Oil barons get fat, while kids cry for milk | NevadaAppeal.com

Oil barons get fat, while kids cry for milk

Karel Ancona-Henry

At what point did it become acceptable to refer to gas priced less than $3 per gallon as low?

I wondered this last week while watching MSNBC’s reporting on the issue.

In a nation fantastic about espousing “family values,” our legislators have no clue what rising gas costs are doing to average families. Remember clear back in the day when it was brought to our attention that President George Herbert Walker Bush had no idea the cost of a gallon of milk?

I don’t think anything’s changed our politicians’ awareness of what the real world looks like. Sure they are probably briefed, but I doubt a person that insulated gets it.

Unless they’re “feeling our pain,” how can they?

Even when gas was pushing $2.40 a gallon, I saw folks around me scrambling to make up the difference. And it hasn’t gotten any better.

Families who had their budgets on line with a bit to spare for “extras” are now finding themselves stretched to the point of breaking. God forbid there should be a medical emergency or car repairs needed.

This is how families I know are coping:

Parents have been forced to take a second, and in some instances a third job to offset costs.

For many, there will be no summer vacation and many improvement projects have been put on hold. They’re not running air conditioners or heat, even though they have access to them. Because let’s face it, rising costs in gas means higher prices for goods and services.

Ye Olde Trickle Down Effect.

Parents who were able to provide at least comfortably for their children are now cutting back in ways that are unforgivable, especially in light of the fact that oil companies are posting record high earnings.

Let’s explain to those people that thanks to their earnings and excuses (God knows any reason to make money will do), there are parents who are now forced to cut back on essentials like, can you believe this: milk.

Let’s remember that the average working person doesn’t get to vote themselves a raise nor will they qualify for a lifetime pension of $15,000 per month for serving one term at their job.

No surprise then, that folks have no listening left to hear about the plight of illegal immigrants. Not when many struggle and have no security or medical benefits.

Not when mothers and fathers are forced to tell their children, that “in the wealthiest nation in the world” (has that become a joke yet?), they’ll not be able to have unlimited access to that basic food group so important to children’s growth.

Every time I fill up a vehicle, what used to cost $34 is now running about $74. And I’m one of the lucky ones, because I’m not required to commute each day to my work.

A dear Frenchman I know, who, beginning at the age of 12 had spent three years as a political prisoner at Auschwitz, asked me when the citizens of this country were going to get pissed.

“If the crap that were happening in the United States were taking place in France, (the French) would be in the streets rioting,” Serge said.

That conversation happened 15 years ago.

I don’t believe much has improved; in fact, things have gone downhill.

Are we pissed yet?

I think so, but in this Republic, we’ve reached a point of government out of control and sold out to big business with no protections for the working class (both parties) and a feeling among its citizens that protest falls on deaf ears.

Besides, working two or three jobs leaves little time to organize the overthrowing of a government.

Suddenly, “Got Milk?” could well be the new slogan for change.

• Contact reporter Karel Ancona-Henry at kanconahenry@sierranevadamedia.com or 246-4000.