$100 a barrel oil? The horror… NOT

Here’s one skill that seems to have slipped out of the grasp of most folks these days – telling the difference from something that is a big deal and something that is not a big deal.

On the whole you could probably wrap this one up under the heading of a general loss of the art of [tag]critical thinking[/tag]. Whether you realize it or not, they did used to teach this in school, and not just universities. Nope, they snuck it into all the basics in junior high and high school. While I’m willing to believe that this is no longer being done, and that would account for the inability of younger adults to think critically, I’m at a bit of a loss to explain why people of my own generation and older seem to no longer be able to tell their proverbial asses from proverbial holes in the ground.

Let’s take today’s big news story for example – Oil prices hit $100 a barrel. In my office they’ve got flat screen TV’s up all over the place, all of them tuned to one cable news channel or another. Walking down the hallways today you’d have thought the sky had literally fallen. The pundits weren’t punditing about anything other than this historic oil price milestone. I’ve got one word – bullshit.

In [tag]1978[/tag] oil hit $84 a barrel. Adjusting that price for inflation to today’s dollar and that means 1978 oil cost around $270 per barrel in [tag]2008[/tag] money. This is not to say that we shouldn’t be concerned about the growing demand for oil that coincides with the continued dwindling of oil reserves worldwide. But it does mean that all this wringing of hands and panic is based entirely on thoughtless, emotional behavior. Think, people, think. Numbers too big? Ok, try this set instead – regular gas at my local station costs about $3.45 per gallon. If you adjust that for inflation back to a 1978 price then we’re effectively paying $1.07 per gallon for gas at my local station. Pardon me and my poor memory, but that seems to be pretty much the same price we were paying in 1978. [tag]Gas prices[/tag] haven’t gone up, friends and neighbors. The value has dropped out of your dollars. And honestly, you should be much, much more concerned about that in the overall big picture.

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