Saturday, June 07, 2008

Does our current economic situation make sense?

Could major companies outsourcing jobs be an enabling factor in oil prices skyrocketing out of control? After all, the oil companies claim that increased demand in Asia (especially China and India) are a major reason prices skyrocket, weekly.

I guess this means we have outsourced so many jobs and manufacturing, they are using more oil?

Of course, some of other reasons used to justify oil prices increasing seem to not make very much sense. Sinister terrorist threats that never surface, or minor attacks have been used to drive the price of a barrel of oil up, also.

The problem is for the average person, it's hard to figure out if someone is telling the truth or offering us a convenient excuse for making an obscene amount of profit.

And if anyone were to blame the people in Asia for this, they would be sadly mistaken. I suspect they are being used for one thing and one thing alone, cheap labor. This cheap labor has some other ugly aspects to it, such as labor practices that wouldn't be tolerated in the West and a constant stream of unsafe and defective products being sold all over the world.

So far as placing blame, we might want to look at the few, who are making a ton of money by reducing their labor costs?

Last time I checked, the out-of-control gas prices and food shortages are impacting people in Asia and Africa pretty severely, also. Some say one of the reasons for this is all the corn being diverted to make ethanol.

While this is still merely a nuisance at the grocery store here in the West, they say it is sending people to bed hungry at night in less fortunate countries.

Sadly enough, experts are now telling us that using corn to produce Ethanol is unlikely to make an impact on the energy crisis, either. They say it uses more energy to produce than we get by using it. Is this just another venue for a few speculators to make a lot of money at the expense of everyone else?

I suppose this revelation is just another inconvenient truth?

Yesterday's sharp increase in the price in oil and the fact that we are seeing the largest loss in jobs in 20 years sparked the following commentary in the New York Times by Peter Goodman:

For tens of millions of Americans struggling to pay bills, the jobs report added an official stamp of authority to a dispiriting reality they already know: A deteriorating labor market is eliminating paychecks just as they are needed to compensate for the soaring cost of food and fuel, and as the fall in house prices hacks away at household wealth and access to credit.

The well-written commentary goes into a lot of specifics, which are pretty gloomy. It also contains quotes from the various presidential candidates, who offer completely different solutions to the problem.

For a long time, we have been hearing there is no fraud in the oil prices going out of control. Despite this the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission is hosting a International energy market manipulation conference. Do they know something we don't?

Of course, in another contributing factor to the overall mess (the mortgage meltdown), the FBI recently announced that they are investigating several major companies. It's going to be interesting to see what becomes of that.

In both these contributing factors to the economic crisis, a lot of taxpayer dollars are being used to protect or bail out both of these industries. I've often wondered why the taxpayer gets to pay to protect oil producing countries and bail out corporations, who were clearly irresponsible in the way they did business?

With all the money they made, or are currently making, shouldn't they be held responsible for at least some of the costs?

If you look at the entire situation, it's hard to make sense or understand the reasons we are being given for why it is occurring.

What does make sense it that our overall perception of the public officials, who swear an oath to the protect it's citizens from enemies (both foreign and domestic)is at it's lowest ebb in history. Part of the reason for this is too many of them are getting caught with their hands in the cookie jar and the general consensus is that special interests seem to influence the way they vote more than anything else.

We are seeing a lot of talk about doing something about this problem, but little to no action being taken to correct it. A little less talk and more action might go a long way in fixing the problem. Otherwise, we might begin to think that all this talk is nothing more than a lot "hot air."

I'm not sure how much longer the voting public is going to put up with the current situation -- but one thing is clear -- politicians running for office are accepting a lot of money from lobbyists, which is a nicer word for "special interests."

As long as the public is getting gouged (my opinion) for no apparent reason, the ties between politicians and lobbyists are going to become more and more questionable.

One good place to keep up on these issues and or voice your opinion (my wife, Ellen is a big fan) is Lou Dobbs' site.

In fact, since I am slightly off my normal topic, I think I'll dedicate this post to her.

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