"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse." --John Stuart Mill (1806 - 1873)

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Grasping At Straws

The Kerry campaign is so feckless. "Hmm, let's see what negative things we can pin on Bush. I know! High gasoline prices!"

It's all the more amusing when you consider that the loony left accused the president of waging war on Iraq in order to keep oil prices low. And that Kerry was outraged when it was reported recently that Bush may have tried to convince the Saudis to keep oil prices low--because it would help Bush election-wise, don't you know! And that Kerry insisted that the president ought to "jawbone" OPEC to keep oil prices low.

So... The war was all about oil--except that it wasn't. And Bush should jawbone the Saudis--except when it might help his re-election chances.

Kerry's website asserts, "The Bush Administration's failed policies have created record high prices for gas. Americans are paying 12% more for gas since former oil industry executives Bush and Cheney took office..."

The Kerry campaign, which has contempt for the intelligence of Americans, is betting that the average person does not understand the concept of inflation. And the media are doing their part to disseminate the disinformation that gas prices are at "record highs".

They are at nominal record highs, which is virtually meaningless.

In 2004 dollars, the price of a gallon of gas reached $2.95 in 1981. This is the all-time record. The last time I checked, the national average gasoline price was $1.81 per gallon. (This being 2004, that price is also quoted in 2004 dollars.) So these high gas prices that Kerry is complaining about are about 40% lower than the 1981 peak.

And it gets better. The average household income in 1981 was $36,695 in 2004 dollars. We don't know the average household income for 2004, obviously, but in 2002, the figure was $42,409. We'll use that as a proxy for income in 2004. Therefore, in 1981, the average family spent 0.80 basis points (a basis point is one hundredth of one percent) of its annual income on each gallon of gasoline that it purchased at the peak. In 2004, the average family spends 0.43 basis points on each gallon of gas at current prices.

Not such a dire situation, I aver.