Wednesday, June 18, 2008

But I WANT to believe...

I’ve said before and I’ll say again:  I’m still not sure the Barak Obama is NOT the guy.  Hell, I want him to be the guy, but he hasn’t convinced me that he IS the guy, either.  Right now November is a long way off and I’m not sure either one of the guys is the guy, but we all know that ONE of those guys will be the guy.


That all said, neither one has eliminated himself yet.


Although Senator Obama is doing everything he can to talk me into thinking he’s not the guy.  And that’s a shame, because I want to believe that he can pull this thing off.

For example, things like the drivel I heard yesterday just bug the ever loving shit out of me.

A woman in Nebraska (where distances are tremendous) loves to teach.  Teaches on an Indian reservation.  Had to quit her job because she couldn’t afford gas any more.


Ok, gas is expensive.  I can understand unplugging the old brain pan and nodding blindly over that.  After all, who hasn’t put more than $50 into a gas tank lately?


But then I started thinking about the math (as I often do)…


Let’s make some assumptions:  gas is $4.00 per gallon, the average gas tank is 20 gallons and a truck gets 13 miles to the gallon.  Based on those assumptions, the following is true:

A tank of gas is $80.

That tank yields 260 miles.

Let’s further assume she makes at least $10 per hour based on a 40 hour week.  That means she makes at least $400 per week, and based on what I know about teachers in Nebraska working on Indian reservations, she makes more than that, but that doesn’t help the Dali Bama’s case.


So, assuming a tank of gas is $80, yields 260 miles, and she makes $400 a week, she would have to drive more than 130 miles—each way—to get to work in order to not be able to afford gas.  To put that in perspective, that would be like driving from Omaha to De Moines every morning (a 2+ hour trip) and then turning around and driving home at night.

Every day.

5 days a week.


But let’s say she’s making closer to $26,000 per year (the salary offered by an Indian reservation to a friend of mine who chose to come to Texas to teach instead).  That would be $500 per week and equivalent to a trip from Omaha to Kansas City and back, EACH DAY.


Forget the complete idiocy of driving nearly 3 hours to and from work each day.  Let’s just set that aside for one second and consider what is being said…


She quit her job, because she couldn’t afford gas.


That means, effectively, she gets up each morning (at 3), climbs into her truck and drives to work 160 miles away.  Works all day, climbs into her truck and drives another 3 hours to get home (at around 8 or so).  At the end of the week, when she deposits her check, her bank balance is less than it was at the beginning of the week, and the only expense on the ledger is gas, because to isolate the cause to the price of gas means that there were no other expenses she couldn’t afford—no food, no clothes, no maintenance, no Starbucks, no nothing.  Those have already been cut out to pay for gas, and gas alone.


And if you make gas $5, it’s still a 100 mile trip at $400 a week, and I’m still not buying it.


Let’s instead assume something more normal…  she lives about 60 miles away from work (which is realistic because you can’t live on the reservation).  That’s about an hour’s commute both ways, which in my esteemed opinion is ridiculous, but people do it.  Not me, but some people, indeed.

For a 60 mile commute, at $10 per hour, making $400 a week, driving a truck that yields 13 miles to the gallon, you’re talking about 2.3 tanks a week, just to get back and forth to work.  In our imaginary truck, that costs $230.77 a week in gas…  to earn $400.  That leaves almost $170 each week—not enough to live comfortably, no.  At $12.50 it’s over $260 a week, or $1100 a month, and enough for a single woman to live on in rural Nebraska... barely.  Getting a different job that pays better is perfectly reasonable—in any circumstance.  But outright quitting and giving up $170 to $270 a week is just preposterous.  “I want to save $140, so please keep the other $250 as well.”  Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face.


Now “changed her job because the old one doesn’t pay a living wage” is very VERY different from “quit her job because she can’t afford gas to get to work”.  On the one end you’re arguing for a living wage and improved living conditions.  On the other you’re fictitiously suggesting someone chose to stay home rather than lose money each day on a commute.  That’s merely pandering to the lowest common denominator (not to mention outright lying) and doing what politicians have been doing for ever and ever.  And the beat goes on…


I want to believe.  But drivel like this just makes me shake my head.  And that’s not to say he’s the only one guilty of doing it, but he is the only one guilty of saying “he’s a different kind of candidate” without the credentials to back it up.


Blogger Lee said...

A funny thing your Fuzzy Math.
You conveniently leave out taxes on income.

$1100 a month is pre-tax pay, not actual take home pay.

Remove at least 25% of that and the teacher has $825 a month.

Then take a realistic one gas tank per week for (80*4) $320 a month in gas... (she does need to run to the store for groceries, etc.)

Gas alone would make up 38.8% of her monthly budget.

Financial experts recommend that your monthly home mortgage/rent not be more than 30% of your monthly income. Thirty-five to 40 percent of income toward housing is considered a "dangerous level".

Here, gas would be her greatest monthly expense - higher than "obtaining shelter".

Add up all the other essentials such as groceries, utilities, car insurance (Oops, did you forget that too?) and you might find your argument ... um ... needs more math.

Peace, Joy and Proper Reasoning

6:34 AM  
Blogger Brother Joe said...

And once again, if the statement is “changed her job because the old one doesn’t pay a living wage” is very VERY different from “quit her job because she can’t afford gas to get to work”. You can easily substitute "insurance" or "groceries" or "clothes" or whatever, but because it's popular to whine and complain about the oil companies (and at least one senator suggesting that they be nationalized and still others suggesting a "windfall profit tax", or, more rightly, a success penalty) the complaint is on gas prices. Until the next crusade begins.
Getting a different job that pays better is perfectly reasonable--in any instance. But choosing to quit and stay home (which is what was implied) rather than net out (using your math) $500 because you'd rather not spend $320 in gas... which you chose to spend with your choice of vehicle... well, that's just plain stupid.
Also, I did a quick search (less than 2 minutes) and found 64 apartments in Lincoln that are less than $300 a month (and closer than 130 nmiles to the nearest reservation).

10:46 AM  

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