Portion of Median Daily US Income Spent on Gasoline

Portion of Income Spent on Gasolinefrom MountainSentinel.com

At $4 per gallon, gasoline consumption will take 11% of daily income. It is expected that gasoline prices might rise above $6 per gallon by the end of summer. Such an increase would require 17% of daily income to meet gas needs. The percentage of income spent on gasoline climbs over 20% as we approach $8 per gallon. And a price of $12 per gallon would eat up fully a third of the average income. Half of the average income would disappear into the gas tank at $18 per gallon. And at $36 per gallon there would be nothing left of the average income.

Now, let us bear in mind that this average income is a median. That means half of the population earns less than that amount. The rise in gasoline prices will have a much more drastic effect on this half of the population. To see how it will affect them, let’s look at the minimum wage.

Gasoline vs Minimum Wage This portion of the population is already spending at least 17% of their wages on gasoline. By the end of summer, they could be spending over a quarter of their income on gasoline. And, at $12 per gallon, they will spend more than half of their income putting gas into their vehicle.

I can think of nothing better to demonstrate what a travesty is our current minimum wage. For those who argue that a rise in the minimum wage will hurt employers, I point out that as gasoline prices rise, the minimum wage will literally amount to a slave wage. It will not be long before no one can afford to take a job for minimum wage.

Both of the above charts also point out what an insult is the Bush tax rebate. At $4 per gallon, this rebate amounts to enough gasoline to meet average driving demands for 75 days. Or 50 days at $6 per gallon. For those who only receive $300 in their tax rebate – that is, for the minimum wage earners, Bush is offering to subsidize their gasoline for 38 days at $4 per gallon, or 25 days at $6 per gallon. It would be better to apply this money to the record budget deficits resulting from Bush’s illegal wars.

As gasoline prices increase people will have to take money from some other part of their family budget to pay their gas expenses. The following chart contains the Bureau of Labor Statistics average US cost of living statistics.(8) The dollar figures are from a suggested yearly income of $30,850.64.(9) This figure is much higher than the census bureau’s median income.


Bad News for Coal, Good News for US

No Coal It appears that the reign of Big Coal may be coming to an end. TreeHugger reports from a new EarthPolicy release regarding a timeline of events for the Coal Industry. This last entry is particular heartening.

11 March 2008 – Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Edward Markey (D-MA) introduce a bill that would block the EPA and states from issuing permits to new coal-fired power plants that lack state-of-the-art carbon capture and storage technology. Since this technology is at least a decade away from commercial viability, if this bill passes it would essentially place a near-term moratorium on new coal-fired power plants.

Free Shipping + save 10-50% at the Best Choice Sale, starting today!

So I received another marketing email from Macy’s today, and finally I have had enough. The subject of the email is listed in the title of this post. So I’m thinking, Free Shipping, and 10-50% off? Wow, that’s an amazing offer. So I opened the email and read this headline that jumps out from the top.

Macy’s Deceptive Email Advertising

Hmm. Did you catch the fine print in lowercase type at least 5 times smaller than the UPPERCASE SALE MESSAGE that adds with $100 purchase. enter promo code CHOICE. excludes mattresses, rugs & furniture. other exclusions apply”. Are you having any trouble reading that? Well in normal print size that starts with “with $100 purchase”.  That’s a pretty big gotcha and should definitely be included in the subject line of the email and in a font size equal to the offer in the headline. Please let me be clear. I’m not faulting Macy’s for making this minimum purchase requirement a part of the offer. It is totally within their rights to determine the qualifications for any promotion that they choose to run. But any retailer should be very, very clear about what the terms of any stated promotions and should go out of their way to avoid the appearance of impropriety, especially that which borders on fraudulent behavior. Should a consumer read this offer, visit Macy’s website, add a bunch of items to their cart, then attempt to checkout with this promo code in order to be warned that there was a $100 mininum purchase? Maybe enough buyers won’t care and will continue with their purchase. But how many will be upset that these details weren’t more up front and abandon the cart as swiftly as they arrived? I know I will be reading the fine print of all future marketing I receive from Macy’s (which will be much less now that I have unsubscribed from their mailing list). This type of behavior should not be tolerated.

Defining Deviancy Down – Republican Style

Here’s another great article from TomPaine.com about how the Republican party has done a wonderful job of accusing the Liberal Democratic Party of destroying Family Values while the so-called “conservative” Republicans have done more to destroy the fabric of modern society than any other political party in history. I’m still convinced that the 2 Major Parties are still just 2 wings of the same Money Party but here’s a great example of lying through your teeth propaganda at work.

…people like Merril Lynch’s Stanley O’Neill who, after being fired for overseeing the loss of 8 billion dollars the company invested in sub-prime loans, was forced to settle for a mere 160 million dollar golden parachute — on top of his 48 million dollar salary.

And let’s not forget the decadent elites in Washington, who having passed punitive bankruptcy reform that makes it extremely difficult for people to even get a clean slate when things don’t turn out well for them financially being asked to bear the burden for Stanley O’Neill’s risky ventures. They are now expected to tepidly try to pass some mitigating legislation which the Bush administration will likely veto.

Meanwhile, you have the e. coli conservatives making huge profits selling lead toys to your kids (when they’re not accidentally dosing them with date rape drugs), enabling mine-owners to take shortcuts that end up killing their workers, and simply pretending that threats such a global warming don’t exist. The stories of war profiteering in Iraq are so appalling and grotesque that it’s almost impossible to absorb. And then, of course, there’s is torture.

So, here we find ourselves more than 40 years after the conservatives began decrying the moral depravity of the left and 15 years after Patrick Moynihan told us that our liberal culture was defining deviancy down and we find that they were right all along. They just got one little detail wrong. It wasn’t the liberal left who were morally depraved. It was them.

While the culture at large was adjusting to the idea that families don’t all look the same and that private sexual morality was not the business of the state, the decadent economic elite and right wing ideologues had systematically defined deviancy down to the point where Moynihan’s deviant “altruism” can be illustrated as giving bonuses to workers who denied cancer patients their medicine; his deviant “opportunism” is seen as giving hundreds of millions of dollars to failed business leaders who lost their companies billions; and his deviant “normalizing” can be observed as society tossing aside its taboo against government-sanctioned torture.

If those are the “old” standards the culture warriors of the right have been trying to defend, they’re killing us. Literally.