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High fuel costs: poor, minorities hardest hit

Only this time it's not a joke:

Lower-income households are paying nearly a quarter of their income for energy costs. The 27 million lower-income households earning between $10,000 and $30,000, representing 23% of U.S. households, will allocate 23% of their 2011 after-tax income to energy, more than twice the national average of 11%.

Minority households are disproportionately impacted by higher energy costs. In 2009, 62% of Hispanic households and 67% of black households had average annual incomes below $50,000, compared with 46% of white households and 39% of Asian households. Energy costs represent a much larger fraction of disposable income for households earning less than $50,000 than for wealthier families. Due to these income inequalities, the burdens of energy price increases are imposed disproportionately on black and Hispanic households.

This makes sense, since lower income Americans are more likely to live in older, much less energy efficient homes or apartment buildings.  Refitting an older home with new windows and doors, attic and wall insulation, and a new HVAC system starts at around $20,000, which is completely out of the question for a household getting by on less than $50k a year. 

The same thing is true with respect to automobiles; lower income families are more likely to drive older, less fuel efficient cars.  They are also more likely to keep older, poorly maintained cars on the road for longer periods of time, since adding a quart of oil once a week to a worn out engine is less expensive on a short term basis than buying a new car.

Naturally the government's solutions for these problems were utter failures.  "Cash for Clunkers" provided cash incentives for new car purchases only, which were still far out of the reach of poor Americans, particularly during a historically deep recession.  The program also destroyed hundreds of thousands of serviceable cars, resulting in higher prices for good used cars, yet again hurting the poor.  And what of the billions of Stimulus dollars allocated by Congress for home weatherization projects and energy efficient systems upgrades in public buildings?  Nothing more than a colossal waste of money, completely bogged down by bureaucratic red tape and with very little real progress to show for it.

Liberals seem to have trouble understanding why keeping down the cost of energy (which is most easily accomplished by maximizing efficient extraction and refining of domestic fossil fuel supplies) is such a high priority for conservatives.  The answer is simple -- energy is so deeply integrated into our society that a huge spike in energy prices will effect everyone, especially those who have the fewest alternatives available to them.

You know, "the poor."


ADDED: I had this additional story in my stack of stuff, but I didn't have time to write the post I had planned.  But thanks to the AP's stupidity, this story has completely blown up, so it's worth mentioning briefly.

Yesterday, President Obama took questions from the audience during a speech he made in Philadelphia.  One of the audience members was concerned about the high cost of gas.  This was the President's reply, as reported by AP:

Obama needled one questioner who asked about high gas prices, now averaging close to $3.70 a gallon nationwide, and suggested that the gentleman get rid of his gas-guzzling vehicle.

"If you're complaining about the price of gas and you're only getting eight miles a gallon, you know," Obama said laughingly.  "You might want to think about a trade-in."
Woah.  That's got to be the epitome of callousness, blaming the American people for the suffering they are enduring because of high gas prices.  As if any of us could afford to just waltz into a car dealership and drive away in a new car.

AP must have figured that out as well, because the quote was completely scrubbed from later editions of the story, with no explanation or correction notice.

Instapundit has the details, along with video of the President's answer, and asks, "Think we'll see this in a campaign commercial?"

Yep.  And I'll bet the RNC is putting it together right now. 
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Comments (18)

Unfortunately, 'the poor' a... (Below threshold)

Unfortunately, 'the poor' are too damned stupid and can't see who's screwing them.

Kind of hard not to read wh... (Below threshold)

Kind of hard not to read what GarandFan wrote. Sarcasm about how the poor think and what the poor need. I was surprised to read that 50K or less is poor.

