a lot faster. You either have to make cuts in other necessities or find a job that pays better. Even cost-of-living increases can’t adjust quickly enough to rising gas prices. Thus, the social class shifts. Everyone takes a step downward and feels the pressure involved from these price hikes while the rich just keep talking about how we need to go drilling domestically. I’m not saying that wouldn’t help. I’m saying without regulation, who’s to say that we’re not going just delay the inevitable of greedy corporate executives looking to line their pockets with the most profitable quarters year after year on the backs of everyone else that do not make seven figures in compensation?
The rich get richer, as the gap grows between the top and the middle. As everyone starts taking the heat more seriously as it starts effecting their pocketbooks, you have to wonder when people will finally backlash and say, “No more.”
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  • Ben: Good observation. I’m no economist, but from what I understand, any rise in wages for the working class would lead to significant inflation. So the working class seems to get a double whammy.
    What’s to be done?

  • Ben: Good observation. I’m no economist, but from what I understand, any rise in wages for the working class would lead to significant inflation. So the working class seems to get a double whammy.
    What’s to be done?