Tuesday, April 29, 2008

High Prices Suck

Creepy neocon/Iraq War booster and now World Bank head Robert Zoellick is calling for--I kid you not--a “New Deal” to ward off a global food crisis.

“A New Deal.” Heh. When Neocons start wishing for a “New Deal”-type plan, you’ve gotta be worried.

I'm all for a New Deal right here at home. From Wiki:
The New Deal was the title that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave to a sequence of programs and promises he initiated between 1933 and 1938 with the goal of giving relief for the people, reform of the society, and recovery to the people and economy of the United States during the Great Depression. Based on the assumption that the power of the federal government was needed to get the country out of depression, the first days of Roosevelt's administration saw the passage of banking reform laws, emergency relief programs, work relief programs, and agricultural programs. Later, a second New Deal was to evolve; it included union protection programs, the Social Security Act, and programs to aid tenant farmers and migrant workers. Thus, the "First New Deal" of 1933 aimed at short-term recovery programs for all groups in society, while the "Second New Deal" (1935–36) was a more radical redistribution of power.

We're headed for a bumpy road, folks. This New York Times piece today explained why rising oil prices haven't led to more production. High gas prices affect the cost of virtually everything else.

Here are some interesting statistics:

Regular gas was $1.27 a gallon in 2000. Now it's $3.46. Gold was $256 an ounce in 2001. Now it's $895.

Over the past two years, commodities prices have risen even faster: corn has jumped to $4.58 from $2.08; wheat has surged to $8.75 from $3.46; soybeans are up to $12.20 from $5.80. In the past 12 months, the average price of cheese has jumped to $1.83 from $1.38

I don't understand why the Federal Reserve continues to lower interest rates to deal with this issue. Lowering interest rates only makes things worse by devaluing the dollar, making the price of foreign made imports (*cough*cough*oil*cough*cough*) more expensive, which then makes everything else more expensive. It's a vicious cycle.

We could use a new deal right now, or at least, a better one.