It’s About Gaaaaas!

A thought about Martini Boy’s EU-vote speculation below:

Is the trend in the Western democracies an anti-incumbent one? If so, that spells serious trouble for President Bush in November. The same tide sweeping against Labour in the UK, the left-leaning SDU in Germany, and conservatives in Italy and France, could wash up against the status quo in Washington, too.

Or, is the European backlash less against the ruling parties, and more against the new status quo of EU supranationalism? If so, then an internationalist like Kerry could have trouble against the more-nationalist Bush.

Here’s another possibility. I believe oil and gas prices are the major, unremarked-upon factor in both the EU vote and Bush’s recent poll numbers. There’s been a good bit of speculation about how the improving US economy isn’t being reflected in Bush’s numbers, but I maintain that people are reacting to the April-May price spike at their gas stations much more than any unemployment or growth statistics.

When you’re looking at $2 or more a gallon, it’s a tough sell to tell people that the rest of the economy is roaring along, even if it really is. Oil and gas prices eventually affect literally everything in the economy, and people have seen enough recessions closely following oil spikes to not be nervous about a price jump this dramatic. I bet that’s even more true in Europe, where growth is slower (if existant), unemployment much worse, and gas prices are even higher.

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10 Responses to “It’s About Gaaaaas!”

  1. Peter Says:

    I doubt that the spike in gas prices will hurt the Republican Party this election. One party has stood for more exploitation of known reserves plus exploration and one party has stood in the way. The American people know which is which.

  2. Kevin Says:

    Having surfed the known universe, reading your post I have found enlightenment.
    Or at least someone with some insightfull common sense.
    Keep up the good work.

  3. MarkD Says:

    I’m sure the gas has been having some effect on the well being of the economy. Even if it’s a relatively small portion of regular expenses, it’s the price that you see more than any other one, plus with it. Even though it’s the result of lefty enviro laws that prevent exploration and building of new refineries, it’s the guy in power that gets blamed when things go wrong. plus this is the only thing going wrong economically (GDP is up inflation down, unemployment finally down) so it gets the most press from the liberal media… who got the prison pictures just as they were running out of bad things to say about the economy. The gas is likely to go back down slightly when the summer ends and they don’t need the summer mixes anymore, but the liberals run the press, so don’t count on Bush getting any credit for that.

  4. Mike M Says:

    Prices have dropped fairly dramatically in Ohio. I’ve seen as low as $1.75 when prices were as high as $2.10 at the beginning of the month.

    Barring unusual events, the spike has passed. Especially with OPEC ready to crank up production a bit. I doubt gas prices play a role in the election unless they get back around or over $2 a gallon…which probably isn’t going to happen.

  5. Jack Says:

    Also, $2 gas is just not that high in dollars adjusted for inflation. The spikes in the ’70s put gas prices in the area of $4 per gallon in 2004 dollars. So we are a long way from the sort of pain that we enjoyed during the ’73 – ’81 period. While I have no doubt that high gas prices are taking a psychological toll on voters, my sense is that the economy is rolling along so strongly it will take a lot more than two dollar gas to slow it down.

  6. Michael Lonie Says:

    At least the Euros have this advantage. All they have to do to bring down the price of gas there by half or more is to remove the taxes on it.

    Yeah, that’ll happen.

  7. Reid Says:

    Maybe I travel in odd circles but, almost everyone I know, both liberal and conservative, thinks gas prices are too low, and that the humongous school bus sized SUVs we see more and more of these days are utterly decadent and need to be discouraged somehow, and maybe high gas prices is the way to do it.

  8. David R Beatty Says:

    Yes, Reid, you travel in odd circles.

    Everytime I hear someone complain about the gas-guzzling SUV, the first thought on my mind is “envy”.

  9. Reid Says:

    Well, David, the first thought in my mind is “rollover hazard”, followed by “I can’t see the traffic pattern ahead of this damn hunk of metal”.

    And, my little sports car cost a good bit more than most of those behemoths so, “envy” wouldn’t exactly be the right word in any case. Disgust is more like it.

  10. TJIT Says:

    Reid you said

    “the humongous school bus sized SUVs we see more and more of these days are utterly decadent and need to be discouraged somehow, and maybe high gas prices is the way to do it.”

    Sounds like you have a good case of moral indignation driving the I don’t like something so there needs to be less of it syndrome. Your circle isn’t odd it is puritanical.

    Instead of rollover hazard think of front end collision survival. Bus sized SUVs are much better at surviving front end collisions than little sports cars!

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