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CNN: Gas Prices Are Not As Bad As You Think

From Obama’s re-election campaign workers at CNN’s Money.Com:

Rising gas prices aren’t as bad as you think

By Steve Hargreaves
March 21, 2012:

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Gas prices are once again dominating the national debate. But despite rhetoric, high gas prices aren’t hurting as much as they used to.

In 1981, when oil prices spiked following the Iranian Revolution, gasoline represented nearly 5% of the nation’s spending, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In 2011, only 3.7% of spending went to gas, even though prices averaged at their highest level ever that year.

In addition to spending less, we’re driving more than ever — 90% more than compared to the early ’80s, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

This we just do not believe. Unless it is due to people trying to avoid flying.

[F]or the average American household, which has an income of over $62,000 a year, the increase in gas prices represents a relatively small portion of total spending.

For example, in 2008 gas prices were all over the news when they hit their all time high. But in 2010 when prices fell people barely mentioned them.

This proves what? And, in any case, gas prices actually fell at the end of the Bush administration, and have gone up ever since.

Yet spending on gas totaled only $12 more per week in 2008 than in 2010, according to numbers provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That $12 per week is roughly the same amount that BLS figures show people spent on "pets, toys, hobbies and playground equipment."

And yet the extra $20 a week gleaned from Obama’s Payroll Tax Cut extension was hailed as the biggest tax break in the history of mankind.

"The incremental expenditure is not that much," said Akshay Rao, a professor of marketing at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management who has studied gas prices. "But that’s not how people think about it."

Gosh we are easily hoodwinked and bamboozled.

Moreover, today’s high prices don’t appear to be having a big drag on the economy

Yes, everywhere you look the economy is booming and there is no inflation.

So why are rising oil and gas prices receiving so much attention? …

Prices are seen everywhere: With gasoline prices posted in giant numbers at gas stations that seem to occupy every intersection, people are exposed to them more than perhaps any other product

You see? It’s just an illusion.

People are encouraged to get mad: The media seizes upon the rising price because it makes a good headline. Political pollsters may also use it to bait people. "Some polling questions seem designed to get people to blame the current president," [the professor of marketing] Rao said.

It’s agit-prop. (Something that was never done during the Bush administration, by the way.)

And that, of course, is good news for the opposing political party, which beats the gas price drum ad infinitum.

It’s those damn evil Republicans.

Yet are people really that mad about it? "There’s certainly discontent, but I’m not convinced there is real rage," said Rao… "But everybody is telling them they should be mad, so they say ‘OK,’" said [the professor of marketing] Rao.

Again, this is what passes for ‘journalism’ in this day and age. But isn’t it what we used to call campaigning in the good old days?

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Thursday, March 22nd, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

12 Responses to “CNN: Gas Prices Are Not As Bad As You Think”

  1. “There’s certainly discontent, but I’m not convinced there is real rage,”
    We have progressed to a point in this country where rage is apparently required in order for discontent to matter, or even be officially noticed. Apparently, as long as we’re not killing each other in the streets over the high price of gas, everything must be fine. Because violence is the way the left reacts to things they disagree with, they expect the same from everyone else.

    I see Kevin Bacon standing on the corner at the end of Animal House again… Holding up his hands and violently screaming “ALL IS WELL”. Give me a break.

  2. BannedbytheTaliban

    I think they are pretty bad. Considering I go through about 100 gallons a month, $4 gas really cuts into the discretionary funds. But CNN says it is not so, I guess I was wrong.

  3. artboyusa

    BIDEN and BARACK! America’s favorite “statesmen” are back in more rib ticklin’ White House japes and capers! Let’s listen in…

    “Um, Barack? Mr President? Hello?”

    “Oh. It’s you. That’s just what I need” the president sighed. “What do you want, Joe?”

    “Well, I was just going around the place handing out free, autographed copies of my wife’s new book to everybody” explained Joe. “Hot off the presses! It’s her extraordinary life story in her own words, as told to someone else. And I got you a special copy, see?”

    The president reluctantly accepted a pristine tome from Joe’s eager hand. “’Fucked by an Idiot’ he read aloud. ‘The Autobiography of Mrs Vice President the Honorable Joseph Robinette Biden’ – well, the title tells the story” he said.