I have never seen a limited income as poor. I have seen making do with less, and if I am cold, I add wood to the wood stove. If I am hungry, I go outside and collect eggs, gather foods grown in my garden, or I go into my pantry and open a jar of organic fruit that I have canned, or open my freezer and take out any one of the 600 plus pounds of choice meat from our free range organic beef, chicken, duck, geese, lamb, or mutton. If my car is older it is because we found a 1963 F100 truck we bought for $300 and rebuilt it because in that era a vehicle's engine was easy to access and to repair. If my clothes are mended it means I have the skill of sewing.

I am not being sarcastic to this post, but to the government that equates my income with ignorance and that it alone can come to my rescue. I do not want or need food stamps, welfare, or anyone telling me that I am poor therefore am ignorant.

By the way, I would love to be as poor as one that makes $50,000 a year...I would then be so busy wondering what to do with so much money!

$50,000 a year is not poor ... (Below threshold)
James Cloninger:

$50,000 a year is not poor if you are single, live in an apartment in a city or town with low costs and taxes.

However, $50,000 a year in, say, California (Southern) with a wife or husband and maybe 2 or three kids, and a mortgage and taxes on property, federal, state, county, school, etc, and care and maintenance of said husband/wife, children is certainly not wealthy.

Barry was planning on addre... (Below threshold)

Barry was planning on address this his next term. Or after he gets off the golf course, whichever comes first.

So we're coming to a dwarve... (Below threshold)

So we're coming to a dwarves versus elves situation, where the forgers of metal are the eternal enemies of the woodland folk.

Liberals don't know physics.

No brainer. Fuel costs imp... (Below threshold)

No brainer. Fuel costs impact the necessities, e.g. food transport, heat. There is no way to make the impact "progressive" short of government hand-outs; and although there are plenty of those, the poor are already getting them. So, the increased cost is gonna hit them--hard.

The Enviro-fools who want higher gas prices are typical of those who see the world through their navels. They think it will only curtail non-essential driving in luxury vehicles by the well-to-do. They never stop to think that higher fuel costs impact everything and everyone in countless ways.

Liberals really don't care ... (Below threshold)

Liberals really don't care about the poor, except as a political tool and a means to salve their liberal guilt.

As GarandFan mentions, to liberals, the poor are just too damn stupid to know better anyway.

Libs have this utopian view of how the world should work. And even if getting there hurts the poor the most, it's for their own good so the pain doesn't matter.

Higher fuel prices do hit t... (Below threshold)

Higher fuel prices do hit the poor the hardest, but that is by design. That way the liberals can bemoan their plight and lobby for 'fuel payments' from the federal government to aid those unfortunates.

The more people receiving government handouts, the more people who will vote for the people giving them those handouts.

If those poor would just ge... (Below threshold)
jim m:

If those poor would just get off their asses and buy new cars like obama told them to this economy would be fine.

And President Obama, whose ... (Below threshold)

And President Obama, whose administration has done more than any administration in memory to increase gas prices, got into a "conversation" with a man who told him that he couldn't afford to fill his gas tank. Obama's position was to tell the man to buy a new car.

This, of course, demonstrates once again how totally out of touch he is.

And the MSM responded by hiding this exchange and removing it from public view.

This, of course, demonstrates once again how totally in the tank they are for Democrats.

Yeah, the MSM doesn't repor... (Below threshold)

Yeah, the MSM doesn't report - so you can't decide.

Jennifer,Keep up t... (Below threshold)


Keep up the good work!

Most people don't realize the insidious nature of the government. People like Barack Obama want nothing more than to make you and I dependent on him. He will give us our income and he will save us when times are tough.

The mentality that we are all owed something from our government, even by my fellow conservatives, is disturbing. And this is what they want. This is why we have social security and medicare and medicaid.

And this is why we're in our financial trouble we are currently in. This is the war we are fighting right now.

Their are only two possible endings.

1) We realize how stupid we were to have social security and medicare/medicaid in the first place and end those programs (high doubtful)

2) We become a socialized and later communist society where everything is owned by our government, including our labor (likely).

