WASHINGTON - High gasoline prices may dent economic growth, but consumers' fuel appetite is still strong. Those trends are likely to persist, experts said, as average nationwide pump prices approach $3 a gallon — a threshold once feared to be disastrous for motorists and potentially the economy. Citigroup Smith Barney senior economist Steven Wieting said the conventional wisdom that $3-a-gallon was some kind of tipping point "has been largely overstated."
Largely overstated. Nice. Apparently, conventional wisdom isn't what it used to be. Here in the Garden State, prices are hovering around the $3 mark. We have to drive to work, school or the mall because we are either ignorant of or unwilling to use public transportation, or the public transportation that we have does not take us directly to work, school or the mall, and our fat asses cannot stand the walk. At least one high-thinker has it figured out:
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer, blamed disappointing June sales on the fact that its shoppers had less discretionary income because of rising energy prices and interest rates.
No kidding. That's why Wal-Mart is the industry leader, because they can figure out stuff like that. As we saw yesterday, millions of Americans (who just might be Wal-Mart shoppers) haven't had a pay increase since 1997, so where do they think the "discretionary income" is coming from? I use my discretion to pay my mortgage, taxes and utilities. Discretion I have; it's the income that lags.
But the good news...More Holes!
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate will vote this month on a bill to open about 8 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico off Florida to oil and natural gas drilling after Republican leaders on Wednesday agreed to bar drilling closer than 125 miles from Florida's coast until 2022.
"Republican leaders" - isn't that an oxymoron? Ya gotta love that Senate with their well-placed priorities. Meanwhile, we provide no incentive for the oil companies to lower the price, so keep driving folks, because the people selling us the oil can plainly see that they have us by the shorties. Three dollars, four ... whatever. They know we need it and we know we need it. The best solution our "leaders" can come up with is to drill holes in anything that isn't a fetus, while Cheney's pals at Halliburton put up record earnings.
This is pathetic.