    “Doesn’t it? I thought so too! And look, it’s all autographed and dedicated to you and everything – that makes it highly collectable!”

    “I doubt that” said Obama. “Look, was there anything else? I’ve got a lot of work to do and…” said the president, opening the heavy volume on his desk.

    “Reading something, huh?” said Joe, working it all out. “It looks serious”.

    “This? It’s the Constitution of the United States, Joe. Ever look into it?”

    “Um, yeah sure” lied Joe. “My favorite part is where it says the Federal government can force citizens to buy health insurance from itself and put them in prison if they don’t”

    “It doesn’t say that! It doesn’t say that anywhere! Great Alinsky’s Ghost! How can my administration keep violating the Constitution if no one’s even bothered to read the stupid thing?”

    “But if it doesn’t say that, what are we doing it? I’m confused”.

    “Because, thanks to unaccountable activist judges with time on their hands, nowadays the Constitution means what we need it to mean when we need it to mean what we want and that’s the meaning of the Constitution! And I should know –I was an untenured assistant law professor before I got this lousy job”.

    “I thought you were only an untenured assistant law lecturer –but that’s not important now. What do you mean, lousy job? You’re the president!”

    “Don’t remind me. President –pppfffttt. Big deal. A lousy, thankless chore – that’s what it is”.

    “I wish I was president”.

    “Oh I know you do, believe me. Anyway, do you know what it says in here? It says that not only do I have to run for re-election every four years, not only that, but people are actually allowed to not vote for me! Can you believe it? Huh? Can you?”

    “Unbelievable” mumbled Joe. “That is so, like, totally ungrateful”.

    “That’s what I thought! I mean, sure; there will always be a few malcontents, a few troublemakers, a few oddballs – racists mostly – who either can’t or won’t see all the great things I’ve done to this country…”

    “More Americans than ever before on food stamps, soup kitchens springing up on every street corner, the costs of fossil fuels rising daily – thank God – millions of people getting out of the rat race and spending more time at home with their families, lots and lots of time –why, that’s a record of solid achievement that America can be proud of!”

    “Yeah, unlike our slave auctioning, Indian massacring, minorities oppressing history. And even after all that, I still have to submit myself to running for election all over again and people still get a chance to not vote for me!”

    “Isn’t there something we can do? A loophole? An escape clause?”

    “And that’s why I’m looking into this Constitution thing but so far, its iron clad. ‘Article II Section 1. The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows blah blah blah…’There’s nothing there for me. Zilch. Nada. Bupkiss. I gotta go through with an election and I don’t wanna. I wanna be president by acclamation. For life, preferably”.
    “Oh, definitely preferably. By acclamation, for life –but how? Think, Joe, think! Wait a minute, wait a minute…hey, I might have an idea…”

    “Joe, I didn’t hire you for your, um, ideas. I hired you for your gravitas and statesmanlike qualities – incredible as that seems. You don’t have to have any ideas, in fact I’d prefer if you didn’t”.

    “No, this time it’s really good –honest! Listen, we need advice. Sure, we’ve violated the Constitution before but for a scam this big we need expert advice if we’re gonna pull it off. I mean, hijack a whole election – that’s the big Nixon! But I know a guy who can advise us, he’ll know what to do”.

    “Yeah? Who is it?”

    “Don’t worry, boss. He’s a friend of ours. Operator? Put me through to Venezula, office of El Presidente. Yes, I’ll hold…hello, Hugo? Ola Hugo, esto me, José Biden –come sta amigo? Bueno, bueno. Listen Hugo, I, um, have this friend and he’s in kind of a jam, electorally speaking, and we need a few tips from a guy who knows his way around a ballot box and I thought, hey, what about my old amigo Hugo? Okay, I’m listening. Let me get a pen…”

  4. bobdog

    “For the average American household, which has an income of over $62,000 a year, the increase in gas prices represents a relatively small portion of total spending.”

    $62,000 was the average American household income in 2008. It’s something like $49,445 now, 3-1/2 years after Obama took office. And we’ve still got 12.8 million unemployed, $15.5 trillion in national debt, a 50% high school dropout rate, and 15% of Americans are on food stamps.

    I believe those are all hard numbers, or as close as you can get by the time the government finishes polishing them up for us and the media puts lipstick on them.

