Saturday, March 29, 2008

Fuel, Food, and Debt

From the Organic Consumers' Association:


With trucking diesel fuel prices now over $4 per gallon in many locations, food prices are reaching an all time high, since the average grocery store item has traveled 1500-3500 miles. Over the past year, alone, consumers have been forced to pay significantly more for staples like eggs (25 percent), milk (17 percent), cheese (15 percent), bread (12 percent), and rice (13 percent). This is partially due to increased costs of transportation and partially due to massive amounts of cropland being converted to biofuel production. As a result, consumers are paying more for their food and paying $15 billion in increased taxes per year for biofuel subsidies. Fuel prices have nearly doubled the expenses of commuters over the last year. Recent polls show a strong majority of U.S. citizens are in favor of allocating a larger portion of the federal budget for mass transportation. In contrast, the amount of federal money earmarked for mass transit projects (example: rail and bus) has been reduced by nearly 70% since the Bush Administration took over in 2001. A record number of consumers are using credit cards to pay for increased fuel costs. Although the recession has negatively impacted employment, the New York Times reports one of the few booming occupations in the current job market is as a Debt Collector. Since 2001, the top five oil companies have increased their annual profits by an average of 500%.


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