We’re screwed.

Price of gas yesterday was $3.44 per gallon.   We are SO in trouble!  This is going to make everything else we need and/or want to buy skyrocket.  People will not be able to afford anything!  They are predicting $4 per gallon by summer and since it easily went up 40 cents in a couple of weeks, I can totally see that it will be $4 plus by then.   Things are so bad here in Michigan for most people, we all know wages and salaries are not going to increase to match the high prices of everything.

Gas prices are terribly high in Europe and have been for years, but they have a great public transportation system that is really easy to use and has been in place for a long time.  They have the infrastructure for really good train service, even to very small towns (at least in Germany).  People have options so they don’t have to rely on driving so much.  We don’t have that here.  If it were like Germany here (that’s the only European country I’ve been to, so my only frame of reference), I should be able to walk out the end of my driveway, walk 20 feet to the corner, catch the bus (that comes by twice an hour), and take it into Midland.  Often the bus station and the train station are right near one another.  So, I’d be able to take the train to Saginaw (where I could catch another bus to an easy walk close to where I wanted), or to my hometown in the UP quite easily.  But, we do not have that here.  We have put our energy and time into roads.  I found out recently that the interstate highway system was built for the cold war, so people would have a fast way to get away from where they were.  It figures!  Didn’t we go to the moon too, so we could do it before Russia?

Anyway, I digress.  Gas prices are flying up so high and fast.  People were worried and upset when they were consistently $2 per gallon, I am sure they are passing out left and right about it now.  And for good reason – it will now cost more to get to the job that barely pays enough for many to get by.  And, the cost of everything else will go up as a result.  Surely somebody somewhere can do something?  I am not worried about our family – we will absorb it like everyone else has to, we already don’t buy “stuff” excessively.  Probably the first to go will be going to restaurants.  It is not that nice to go anymore anyway with the kids being the ages they are – they just don’t hold out well.  And, frankly, I can cook better than most too!  (Unless we are going out for sushi, which happens maybe twice a year.)  We will probably stop for subs or order pizza on occasion like we do now but the dinners at Applebees or The Outback will be fewer and farther between.  It will be bad for everyone, from the little guy all the way up to the big companies.  Bracing self for crash.  Perhaps it’s time to stuff cash in the mattress, or better yet, buy gold coins.

OK maybe I’m going a little too far, but I do think we’re screwed.  And, once prices go up, do they come down?  They haven’t in my lifetime!  So I’m going to “help” out our capitalist society a bit by just not buying anything unless we need it.

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7 thoughts on “We’re screwed.

  1. Interesting that you’ve been to Germany, since that’s also the destination of a good number of my professional friends lately– not just to visit, they’re *emigrating* there. It’s just like what you say– they have outstanding public transportation there, and since the Euro has stayed strong against the dollar in Germany and elsewhere in the EU, even fuel prices have been kept in check in Europe, compared to here.

    Germany and other German-speaking countries like Austria are big tech hubs, and people who work there earn a salary in Euros rather than the worthless dollar, with more reasonable hours than we have over here. Plus the schools are outstanding and almost free, the cities are clean and in excellent shape, and as you say, public transportation is world-class. As an added bonus, Germany and other EU countries (except for Britain) aren’t mired in these draining wars the way we are.

    So people I know, especially the professionals and the technical/creative/entrepreneurial types, are taking language courses or doing tapes, and getting their ducks in a row to emigrate. (Since Germany I guess is leader of the EU, German is very popular and used everywhere, though French, Italian, even Greek, Swedish and Dutch have their adherents, depending on where people are going.)

    We were talking this a few days ago, and among us in the group (we’re mostly engineers), about 20 people were preparing to emigrate to the Eurozone– mostly Americans but even many Canadians and Australians, since their economies are closely linked to ours (and some, like Australia, are also trapped in Iraq and Afghanistan), and they’re being hammered by the same kinds of bubble economies as we are.

    It kinda depends on ancestry in part I guess, but if you can dig up an Italian, German, Dutch, Belgian, Finnish or Scandinavian ancestor in there, you’re pretty much set. The UK isn’t an option– egads, they’re in debt up to their own eyeballs, but the rest of the EU is strong. The only minor hassle is learning the language but it doesn’t seem to bother anybody– you master it when you’re there. (Germany doesn’t even require German ancestry specifically, just vaguely northern European/Germanic or Baltic/Slavic since the country itself gelled so recently, and France and Belgium AFAIK don’t have such specific ancestry requirements.)

    This wave is already happening and sounds like it’s picking up. So maybe the USA is simultaneously becoming not just a nation of immigrants, but of emigrants as well.

  2. There is lots of talk nowadays in the Finnish media that in the not so distant future we will come short of people doing all the jobs here. (due to the fact that the population is becoming older and older) Until now Finland has not been very open-armed to immigrants, regardless from where they are coming, but I think the situation will change quite soon. We are now also having more people here from other countries than before, so gradually Finland is becoming more international.

  3. The more they talk about the real estate market bust, the way the stock market is going, and the rising cost of gas and thereby food, makes me think that we are definitely headed for a recession if not a depression. I would love to get a job closer to home since it would save us probably 50% in gas. Public transit in Midland is nice in some ways and sucks in others.

  4. You can already see the results in the prices at the grocery store. 😦 We bought our new house in town partly so we could cut commute time, but a lot to save on transportation. We’re saving over $300/month since we moved here and dh has 1/50th the commute he used to! No more driving to Bay City daily!

    Oh yeah- me not driving to see you guys anymore might help too ;).

    When I was little we lived in Japan and my mom and I took the train everywhere! It was great!

  5. I just saw your Facebook status update! Oh no ~ sick again? I am *so* sorry. I hope that it’s nothing serious and that it will go away ASAP. Thinking good thoughts for you!

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