I Figured out the Recession

I had an epiphany today. I think I’ve finally figured out the whole recession thing. I know they’ve been saying it’s the whole subprime mortgage business, but I don’t think that’s it. I mean, that is certainly a factor, but I think it is a lot more far-reaching than that. I’m no economist – I can’t even balance my checkbook, but I think what caused it are those high gas prices that were going on last Spring and Summer.

I mean, think about it. Within a 3-4 month period that gas prices shot up from about $2 a gallon to over $4 and even close to $5 in some places. People freaked out – rightfully so, and started desperately looking around for ways to save money. Because these gas prices affected literally everyone, rich people, poor people, middle class, big businesses, small businesses – every government office, hospital, construction company, and school district in America.

Out went manicures, piano lessons, vacations, cable bills, eating out, and every other “luxury” item that people could possibly eliminate. So all the small local businesses like nail salons and restaurants had to start cutting back and laying people off. Same thing with larger businesses because the school districts and large companies started cutting back as well to compensate for their astronomical fuel costs. So, as people started being laid off, they couldn’t pay their bills and their homes started going into foreclosure and their credit card bills weren’t being paid. This caused companies to start forecasting losses for the quarter and the stock market guys started freaking out. Then the 401K’s and the home values started going south and it just caused a complete panic cycle around the whole world.

It didn’t help things that every news show, magazine, and newspaper started spouting “the sky is falling” stories. I really think the power of the press is terrifying. All they have to do is whisper the words “recession” or “depression” and the cycle kicks right into gear. I really think they’ve played a huge role in the last few recessions.

What I don’t get was why the oil companies were allowed to do all this to us? It’s a matter of public record that their profits in this leanest of lean years are the highest that have ever been seen in history. Everyone is screaming like a scalded cat over these AIG bonuses and all these other obscenely huge bonuses that have been handed out to all these executives, but that’s a tiny fraction compared to the kind of money these oil companies pocketed from all those months of $4 a gallon gas prices. Yes, the President should have done something, but so should the rest of us. Every member of Congress and every business owner and every citizen should have been squawking our little heads off. What are we – sheep? I guess so, I didn’t really do anything either – baaaaa.

I think we need to learn some lessons from Rosa Parks and Ghandi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. about civil disobedience. I think it’s too late to fix by going after the oil companies – it’s kind of like putting the toothpaste back into the tube at this point, and I don’t honestly know what is going to fix this mess. It’s definitely going to take something big -we’re in pretty deep doodoo, but I think it will sort itself out if we give it a little time and try to keep everything from completely coming unglued. But I think we’re definitely going to have to learn how to stand up for ourselves so that this never happens again.

Just think how satisfying it would be to stand on every street corner and form a human chain around every gas station? Wouldn’t the press have a field day with that? Or even better – don’t barricade the gas pumps, barricade the damn mini mart section! All that gourmet coffee getting cold, all that milk going bad, all those cigarettes going unsmoked, all those chips just sitting on the shelf uneaten – wouldn’t that give them a bite in the wallet? Let’s make a pact – the next time somebody gets out of line like that, we’re going to step up to the plate and let them have it!

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