Mike Ault's thoughts on various topics, Oracle related and not. Note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are not contributing to the overall theme of the BLOG or are insulting or demeaning to anyone. The posts on this blog are provided “as is” with no warranties and confer no rights. The opinions expressed on this site are mine and mine alone, and do not necessarily represent those of my employer.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Time for a Change

So gas has gone up nearly double in less than year. Makes me wonder how much we have increased the cost of food we are selling overseas. I believe we need to tie the cost of a bushel of wheat, corn or other food stuff directly to the cost of a barrel of oil from the particular country we get the oil from. Gas goes up 10%, their cost for food goes up 10%.

It would be an interesting study to look at the average cost of a barrel of oil and tie it to the average cost at the pump. Maybe we can look closer to home for some of the problems as well. Make the cost of a gallon of gas be a ratio to the cost of a barrel of oil.

Let’s do that with all medical supplies as well. It is pretty bad when many times folks in countries hostile to us can get medicine cheaper than we can…from a US company!

Last time I checked most food can be converted to alcohol, sure some is more efficient (corn) but just about anything we can digest and has sugar in it can be digested by yeast to produce alcohol, cars will run on that, as the oil companies have been saying ad-nauseam. As far as I know, it is rather more difficult to convert oil to food. Seems we have a bigger stick, not much grows in the desert, especially when there is no food to feed the workers.

Of course, we would have to harden ourselves to the site of hungry and starving children, that will be the first weapon they would use, pictures of their children. We would have to stifle the bleeding hearts out there. Perhaps if we stopped feeding the world for a loss they would start taking better care of their people. Most countries are only three-square meals away from revolution.

Tie it to the cost of electronics and other high tech items as well. Put a large tariff on technical talent, most of the oil wells out there wouldn’t be running without American know-how.

It is time for America to get tough. Time for us to harden our hearts a bit. As a Christian this hurts for me to say, but I believe we have fulfilled the 40X4 slaps required by the bible and then some, as well as carrying the load for these countries for the extra mile. Jesus turned the money-lenders from out of the temple, it is time for use to turn out the oil sellers. It is high time to use the economic might that is the USA for it’s citizens benefit.


Robert Vollman said...

"It would be an interesting study to look at the average cost of a barrel of oil and tie it to the average cost at the pump."

Yes, it would be. And it's been done a million times. There is a very direct correlation, since the primary use of oil is for transportation.

In the short run, high gas prices can be mitigated by:
- Conserving (driving less, switching to fuel efficient/hybrid cars)
- Blended fuels with more diesel or ethanol, etc.
- Getting more reliable sources of oil (eg: stabilizing Iraq, drilling in Alaska).

In the long run, when the price of oil (and thus gas) gets high enough, it will start to make more economic sense to switch to cars powered by (say) hydrogen fuel cells. The power for those fuel cells can be generated in any number of ways: coal, natural gas, and oil, not to mention nuclear power (and, to a lesser degree, solar or wind).

As for these less fortunate countries, I don't know what to say. If you live in one, try to leave. If you stay, try to build it into something better for future generations. Some of the richest countries in the world today were living in poverty a mere 2 generations ago (like my grandparents on the farms of Saskatchewan).

I think it makes a lot of sense - for both sides - for the United States to continue to invest wisely in developing countries. And while generosity has always been one of the greatest virtues of the United States, no one will blame you if you discretely avoid the more unstable areas.

Howard J. Rogers said...

As a Christian this hurts for me to say...

It is a strange Christian outlook to say the least to regard pictures of starving children as 'a weapon' and something you have to harden your heart to withstand.

I seem to recall phrases such as 'God is love', 'Let the little children come unto me', 'Love your neighbours; do good to those that hurt you'. Oddly enough, Jesus said nothing about 40x4 slaps.

I think you need to read the Concepts Guide again. Start with Mark, and don't stop until you've finished Acts.

DaPi said...

Mike, you and I come from opposite ends of the political spectrum and I must say that there is practically NOTHING in your post that I could agree with. But before I start disecting it, perhaps you would like to review it in light of good data rather than gut feeling:

(working from memory) CNN tonight gave the pump price of gas as $2.9x per gallon comapared with $2.3x the same time last year. This is born out by this:

So where do you get "So gas has gone up nearly double in less than year"?

Mike said...

Pictures of starving children are weapons when they are being used as pawns by their own governments, when they would spend millions on arms, but expect others to give them food.

Not sure where you are located DaPi, but around here it as less than 2$/gal about a year ago (of course then Katrina shot things in the head, right) so it went up by 60% rather than 100%, sue me.

I telecomute whenever possible, when I am onsite I get a hotel as close as possible to the customer, so rarely do I ever use a tank or even half a tank (7-8 gallons) per week. My biggest commute is usually to the airport and back, once a week.

At home I drive a 25 mpg car (hey, it's 10 years old and paid for).

As to comments from Oz...who cares?

I suppose DaPi you are all for giving everything to everybody for nothing as we in the US have since I can remember? See how much oil that gets you.

Our generosity has gotten us enemies everywhere, no one appreciates us.

As for my politics, you have no idea.


Joel Garry said...

Plenty of Russian know-how to keep oil wells going.

Some analyses say it is more expensive to get alcohol from corn that the gummint would have you believe. http://www.slate.com/id/2122961/ among others. Brazil has much better economics with making it from sugar cane, google for details.

America get tough... better think about that "pride before a fall" stuff.

Mike said...

