Economic Pain Saves Your Life, But It Won’t Be Much Of One

Sunday, July 13th, 2008


Here’s the headline from Yahoo! News, “As gas prices go up, auto deaths go down.” Let’s look at the guts of this, because my automatic thought was: um, people aren’t driving as much, they aren’t on the road, period, so they lower their chances of getting killed. Of course, they lower their chances of getting to work or going to the store to buy food, so they aren’t dying in their car, they’re dying of misery.

So, I look at the guts of it and guess what, it isn’t magic, it’s this:

Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, said it makes sense that auto deaths would decline as driving decreases in response to rising gas prices.

“There are a whole bunch of factors that are influenced by higher gasoline prices — teenagers don’t have as much money, so you have the most risky drivers driving less; people are switching out of the bigger, older more dangerous vehicles, and people also know if they drive slower they’re going to save gasoline,” Ditlow said. “So, from a societal viewpoint, higher gasoline prices have a great number of benefits, and one of the most important benefits is fewer traffic fatalities.”

Oh, brother…. I am so sick of being told by scientists and politicians and the media why high gas prices are good for us, life saving, even! High gas prices suck for everyone. High gas prices make it hard for people barely making it to get to work. High gas prices cut into food budgets for old people. High gas prices (and commodities, too) make manufacturing anything more expensive, cuts into margins, increases costs, increases prices, reduces demand, which results in people losing their jobs just when they need it most. Duh! This isn’t rocket science.

Maxed Out Mama says:

Everybody made a lot of Obama’s “bitter” comment. I thought it was off base too. And I concede without hesitation that Obama’s “Americans can’t eat all they want to” was just a major idiot moment; that was a major head-banging moment for me. But now cometh Gramm, and tells the old folks trying to get by on their monthly SS checks, which get effectively smaller every month:
Former Sen. Phil Gramm, a top economic adviser to presumptive GOP nominee John McCain, referred to the economic slowdown as “a mental recession” and called the United States “a nation of whiners.”
Granted, McCain promptly disavowed Gramm’s remarks, but it’s just one more stick on the bonfire of exasperation that Americans have with their political leadership. Really now, doesn’t it just make you LONG to have the senators forced to live for one month in public housing with nothing more than the average Social Security check? Wouldn’t that produce a note of reality in the debate?

Yeah, we’re a nation of bitter whiners alright. Why can’t we just be happy to have a reduced risk of dying on the highway? Why can’t we see the silver lining of $4.00/gallon of gas? Because we freaking have to feed our families and get to work, that’s why! The a-holes in Washington live on US. They produce absolutely nothing but hot air, and that fuel source hasn’t been harnessed yet–although I suspect it could keep the American economy humming indefinitely.

Holy crap! Get some perspective, rich, Washington insiders. Gas is expensive and it hurts. People don’t want to hear about “lives saved” stats or to get over their whining or how Gaia benefits from economic pain. People want to get to work, feed their families and have a few extra bucks to enjoy a beer.

And to think that McCain could win this election, here, now, on this issue alone but is such a pompous, sanctimonious ass he won’t get religion. I hate Senators generally and the idea of one in the White House makes me want to hurl. I better run to the store and buy some anti-emetics. (Note I say run. It’s too expensive to drive, but at least I won’t die in a car accident. Hmmmm…..makes me wonder if the crime associated with a worsened economy outweighs the gains made in lives saved on the road.)

Growl.