Monday, March 14, 2011

Week of 03/14/2011

Gas Prices: The “Bigs” Strike Again
– by David Matthews 2

Here we go again…

Apparently Wall Street and Big Corporate have decided that America hasn’t suffered enough at their hands.

It was bad enough that we tossed them a few trillion of money that we don’t have. Add to that our inept Department of Justice refusing to bring criminal charges against the perpetrators of our misery. Then add to that we have “Too Big To Fail” continually being allowed to screw over the American people without consequences. And most recently we have Big Corporate’s servants in the GOP reeking havoc with government budgets.

Apparently all that misery wasn’t enough.

Someone decided that America needs to suffer more.

The civil unrest in the Middle East, most specifically in Libya, has given Big Corporate and Big Oil the perfect excuse to jack up prices. Never mind that oil production from Libya is relatively small compared to the other nations that make up OPEC. No, it’s Big Oil’s profits and they want them NOW!

Of course, Big Oil didn’t pull this off alone. No, it had help from the other “Bigs”.

First, it had the help of Big Corporate. Futures speculators are really great for drumming up prices just on FEAR. In fact they probably should change their names to FEAR speculators if they wanted to be honest about what they do.

There’s really no science in this. It’s got nothing to do with supply or production capacity and EVERYTHING to do with emotion and what’s going on in the world. Some sheik stubs his toe, a tropical storm comes near a shipping lane, or someone in Washington starts talking about fuel efficiency, and that’s instant justification to jack up the price of oil ten dollars a barrel. From there, the distributors can jack up the price at the pump to reflect the rising price of oil.

Now here’s the fun part: while the rising price of oil may be the justification to immediately raise the price of gasoline, the same CANNOT be said when the price of oil goes down. Sure the price at the pump can go up ten cents a gallon simply because the price of oil went up ten dollars per barrel that day, but if the price per barrel goes DOWN ten dollars, then Big Oil says that it really takes anywhere up to six months for the price at the pump to match. Genius!

But hold on… won’t someone cry foul? Won’t someone cry “price gouging”? Of course! This is why Big Oil needs help from their friends in the THIRD “big”… Big Government!

Who do you think made the decision to allow the futures speculators to play their voodoo games when it comes to oil? That was a nice little Happy New Millennium package from Big Government to Big Oil and Big Corporate.

As for price gouging… well, since Big Government gets to enforce that law, they also get to interpret it. So when it comes to Big Oil, Big Government thinks that if EVERYONE raises the price at the same time, then it’s not really price gouging, is it? That’s just the cost of doing business. And if everyone jumps off a cliff at the same time, that’s not “mass suicide”, that’s just “the cost of social networking”.

Wait, aren’t we supposed to be in a “free market society”? You know, where people would be able to enjoy the benefits of lower prices? How is that supposed to happen if the market is raising prices en masse on purpose so they all can reap maximum profits and not be charged with price gouging?

Well then, I suppose they need help yet again from yet ANOTHER “Big” to get this by the masses.

That’s where Big Talk comes in.

Let’s get brutally honest here… it takes a skilled soothsayer to be able to convince angry crowds to NOT be angry at the people screwing them over, but that’s why Big Talk gets paid the big bucks. They need to convince the masses that we can’t “blame” Big Oil for making record profits at the expense of struggling Americans. They need to convince the masses to “ignore” those news reports that Big Oil boasts about when it comes to profits, and try to spin some yarn about how those profits aren’t the “true profits”. They need to fudge the numbers and claim that “adjusted for inflation”, some period in the past was far worse. They need to claim that we’re getting a deal and that Europe has to pay far more for their gas (even though when you remove the added tax they’re really paying the same as we are). They need to pin the blame on Big Government’s rules and regulations, and wouldn’t it be better if Big Oil were just “allowed” to do what they do best?

Remember 2005? Gas prices going through the roof, people pissed off, and Big Talk couldn’t keep the masses sedated with their lies and exaggerations. So we were told that the “solution” rested with a certain energy policy that was supposedly being “held up” in the Congress. Get that to the President’s desk, we were told, and all of our troubles would be over with. We believed them. And the minute the President got it, he told the American people that it would do absolutely NOTHING to resolve the high prices in the here-and-now and that we should just all grit our teeth and prepare for the next round of financial sodomy. Well-played, Bigs, well-played. Mission Accomplished.

But it also takes a silver tongue and a pair of gold-plated brass balls to be able to control the dialogue when it comes to those huddled masses that are pissed off at the situation. They need to convince the masses that they should NOT cut back on flying or to cut back on driving despite the every-increasing cost of both. They’ll tell you that you still “NEED” to fly, and that you still “NEED” to drive everywhere, and that you still “NEED” those gas-chugging vehicles and that you “NEED” to be grateful that we live in a country where those things are allowed. Yes it’s a “dirty” job… in that it reeks worse than a sewage treatment plant… but someone’s got to do it, and Big Talk does it best.

So while we are going through yet another round of gas price hikes, bear in mind that this all comes courtesy of the “Bigs”… Big Oil, Big Corporate, Big Government, and of course Big Talk. It’s a big deal to them, because the end result is big profits for everyone. Everyone, that is, except the American people. They just take it in the wallet… big time.

No comments: