I'm getting tired of listening to people whine about the high price of gasoline. Oil is a commodity on which we've grown too dependent. Like any other commodity, market conditions determine its price at any given moment. Those market conditions include a reasonably well-organized cartel whose members can limit supply. There's a finite number of refineries. They normally switch over to producing heating oil in the winter. And we also have a bunch of greedy fatcat consumers in the US who believe that the right to buck-a-gallon gas is written into the constitution.
Most of the latter group drives around town in vehicles that look like troop carriers and gulp hi-test like a school bus. I know one woman who used to brag that hers gets gallons per mile. Now she and all her friends are sending the stock market crashing down around us because they have to log on and cash out another block of Microsoft every time they head for the Quick Mart to fill up both tanks.
Although Professor Thompson has taught us that demand is just as important in determining price, most of the moaning and groaning I hear is aimed at the folks who control the supply of oil. And that's what really fries my doughnuts. Every day I hear and read obnoxious, racist slurs against Arabs. Over the past few years I've gotten to know many people from the Arabic countries. They have been and are some of my best students. On the whole, they are people who value a strong moral code, nuclear families, and wholesome environments in which to raise children. They can maintain religious devotion without proselytizing. We Americans could learn from their lifestyle.
What if American farmers were as well organized as OPEC? Over six months' time, the price of corn, soybeans, hogs, or chickens nearly triples, and we consumers feel the bite every time we buy groceries. Would we be accusing our neighbors of price gouging, complaining that this is the thanks we get for bailing them out every time it rains too much or not enough? Would we say nasty things about their mothers?
And here's another thing. A lot of these so called Arabs look like Mexicans, Nigerians, Venezuelans, native Americans from Alaska, and good ol' boys and girls from Louisiana, Texas, Kansas and elsewhere in the oil patch. Since they share the wealth, shouldn't they share the wrath as well?
If the price of bacon tripled, I'd eat more grits for breakfast and cook my white beans with garlic and rosemary. It might even be healthier. So with the price of gas as high as it is, I don't fill up as often, take one less trip to Paducah a month, and get by just fine. It helps to drive a comfortable car that gets nearly 30 miles to the gallon. They build 'em like that right here in Kentucky.