I agree, but it is much easier to fall when your eyes are closed. Many of our leaders only see to the next election (if that far, some only see to the end of their...eh...walking stick.)

If I could be sure the food got to where it was supposed to, maybe I would be more open minded about it, however, many times local warlords take it (in Africa) or it rots in warehouses because of politics.


DaPi said...

As to comments from Oz...who cares?
What has geographical location to do with right and wrong in this case? Does it matter who points out the philosophy of a communist pacifist from a crummy little mediterranean country 2000 years ago? (HE sure wasn't a republican?)

Generosity? We're all doing badly on that - how does aid at a whopping 0.22% of US GNI compare to tithing?

And can you spot the difference beween aid and dumping?
The dumping of the surplus production for free or nearly no cost to poorer nations means that the farmers from such countries cannot compete and are driven out of jobs, further slanting the market share of the larger producers such as the US and Europe
An interesting report on how this fuels the drug trade is here:

As for the pictures of starving children, I'm sure that the vast majority of those any of us have seen have been taken by western photographers. Well, they make a good story and good story makes good money.

Which brings us to the market economy - tne US fought a long cold war and several hot ones to support the principle of the market economy. Now they are whinging when market forces push up gas prices. My heart bleeds for you.

David Aldridge said...

>> So gas has gone up nearly double in less than year. Makes me wonder how much we have increased the cost of food we are selling overseas. I believe we need to tie the cost of a bushel of wheat, corn or other food stuff directly to the cost of a barrel of oil from the particular country we get the oil from. Gas goes up 10%, their cost for food goes up 10%.

Much of the rise in the price of oil over the past few years is actually more related to the devaluation of the US dollar, Mike. This is why some countries are now selling their oil for Euros, and why America is suffering more than other nations.

The devaluation is pushed by the immense borrowing of the current administration, who would rather put us all into debt than raise taxes -- maybe they believe that the size of governemnt is determined by it's income rather than its expenditure, or maybe they believe that they will all be swept up in the Rapture before the bills become due .. who knows? I do know that I'd rather hear less talk about independence from _foreign_ oil in favour of independence from _any_ oil.

Perhaps the US government should be pushing for arms embargoes against economically failing nations to prevent them from spending their food budget on weaponry, but that might be an unpopular move with some political contributors.

As for the price of gas, I get 55mpg from my motorbike, and I also don't have to put up with the noise of the kids from the back seat :D

Mike said...

I've thought about going back to a cycle, but the last time waking up in an emergency room wasn't any fun...to this day don't know what caused the wreck.

Yes, the administrations mismanagement ties back to the short sightedness and unwillingness to do what is right instead of what is easy.

David Aldridge said...

I somewhat luckily fell into a "genre" of motorcycling which above all else prizes the principle of "ATGATT"


ie. not the "HOG" or "Squid" genres. I'll tell you what, once you've stumbled upon a couple of photos on the internet of whole-back road rash or "hit the ground with the jaw-bone first" you're soon on the way to an appropriate frame of mind.

Back on topic, it occurs to me that the fall in the dollar does make it cheaper to buy US agricultural products abroad, so there has probably been some benefit to the US from that. Then there's the $10billion p.a. subsidy given to corn farmers of course. It's not popular round these parts to voice concepts more complex than can be written on a beer mat, but you can blame a pretty fair amount of the illegal immigration from South and Central America on that.

It makes me think, "As you sow, so shall you reap".

wow_unbelievable said...

At home I drive a 25 mpg car (hey, it's 10 years old and paid for).

maybe less laughing on the way to the bank and more concern about the world at large would help the Christian Heart you say you have?

I do not begrudge you your vacactions. But, to use the "but it is paid for, give me my cheap gas" line, I do not know what to say.

It would appear that a person in your positition of affluence could afford a car that more than doubled their gas mileage which would more than offset your 60% increase in gas.

Me, I am hoping for the prices to go through the roof, and soon.

Mike said...

My point was I usually have to shovel the accumulated leaves off of it to drive it. I don't use it frequently.

I've worked 32 years to get where I am at, I apologize to no one for any of it.


William Robertson said...

On the subject of cars, presumably the ethical thing for Mike to do would be to sell it to someone who promises to drive it even less than he does. If Mike already drives it very little I'm not sure what benefit wow_unbelievable sees in the exercise.

Noons said...

No matter how economic any car may be, they ALL use up petrol at enormous mpg rates when they're stopped at a red light.

The only true way to save on petrol is to drive the least possible - which Mike seems to be into.

That achieves two major things: first, you actually DO reduce pollution around you. Second, you actually DO hurt the profits of ammoral oil companies.

I'm now into using my push bike for all short trips around the area I live in. The car is only used for work and then only if I miss the bus. My petrol costs have actually reduced despite the fact its price has doubled here in the last two years.

And I'm seriously looking into the motor bike option, thanks to David for the tips.

William Robertson said...

btw not being a Christian I'm still a bit confused about exactly what part of the Bible the reference to 4x4s comes from.

DaPi said...

Then Peter came and said to him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Until seven times?"

Jesus said to him, "I don't tell you until seven times, but, until seventy times seven."

Read more on Niall's blog.

Mike said...

Sorry, I was getting my quotes confused, it is simply turn the cheek for a slap, but for a slight it is 70 times 7, not 4 times 40...so I am not a scholar of bible quotes...I admit it...

I still feel we have turned the other cheek and faced the 70 times 7 as well as given our cloak as well as our coat and gone the extra mile...