James Howard Kunstler: People Get Ready

[Yes, we’re going to get change all right, but, as James Howard Kunstler says, “The broad American public voted for “change” but they thought that meant a “changing of the guard.” Out with the feckless Bush; in with the charismatic Obama… and may this American life now continue just as it ever was. The change actually coming will be much more than they bargained for, namely our transition from a wealthy society to a hardship society.”]

In the twilight of the Bush days, in the twilight of the twilight season, a consensus has formed that we are headed into a long, dark passage leading we know not where. Even CNBC’s Lawrence Kudlow has been reduced to searching for stray “mustard seeds” of hope on hands and knees in a bleak and tortured financial landscape. Half the enterprises in the land are lined up for some kind of relief bailout and a blizzard of pink slips has cut economic visibility to zero.
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Alan Auguston: the Cost of Gas and Peak Oil

Green Party Congressional Candidate Alan Augustson (IL, CD-05) called upon all Presidential and other candidates to back off from promises of lower gasoline prices.

“Cheap gas is over,” said Augustson, who will be seeking to unseat the powerful Rahm Emanuel (D-IL) in November. “Any candidate who promises lower gas prices is making a false promise, plain and simple. It’s a cheap, obvious election gimmick. Don’t fall for it.”

In a communique to a number of online media outlets, Augustson contended that speculators and taxation amount to very little in determining the price of a gallon of gasoline. “Gas is expensive,” he said, “because the oil is running out. And that which remains is harder to find, harder to extract, harder to refine and harder to distribute.”

In fact, he said, gas prices would be even higher still if not for government subsidies.

“Whether you drive an SUV or ride a bike everywhere, you’re paying for gas,” Augustson said. “Your taxes pay for enormous subsidies to the energy industry. Without those subsidies, you’d see gasoline prices similar to what they pay in Europe.”

He speculated that gasoline prices might fall “maybe a quarter or so, just in time for the election. But they’ll snap right back to the upward trend, immediately afterward.”

Augustson’s solution to high gas prices? “Stop using gas. Take public transit if you have it. Get an electric vehicle — not a hybrid. Ride a bike. Walk. Move closer to work. Shop closer to home. Just stop driving. I know that’s not going to be a popular answer, but the truth seldom is.”

Alan Augustson, 44, is an economist, statistician and management consultant living in Chicago. He announced his candidacy for Congress in June of 2007.