A Detroit News columnist accidentally unearths an economic truth:
Clearly, we have a national economic disaster at hand, unless you figure out that you can offset the rising gas price menace by packing your own lunch three days a month, or just buying the cheap scotch.
It is true that a few cents here and there do not have a significant impact on many consumers. While we do have to go to work with gasoline in our tanks, if we wish to offset the pittance of higher gas prices with a counterbalance of personal austerity, we can always cut back somewhere else. The example in the article is great--it points out that the problem can be solved by carving out but three unnecessary restaurant meals a month (apparently sans tip.) Voila!
Solved, that is, for the gasoline consumer, but not so much for the restaurant owner and her employees. If there are (as the unblemished source of all things referable, Wikipedia, has to say) 254.4 million registered vehicles in the United States these days, and each of these vehicles represents the loss of three restaurant meals per month, we are looking at 9,000,000,000 fewer meals eaten at restaurants around the nation each year.
The fact is, whether the consumer voluntarily makes a choice to enter into personal austerity or whether the cutting back is mandated by idiotic government intervention into the free market, consumers, employers, and ultimately employees (or the unfortunately unemployed) suffer. And lets be honest, just because Debbie Stabenow could maybe use a few less burgers over the course of twelve months, that doesn't necessarily mean that she wouldn't be foregoing a delicious salad. Who are we to judge?
It shouldn't be shocking to anyone that $20.28 a month can be easily compensated for by a gainfully employed columnist at a major metropolitan newspaper, after all such literati would likely have the disposable income necessary to hurdle such manageable obstacles. Or, for that matter, avoided by a buffoon-Senator whose hard-earned wages automatically rise to compensate for those pesky $20 per month price hikes that routinely befall humble and heavily-lipsticked public servants.
However, I cannot help but wonder how easy it will be for the average waitress to make up that $20.28 per month, particularly when restaurant revenues shrink--what with baloney and cheese celebrating en vogue status. And saving $20 a month won't get any easier on reduced hours especially with certain customers already tipping decidedly less than the full 15 percent.
We also should not forget that while gasoline prices do affect our pocketbooks when we drive to work, they also have a big impact on every product that is transported by truck along America's highways. Perhaps we'll all have to forgo a fourth meal.
So, screw the waitresses and cooks, the cashiers, the entry level custodians and just about every other unskilled laborer in this country who has to drive to work to collect a paycheck. Let them buy a garage sale bike, apply at school for reduced-price lunches, or answer a government ad for food stamps--after all, we're just cutting back on three meals a month, buying cheaper scotch, staying out of the movie theater, vacationing less, going longer between oil changes and, my personal favorite, showering less while foregoing deodorants.
Artificially high gasoline prices are easy to compensate for! All you need is to do a little math, make some personal sacrifices, and beg big brother for a helping hand.
It's the new American Dream.