Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It never rains but it pours.

I remember once when I was little, my family and I were on a car trip. I forget how old I was exactly, but young enough to believe my Dad could control the weather. It was raining outside and every time my Dad yelled "Stop!" the rain would magically stop. And when he yelled "start!", it would start up again. How cool was my Dad that he could control the weather by the sound of his voice? It didn't matter that we happened to be going under a bridge when he yelled "stop!", and came out from under it when he yelled "start!". All I knew was that when he told the rain to do something, the rain obeyed his voice. Which was true (the rain did respond when he commanded it to)... but I didn't take other factors into consideration. And we all know (or I hope we all know) that no one can control the weather by the sound of their voice.

This reminds me of what's going on financially in this country today. I've heard many people lament about how "bad" things are... of how they had one job during Clinton and had money to spare, and under Bush, they work multiple jobs and are still struggling. And like the rain example, I'm sure it is true to an extent, but people aren't taking other factors into consideration. I'm sure Bush and Clinton aren't the only things that have changed in those people's situations.

My Grandparents worked more hours for less money than people today, but does that mean whomever was President then was worse than Bush or Clinton? No! For one, there's a thing called inflation. Things aren't going to cost the same now as they did in 1940 nor are they going to cost the same as they did in 1980. I feel this is one of the things that people fail to recognize. Please repeat after me: Gas will never again cost under $2.00 a gallon. It'd be nice and sure, $4 a gallon stinks. But there's nothing you can do about it, to get it to go down to $0.99 a gallon ever again, even if they drill, even if we look for alternative resources. We have to accept that.

The value of a dollar changes. Inflation changes. The cost to produce things changes. Supply & Demand change. The amount of resources available changes. Mileage per gallon changes. Even your car changes over time.

I sincerely doubt that anyone (besides my Dad who holds onto cars forever, almost past their time) still has the same car that they had 20 years ago. So if you say "gas under Clinton cost me XX to fill my tank and now under Bush, it costs XXX to fill it". No kidding, you don't say. There were a lot smaller cars on the road back when Clinton was in office, and they probably had an average of 10-12 gallon tanks. Now, everyone has humongous cars that have 20+ gallon tanks. Even if gas was the same exact price now as it was then, it would STILL cost you more because you have a bigger tank!! It's not rocket science...

Now moving away from gas... it's the same logic for the people that think it's Bush's fault that they were able to support themselves from one job during Clinton, but struggle working multiple jobs under Bush - Look to the other factors.

People that are now having families (or have established families under Bush) and buying houses now, were the same people that were in high school living at home or in college, supporting themselves. One job during that stage is enough to support oneself, doesn't matter who was President at the time. But when you grow up, buy big purchases (cars, houses, etc) and start having families, it's going to cost more That one job just won't cut it anymore. I don't see why people expect to afford bigger ticket items and try to support other people on the same job that they used to just support themselves.

Other factors can account for this as well: divorce, losing one's job, getting lower paying job, debt, addition of pets, kids or elderly parents, retirement, moving, etc... No matter what the case, I'm sure all of the people complaining about how things are so much worse now that before aren't in the same exact situation as they were 8+ years ago.

The media isn't helping the situation much, by perpetuating the myth that "evil" Bush is to blame for all of this. And like the rain example, we need to look around to our surroundings for other factors and the answers for our current situations, instead of thinking that one guy is controlling the rain.

No comments: