Times are kind of crappy. That’s stating the obvious, right? Of course it is. The frustrating and annoying part is that nobody is stating the obvious reasons for WHY things are crappy.

Here’s the deal: The cost of gas went up. Shot up and tripled over the 8 years Bush was in office. Personally, I blame Cheney; those backdoor energy sessions he had with people working in the Energy industry…the ones he refused to provide the transcripts for…yeah, those…I swear he was up to something.

But I digress. So, the cost of gas shot up, and then they started laying all those taxes on cigarettes, and so cigarettes shot up. So you had a large number of people who weren’t getting raises suddenly having to pay more for gas, which is a basic necessity for getting to work in the majority of the country, not to mention a necessity for transporting goods, and then cigarettes go up at the same time, so people are paying roughly 5 to six dollars for a pack of cigarettes. Sure, not everybody smokes, but if you want to establish cause for the recession, there you go. All of a sudden two things that a lot of people buy every day went up exponentially.

Here’s the fun part: Nobody’s pay rate went up…Well, not anybody at the Economic Red Line. I’m talking about the line of people making between, say, 1000 to 1500 a month.That’s a lot of people, when you think about it. Not only that, but the cost of living doesn’t stop going up either. While goods and services have gone up more slowly to avoid stickershock for people wanting something as simple as a 20 oz bottle of soda, the fact remains that the last thing to go up is people’s wages. The economy is kind of like an ecosystem. Ecosystems have what you’d call habitable zones. Generally life thrives within these zones, unless something happens to the ecosystem. Now, stay with me here, ok?

What happens in an ecosystem when something catastrophic happens? There’s inevitably less to go around, which is exactly what is happening right now. There’s more money being taken out of the economy by companies, and less being returned to employees in the form of income. I’m not being a socialist or any other -ist. I’m stating a fact. Companies are charging more for goods but not raising the pay of the most base employees, which are the majority of people in the country, and what happens when they make less money? Everybody makes less money.

I don’t have a solution other than the obvious, which is that either the Federal Government needs to put a law into effect establishing some kind of fair pay system that companies have to follow, with a maximum and minimum pay rate, or they need to put a cap on the cost of living somehow. Establish a national rent control, to keep rent from going up arbitrarily everytime you renew a lease (which, you have to admit, is an unfair practice for rental properties to engage in), maybe repeal the national gas tax temporarily…

The point is that we don’t just need jobs, we need to make more money, or pay less for goods and services, because we folks at the red ilne are having to choose between eating and buying gas, or paying bills, and it’s not getting any better unless we get some kind of relief. And let’s be honest, companies aren’t going to do it for us unless the federal government does something to compel them to do so. Sure, this may all sound a little naive, saying that the government needs to get companies to do something about paying people more money…I’m pretty sure those companies I’m thinking of make plenty to spare.