    I give CNN about as much credibility as I give Reuters, AP, the Times and WaPo. Which ain’t much these days.

    We’re being lied to, folks.

  5. Anonymoose

    My household income is about 70% of this “average,” and I’m doing well compared to a lot of my friends.

    Gas used to cost me about $12 a tank in 2001. For several years it was in the $25 range. Now it’s $37 a tank. I do 280 miles a week going back and forth to work–which is about 12 miles more than I did in 2001.

    I put an additional 400-600 miles a month going out of town to see family 2-3 times a month or on weekend travel. Let’s say I do 500.

    So I have 780 miles a month in my economy car that gets 25 miles to the gallon on average. About 31 gallons a month–at the old “high” price in 2001 of $1.25 a gallon it was $39 a month. At the end of Bush’s time it was about $70 a month. Not bad. Today it’s about $117.

    My income is almost double what it was from career path advancement—-but I pay almost four times as much in rent and three times in groceries. I’m just a mere office worker. What about the truckers who spend $1,000 on a tank of gas, or the contractors or service jobs that drive a good part of the day?

    And they say it’s not that bad? It’s just an illusion sponsored by Republicans and the oil industry? Yeah, right.

  6. canary

    Obama can’t tolerate cold rooms and homes though he tells us to keep thermostat at 68 degrees.

    How significant in both books of everything important to write about, he complains the first time he visited the White House under Pres. George W. Bush, it was cold and drafty.

    Obama wrights his woes of having to take NYC Apt to House Court because it wasn’t warm enough. Too cold, and how thankful he was that his first illegal Pakistani friend he first moved in with to attend Columbia University went to court with him and hold his hand, and let him move back in his apt, so he’d have warmer apt.

    Cold is hard on older people with joints and bones,
    but Obama was a young healthy organizing hippie who looks back on life and remembers a couple of short cold spells. What’s he expect after growing up in sunny spots and beaches.

    Obama has used more fuel energy than any president in U.S. History.

  7. beautyofreason

    I try to avoid driving except when necessary. It’s gotten to the point where I fill up the tank maybe once a month. Whenever I watch television and some rich liberal blabs about the importance of being “carbon neutral” I think of the millions of people in this country who scrape by with the essentials, live on second hand goods and do not import caviar or jet set to Spain on the public dole like Michelle Obama did last year. I bet these normal Americans are “carbon saints” compared to many environmental activists.

    How hard it must be for Obama to understand the middle class. When his administration fights new energy jobs, encourages cheap illegal labor and throws billions to campaign supporters / fruit loop ventures, there are no consequences. For the normal Americans there are many subtle consequences. There’s a new sign at my local gas station, “EBT now accepted,” and no doubt many new people on the public dole.

  8. Meg10

    $12 a week is $624 a year. I don’t know about the rest of America, but this is a lot of money for me.

    I also dislike how this article implies that $12 per week spent on your pet or your kid is not necessary. For some people $12 a week is a necessity to pay for their kid’s school lunch or their pet’s medications. If you are already living paycheck to paycheck, an extra $12 every week IS a big deal!

    This article acts like gas prices are the only inflation… how about food, taxes, and electricity costs. I’ve gotten at least 3 letters this year alone from companies explaining that the cost of inflation is forcing them to raise their customer’s prices. It’s not just gas, it’s everything and it all just keeps going up, but my paycheck has remained the same.

  9. Astravogel

    These buffoons don’t even realize that the cost of fuel
    directly affects the cost of goods and services. If it goes
    up. milk cost more, Heck, even the cost of tanking the
    stuff to the corner gas station costs more. It all adds up,
    and TCP just doesn’t get it.

    November 2012; the end of an error.

  10. Astravogel

    These buffoons don’t even realize that the cost of fuel
    directly affects the cost of goods and services. If it goes
    up. milk costs more, Heck, even the cost of tanking the
    stuff to the corner gas station costs more. It all adds up,
    and TCP just doesn’t get it.

    November 2012; the end of an error.

  11. Rusty Shackleford

    Anyone remember “Monty Python And The Holy Grail” when Arthur meets The Black Knight? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKhEw7nD9C4

    The News Media is The Black Knight and King Arthur is conservative America…having to battle it out at the pump just to go to work.

    “It’s just a flesh wound”.

    Hmmmph.




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