Monday, April 7, 2008

The George W. Bush legacy: Over 4,000 dead and gas over $4 per gallon. Are you better off than you were four -- make that eight -- years ago?

The number don't lie.

At the end of March there were 4,001 American military personnel who lost their lives in Iraq.

This morning outside my hotel near the San Francisco airport gasoline sold for $4.099 per gallon.

Ronald Reagan in the 1980 presidential debates asked, "Are you better off than you were four years ago?"

When President George W. Bush took office on January 20, 2001, the national average gas price was $1.46 per gallon. Six and a half years later, on August 27, 2007, the national average gas price had jumped to $2.76, roughly 89% higher. Compounded annually, this represents about a 10% jump each year Bush has been in office. The national average Monday was $3.32 per gallon but in Wisconsin it's $3.45 and even higher in our area.

Now, let’s compare the numbers over the same time period for President Bill Clinton.

When Clinton took office on January 20, 1993, the national average gas price was $1.06 per gallon. six and a half years later, the national average gas price had jumped to $1.22, roughly 15% higher. Compounded annually, this represents about a 2% jump each year.

Even when you compare all of Clinton’s term (38% jump overall) against the first six and a half years of Bush’s term, the overall jump in gas prices between the two presidents isn’t even close. In order to meet Clinton’s “numbers” gas prices would have to fall to $2.02 per gallon - or roughly 36%.

The price rise of 26 cents a gallon over the past month in Wisconsin follows the rising cost of crude oil, which reached an all-time high of $111 a barrel last week and traded around $109 today.

Here's what doesn't make sense.

The crude oil price has been the foundation for gas prices that otherwise defy market forces: decreasing demand for gasoline and surplus inventory. Right now, though, demand is down and supplies are strong which should mean lower gas prices.

This is superimposed on our Iraq boondoggle and indicates that we have a weak White House and an even weaker Congress.

President Richard M. Nixon had the intestinal fortitude to impose a wage-price freeze. Maybe such a widespread edict isn't needed now, but it's time to reign in gas prices which are fueling costlier grocieries and consumer goods.

But Bush has been in bed with his oil baron buddies and doesn't give a rat's behind about how this impacts average Americans, especially with low-paying jobs.

When gasoline prices fell during his tenure, Ronald Reagan once asked, "Isn't it nice to see the gallons adding up faster than the dollars?"

Yes, it would be nice to see that again.

It would also be nice to see a strong United States with a strong military that no nation would ever think of messing with. We had that before the Bush-Clinton presidencies.

I dare say that regardless of how inept Barack Obama is -- and I believe he's the likely Democratic nominee -- Republican candidates will feel the wrath of the voters in November.

And well they should.


Village People said...

This is exactly what my 78 year-old father told me this past weekend. He said he's tired of the standard politics in Washington. He said he's read both of Obama's books and thinks he's very smart, experience or not. He feels McCain has too much of a temper and will get us into further trouble. I haven't made up my mind yet but seeing a lot of former co-workers still looking for jobs makes one pause on how things are really going.

Dad29 said...

There's another significant consideration you don't account for: the de-valuation of the USDollar brought about by Al Greenspan.

Jan /04 the USD was .95/Euro. Now it's about .65/Euro--a decline of 28%.

Factor that into the price of gasoline and you get (Milwaukee price): $2.50 or so.

Keelybob said...

I'm curious to know your opinion of current gas prices and the number of U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan under Obama.