As some of you are aware, the price of oil has become somewhat pricey in recent months. It's now around $100 and we get to pay approaching $4 a gallon in gas.
Accusations will be made. Big oil will be blamed. Investigations launched. But in the end it is the unstoppable forces of economics and the declining currency of a declining nation that will win in the end of the day and you will continue to have to pay $4 a gallon in gas...maybe $5 or $6 when summer rolls around.
Now we can blame the turmoil in the middle east (correctly) for the increase in prices. You can blame the declining dollar (correctly) for the increase in prices as well. And yes, I will even allow those on the unthinking and galactically ignorant left to go to their knee-jerk position of blaming "big oil" (incorrectly) for the increase in prices. But it will all be for naught because the debate is moot. There is no reason to argue about oil. And I shall explain why with some more of my super awesome economic genius.
IN REALITY (and I say this with all seriousness) gas should be trading at about 40 cents a gallon. And if I were president and had both houses of congress it would be at 40 cents a gallon. It would trade at 40 cents a gallon NOT because we would enact price controls, but the MARKET rate would be 40 cents a gallon.
Now, would this be because I would drill baby drill?
Would this be because I would invade the middle east for their oil recreating an oil-rich empire?
Would it be because I would subsidize alternative fuels to the point gas would have to be 40 cents a gallon?
It would be because I would gather up all the business "leaders" in the US and we'd get them into a little room and I would ask them one simple question;
"Why in frick's name are you requiring people to commute to work when today's technology makes it pointless?"
I have brought up this point before, but at the time I was not a student of computer networks or IT like I am today, and was informed that for security reasons, among other reasons, businesses do not like it when people work from home. But after a year of studying computer networking I am here to inform you that it is not only technologically possible, it is no riskier (bar human behavior) to have people working remotely. Telecommuting from your home is no riskier (with the appropriate measures taken) than working at an office, if for any other reason, you are technically still telecommuting while in the office, using the exact same routers and servers.
Of course, the question is "why don't we telecommute then?" and this is the largest most gigantic economic fail the US has ever made.
In short we passed up on the latest economic revolution because we are no longer American and no longer dare to dream.
If you look through history there have been various economic "revolutions" that have advanced and improved humans' lives greatly.
The agrarian revolution basically wiped out hunger.
The industrial revolution brought us electricity, transport and limitless goods and services making out lives that much easier.
The technology or "information" revolution made communications immediate.
And a by-product of the revolution allowed for the next great economic revolution, the "telecommuting revolution."
The only problem is, nobody in the US cared to avail themselves of it.
Oh, India certainly has, taking significant business from the US' IT sector. So has China and Ireland.
But no, not us. You must have us confused with the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts and the Carnigies and those other stupid "old" and "industrious" Americans. No, not us. We're modern Americans. We don't dare dream of never having to drive to work again. That's just not in our blood. No, we much prefer to sit 2 hours a day in bumper to bumper traffic while we hole up in some beige, tan cubicle and do mind-numbing tasks. That's the American dream!
This is the real reason why you are paying $4 in gas. This is the real reason why we have to spend billions on infrastructure that is unnecessary and unneeded. This is why there are thousands of deaths a year more than there has to be on roads. And this is a major reason why your families are stressed, torn or sometimes just plain destroyed. Because the American people failed to avail themselves of this most recent economic revolution because we just don't have the audacity to do so anymore.
Of course, there is another option.
You could do what I do.
Let me explain.
I get a call occasionally from a recruiting company called "Robert Half International." They have an office in DT Minneapolis. Their main finance/banking guy "Doug" knows who I am and knows that for the most part no bank in the area would hire me because of my super awesome book that predicted the housing crash (because why would you want to hire THAT guy? I mean who would want to hire the guy who PREDICTED THE BUBBLE?) In any case, when I do get a call from them, I know;
1. It's some rookie new hire who doesn't know I'm verbotten in the Minnesota banking industry
2. I'm not going to get the job (again because of my super awesome book you should all read).
So when it comes time for him to set up a "meeting to get to know you" I can more or less decree whatever I want because there's no way I'm getting the job in the first place.
Rookie - "Can you come downtown to meet me?"
Me - "No, how about you come to my local bar in my town. I usually start drinking around 1PM."
Rookie - "We have a position open in the vibrant DOWNTOWN AREA! You'll get to be where all the action is."
Me - "Will they pay me $20,000 extra per year to deal with the commute and give me an underground parking space in the building I'd be working in?"
Rookie - "Well (shocked), no...um, I don't think so."
Me - "Can I telecommute?"
Rookie - "Well,...um, I could ask but I highly doubt it."
Me - "Can I set my own hours to avoid rush hour?"
Rookie - "Ummmm...I think they would prefer you be there 8-5PM."
Me - "Eh, forget then, not interested."
In other words, desperate as the employment situation may be, why do you accept commuting? Why do you not demand the right to telecommute?
Sure, it's a bold move and sure there's plenty of other people out there willing to become the corporate slave who would just "love" to commute, but if the entirety of the US labor market would simply get a little self-respect and say, "eh, I'm not commuting" what could they do?
Then again, maybe I'm just crazy. Maybe people like to commute and waste years of their lives, missing out on seeing their children and spending time with their families. Maybe they like spending trillions of dollars on gas over the years. I mean, what better to spend your money on that gas, right? And who doesn't love the increased chance of divorce because "you're never home?" And did I mention all the icky yucky gross economic growth that would occur because of extra disposable income?
Yeah, we wouldn't dare take advantage of this latest revolution.