Lousy economy


Written on Monday, March 17, 2008 by Jessica

All the bad economic news is depressing me. However, I did read that even though we're approaching record-high gas prices (even when adjusted for inflation), the gas still isn't as expensive as before when you look at it in real terms:

In 1980, the average American had to work 105 minutes to buy enough gas to drive the average car 100 miles, according to Beth Ann Bovino, a senior economist at Standard and Poor's. Now, the average American needs to work only 53 minutes, thanks to better fuel efficiency and higher wages.
Why doesn't that make me feel any better?

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  1. Teriana |

    53 minutes?!!

  2. lisa marie |

    That doesn't make me feel that much better either. Good thing I gotta bike. :)

  3. Christina |

    Because the gas prices will affect the cost of the necessities, plastic is made with petrol so any plastic products will go up and the wages will not go up as much as the gas.


  4. Jessica |

    I decided to figure it out for my own situation. Based on my wage and the fuel efficiency of my current vehicle, I have to work about 47 minutes to drive 100 miles. So I guess I'm better off than average.

  5. Jessica |

    See, Teriana. I use algebra all the time.

  6. Teriana |

    Where's the algebra? I just used normal math. I have to work way longer than you to drive a hundred miles. 98 minutes.

  7. Jessica |

    I suspect your so-called "normal math" is algebra. :)

  8. Teriana |

    No way, just plussing, minusing and dividing.

  9. S Yuan Hunter |

    Now that the Canadian dollar is a bit stronger, do we work 51 minutes instead of an hour and a half now? :(

  10. Jessica |

    A bit stronger?? The Canadian dollar is now worth more than an American dollar, which is something I once thought couldn't even exist in the world! :) I think I remember when a Canadian dollar was worth 63 American cents.

    Now having said that, I imagine that Canadians still have to work an hour and a half to drive 100 miles (or should I say 161 kilometers?) simply b/c gas is so much more expensive in Canada. Sure, it looks cheap to an American on first glance -- "Hey, $1.20 for gas!" -- but that's only until they realize that the price is per liter!

  11. S Yuan Hunter |

    Yes, true, it's been nice to go the States and enjoy the lower prices...

    By the way, we Canadians are watching your primaries with interest (I don't understand the difference between primaries and caucuses). ((For that matter, I still don't really understand the whole Presidential election thing and how someone can win a popular vote but not win...))

    Tonight, there is a new miniseries about how Canada is going to join the States. Scary! http://www.canada.com/globaltv/globalshows/et_story.html?id=7698b371-6f49-4fdb-bf5c-6fec34951d69

    Anyway, Susie Ormand on Ellen's show said that it's not going to be all that bad after all... just pay down your debt first. Sounds wise.

  12. Jessica |

    Get ready to be bored to tears:

    The rules for primaries and caucuses differ from one state to the next, but on a basic level, a primary operates like an election: you walk in, get your ballot, and vote. A caucus is usually a little more like a town meeting: it's a longer, more drawn out process where citizens have the opportunity to convince other voters by making short speeches on behalf of their candidate. To vote, you usually stand in a designated spot in the room with a group of people who support your candidate.

    Of course, rules differ widely depending on what state you live in. Michigan has an open primary. This means I do not have to declare my party affiliation. I just grab a ballot and vote for either a Republican candidate or a Democratic candidate. (Other parties rarely participate in primaries, at least that's the case in Michigan.) Some states have closed primaries, where you have to declare a party affiliation to be able to vote in that party's primary. Texas has a primary and a caucus. The Republican caucus in one state (I can't remember which) features a secret ballot much like a primary would.

    So it's all pretty complicated. I'll bet Canada has a single set of rules outlined by the national government and everyone follows them. Imagine that.

    As for winning the Presidential election without winning the popular vote... Well, it's "simple": the votes of citizens don't actually count. Only the votes of members in the electoral college count. And yes, the members of the electoral college will usually follow the will of the people, BUT -- and here's the key -- population is not the only factor when electoral college members apportioned to states. Less populous states are overrepresented in the electoral college, so this leaves room for a candidate to win more electoral votes even while losing the nationwide popular vote. (See Wikipedia: Wyoming has an estimated population of 174,277 people per electoral vote; Texas has about 703,070 per electoral vote.)

    As for Canada joining the U.S. Ha! "Not implausible" the article says? I think the U.S. would break apart into four or five separate countries long before the citizens of Canada would agree to be sucked into the U.S. Did you watch the program? Just how plausible was it? My in-laws, who are only two miles up the road, live within range of receiving CBC's signal. Maybe I should try to watch the show.

  13. S Yuan Hunter |

    Whoa. Okay, I'm going to have to read that one carefully. :)

    I saw part one of Trojan Horse and it was a Michael-Crichton-kind-of-paced-thriller.

  14. Jessica |

    I think you should save it for the next time you have insomnia and desperately wish to fall asleep. It should do the trick.

  15. S Yuan Hunter |

    Ha ha. No, it was very good. Cleared up a lot of things. In Canada, as I understand it (and I am by no means as up on this as I should be) the people vote for the party. That is, in your riding, you vote for the person you want - and the party that gets the most vote then their party leader becomes prime minister. I've really simplified that and skipped through stuff, but essentially the gist is that we're not voting for the guy (gal) directly either...


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