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Monday, March 21, 2011

Government, we have a problem

I've been thinking again...

"Dangerous", the wife says...

"No, really", I say. "Think about it for a minute. I want to bounce a thought on you."

"Ok, if you must insist, and I don't get hurt." She's been victimized by my thinking before, and she's been a good victim about it. She knows the whole oil thing is on my mind again and it's inevitable it'll come up again in the house here, so I start talking.

"It's different this time," I'm thinking. "I haven't seen prices hang high like this without repercussions and it looks like oil's up to stay, and it worries me. We're back to a point where someone wants oil prices to stay up, and it's going to hurt a lot of people."

I'm rambling my thoughts again, but she's intent on letting me get to my point, so I go on.

"Prices are climbing too fast, to a point that even things touched by rising oil prices are getting unaffordable. Besides getting expensive to heat the house, it's getting costly to buy food. Are we in a new age of energy starvation, to the point that we're going to have to start getting serious about our spending for food? Don't get me wrong now! We're OK for now, but what if prices keep climbing? Are we ready for 'new age pricing'?"

I can't help but wonder...

I go on...

"So, oil prices are up and we're dealing with new problems. We have seniors and those on fixed pensions experiencing energy starvation and now we have people out there who are watching more of their power of purchase evaporate. We're getting less for more and we're not going to see oil prices drop for a long time yet, especially if the Middle East and North Africa keep playing a role in the markets. Here we are with people on fixed pensions and an artificial absorption of the inflation rate because we're seeing packages of goods getting smaller without prices going up. Then we hear the likes of Gaelan Weston say that prices across the board are going up by ten per cent because of rising fuel costs. I just get the feeling that the consumer is losing control."

"You're the one losing it." She says.

It's not the first time that I've rambled on with energy in mind, and deep down, she knows I'm right. Just the other day, I dropped into a store while out in the taxi. I'm looking at getting some change and the owner, Dwight tells me "They done it again! The package of Lay's over there? Another fifteen grams smaller and for the same price!" He screams.

"I can't wait to see what'll happen if they screw with the size of a milk carton."

It's bracket creep without the brackets. We're slowly getting squeezed by them without us noticing. We're getting pinched without the pain, and even if oil prices retreat, we're not going to see us get back the thing we're losing now with rising food prices: quantity.

"But the government is just as responsible for having to give back some of what is ours, is it not? With rising royalties, shouldn't we be demanding more of what they're collecting? Shouldn't we be getting our fair share? Where's the investment that will be necessary for the future if heating costs are going to go through the roof like they have been, and will be? Somethings fixed alright, and it's not pensions! They're leaving some people broke!"

I'm pensive again. There's a lot more happening out there than most realize, and this may be just the tip of the iceberg.

The future promises more of the same "household energy deficit", and it worries me.

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