#10 And President Obama,... (Below threshold)

#10 And President Obama, whose administration has done more than any administration in memory to increase gas prices, got into a "conversation" with a man who told him that he couldn't afford to fill his gas tank. Obama's position was to tell the man to buy a new car.

It's all part of Barry's plan from the GetGo

“Gas prices? They’re going to still fluctuate until we can start making these broader changes, and that’s going to take a couple of years to have serious effect,” Obama said.

Obama needled one questioner who asked about gas prices, now averaging close to $3.70 a gallon nationwide, and suggested that the gentleman consider getting rid of his gas-guzzling vehicle.

“If you’re complaining about the price of gas and you’re only getting 8 miles a gallon, you know,” Obama said laughingly. “You might want to think about a trade-in.”

Even his tool nobel prize winner Chu is in on it.

In a sign of one major internal difference, Mr. Chu has called for gradually ramping up gasoline taxes over 15 years to coax consumers into buying more-efficient cars and living in neighborhoods closer to work.

“Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe,” Mr. Chu, who directs the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal in September.

Barry is intentionally working to destroy America by bankrupting the country while destroying the economy.

2012 can't arrive fast enough, but I will enjoy the pain the libtard trolls will suffer along with the rest of us for their stupid votes.

Came to this thread hoping ... (Below threshold)

Came to this thread hoping to see someone point out the real root cause for skyrocketing energy prices. As no one's hit on it yet: the one and only cause of higher oil (and therefore gas) prices, more expensive milk/eggs/wheat/corn/etc, is the insanely inflationary monetary policies underway right now. The Federal Reserve has opened up so much virtually zero-risk credit to institutional investors that they are pouring it everywhere they can in an attempt to maximize their spread ...including into commodities. With all that hot money pouring in (e.g., demand - albeit false demand in this case), what do you think happens to the price? If you said, "it goes up", congratulations!

This price spike in commodities has been going on since last summer, where you could see it start showing up in the PPI (Producers Price Index) - and as Karl Denninger at the Market Ticker has been covering, once those higher prices are in the producer pipeline only one of two things can happen: the producer eats the higher input cost by losing profit margin, or they pass the higher input cost onto us, the retail consumer. The producers went with margin compression first, but eventually couldn't eat it anymore - which means now they're passing those costs on (as they rationally should - it's either that or go out of business).

Which isn't to say that these investors themselves are somehow "out to get us" - they're just acting rationally given their options and circumstances - up to and including attempts to purchase policy that's favorable to them. Blame our policymakers, the caretakers of the Empire, for being corrupt and approving (and trying to sell us on) monetary policy that not only destroys the normal person's ability to invest and get a decent return, but also drives up the prices of basic necessities while driving down the value of the few stores of value available to us (e.g., real estate).

If you want to get ticked off about your higher-priced [oil|gas|eggs|milk|heat|etc], get ticked off with your central bankers and those who support them.

Then vote accordingly.

"High fuel costs: poor, min... (Below threshold)
retired military:

"High fuel costs: poor, minorities hardest hit

Didnt you hear. Now the poor doesnt have to worry about if they can fill up their gas tank or paying their morgage. Obama is the president. Just ask that woman Obama supporter who said so.

Of course the underlying statement is they will have no cars to fill up and will be living in section 8 housing.

Just a few minutes ago, as ... (Below threshold)
John S:

Just a few minutes ago, as I walked home from my part-time McJob, I was amazed how high gasoline prices are. But that's the point. I figured if I was going to work poverty wages, I'd find a job close enough to walk. So I may be poor, but gas prices don't affect me. (I just hope this stupid speculative bubble bursts before winter heating season returns.)

Born without a brain seems ... (Below threshold)

Born without a brain seems to be O'Dumbo's minor problem.

Gee, it sure is a shame tha... (Below threshold)

Gee, it sure is a shame that money to help give the poor heating money over the winter was axed by the GOP congress, but that unneeded subsidy for the oil companies was kept.






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