CORNER WINDOW by Jeff Hartzer
#018, June 2008
Got Needs and Wants?
We need hay for the horses; chow for the canines; food, clothing, and shelter for the human family. And there’s rent money, mortgage payments, car loans, college loans, credit card interest rate payoffs/pay-ups and ah ... GAS MONEY. Plus the kids are home from school, yelling to turn up the old swamp cooler or A/C. What can be done to get us through this summer and fall and, oh, the next fifty years? Will the cost of just getting by soon be even more than now? Undoubtedly, yes.
Buyers on Wall Street are hedging bets on the “futures” of crude oil. Those in the know are somehow profitting while the rest of us are borrowing from our neighbors to make car payments. The rich getting richer in this way might even be causing the whole oil disaster ka-ching to be inflating itself.
A record-breaking number of tornadoes touched down this spring and now it’s hurricane season. Whoohoo. A well-placed hurricane leveling a few more oil refineries in the Gulf Coast region of the U.S. could be the “perfect storm” for already high gasoline prices at the pumps later this summer and fall. So much for that cable TV NFL Pass. What’s to be done to make ends meet?
If you knew a Wall Street stock was going to rise without fail, wouldn’t you try to buy some of that stock? Can’t we be like an airline company and buy a bunch-o-gas right now for our cars? Sure, if you have a huge storage tank in your yard. But, seriously, if there are things you will need come fall and winter, now might be the time to buy them if you can. Take stock of what your animals and family will need and buy extra items now. Remember Y2K? We stockpiled water and canned food and expected chaos as the great big new millennium bore down on us. What’s going on now is a lot scarier than the millennium computer crisis that proved harmless. Prices are high on our “daily bread” already. With almost everything we buy being made with plastics and other petroleum products, there’s no end in sight for cost increases.
So what’s the good news? Economically, not much. Fortunately, recent studies show the Land of Enchantment to be a relatively-speaking cheap place to live. This fact encourages more to move here, but does little to help current residents. But here’s some good news: All those vote-for-me yard/fence/wall signs should be gone or coming down this month. The Rio Grande is full. Canoes are fun. Movie theaters have A/C and there are bargain shows. Bicycling is free. You can take a bargain ride on the air-conditioned Rail Runner, check out the zoo, the aquarium, or an Isotopes game. Tingley Beach is looking good these days. Summerfest is free. Life is rich here, even without traveling too far from home. Summertime is a very good thing and, hey, each day the gorgeous sunsets are always free.
Jeff Hartzer © 2008