Cheap Gas, No Rules

There’s a new day dawning in America, and it reminds me of the Roaring Twenties. One huge development is the collapse of oil prices. I just read that oil is trading at less than $60 a barrel, and I filled the Grand Marquis’ tank yesterday for under $30 (it wasn’t quite empty,. but still…).

The Energy Department keeps slashing its prediction for next year’s gasoline prices across the U.S. The latest prediction I read was $2.60 a gallon. That’s the lowest in several years.

I’m sure you know that cheap gas boosts the overall economy by reducing shipping and transportation costs, and by leaving the public more money to spend on other things.

According to ABC News:

The U.S. economy, helped by a stronger job market and falling oil prices, should enjoy the fastest economic growth in a decade next year, according to a panel of top business economists.

Meanwhile, Congress is stripping away the rules that curb reckless trading on Wall Street.

Already, I’ve noticed that with the Republicans coming into power, rules are going out of fashion. The compromise to keep the government funded for another year includes looser regulation of businesses – and even of truck drivers. And Congress is cutting the budgets for agencies like the IRS and EPA to the bone, so tax cheats and environmental violators have a lot less to fear.

Yes, America, welcome to the free market. Say goodbye to Nanny Government.

It’s time to party!!!

Of course, parties cause hangovers. And I expect America to have the mother of all hangovers from the coming binge.

Cheap gas means more driving – and more pollution.

But that’s just the beginning.

There are less obvious consequences of the decline in oil prices. Cheap oil means less enthusiasm for development of alternative fuels.  So we can expect more pollution and more horrific climate change. (Don’t look to the EPA to keep the polluters in check. The agency won’t have the funds.)

And, with Wall Street free to loot and pillage, let the buyer beware! Those feckless speculators will be gambling with your pension funds and when they go bust – as you know they will – the government will have to bail them out. Again.

I know I sound like a party pooper, but you know what the old folks say in Jamaica:

Chicken merry, hawk near.

And you might have learned in school what came after the Roaring Twenties. That’s right, the Great Depression.

Click for more on gas prices.

Click for more on cheap oil.

Click for more on the US economy.

Click for the compromise spending bill.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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