Someone once said “the only things I have to do is pay taxes and die.” Someone else said, “the only constant is change.” What I wish more than anything is that a bold conservative would come along and embody a mix of those two principals while president, by saying, “The only things I have to do is change taxes and die.” Now that would be a presidency to remember, especially if the dying part came long after he or she were out of office (because it’s cruel to wish anyone die before their time, unless they’re Hitler or someone equally heinous…)
Lately, I’ve been going through a lot of turmoil. Most of it has to do with oil prices and my chosen profession. As a journalist by trade, I don’t make much. Even chickens could go hungry on my chicken-feed salary. But this summer’s spiraling oil prices have really done a number on me. The increased cost of travel has prevented me from seeing my fiancee on a regular basis and has even led me to the brink of foreclosure on my home.
While ivory-tower big-city papers blithely opine that gas is still cheaper than most other liquids people buy, such as Starbuck’s Coffee, what they fail to realize is that, first, I don’t know anyone who consumes literally 20-30 gallons of coffee a week, but that’s not an unusual amount of gas per week, especially if you’re a journalist or in some other on-the-go profession. Second, you can cut back on coffee consumption when running low on cash; not so with gasoline.
For the paper I work at – a small weekly where I mostly cover high school sports and various general news assignments – driving a lot is a given and even with milage reimbursements, when gas tops $3.00 a gallon as it did for a while this past summer, it really kills you when you’re living barely check-to-check to begin with. I did the math for a column in my sports section, focusing on coaches from out-of-area quitting their positions to coach closer to home, to save on gas, and what I found was shocking. Compared to the 2001 price of gas, the new gas prices were almost exactly what I was falling short of in take-home pay each month. Sure, gas wasn’t the only factor, but it was a huge one. The recent drop to $2.25 or so is the only thing that’s saved me from complete financial devastation.
Finally, I’m taking action. I’m looking hard for a better, higher-paying job, even if it means selling insurance instead of the work I love. A person simply cannot make ends meet at $25K a year. Maybe at $40K.
Anyway, the bottom line is this: I’m sorry I’ve been absent for so long, but I’m trying to get my life back on track. I’ve had to cut out home internet, satellite TV and nearly every other luxury out of my life. It’s a boring life and I’m writing this post from a friend’s computer. But hopefully, by the first of the year, I’ll have a better-paying job, be living back in the Twin Cities area to be closer to my church and my fiancee, and will get back to really gearing up this blog.
I have plenty to say on the issues of the day. Soon, with a little luck, I’ll be back to saying them.