I'm now very hesitant to call the current economic crisis in the United States and the world just an "oil crisis." The skyrocketing cost of oil may well be the engine that is propelling the economy toward the abyss, but virtually every person around the world in on board and strapped in for the ride.
I have been writing about the oil crisis and especially the virtually complete lack of action by Congress to begin to solve this problem. Now Congress has recessed for the "holiday" without taking any action beyond holding what may be the stupidest hearings I've ever witnessed.
Trust me when I tell you it will be a cold day in hell when Congress members actually take any action against their largest benefactors. Of course, a cold day in hell is exactly where we are headed.
I am working on a comparison of the Obama and McCain strategies for handling the oil crisis. But you already know my position: Let's implement BOTH sets of strategies and work for genuine energy independence in our lifetime.
What Congress has so far refused to acknowledge is the great extent the current crisis has spread beyond the pump. Sure we see that $4.09 price per gallon on the pump, but we are so far ignoring the massive increases in collateral costs.
Sadly, some of our nations most important charitable organizations cannot ignore their real cost increases. One that is simply being devastated is Meals on Wheels. Talk about getting hit from every direction!
First the number of people who volunteer to deliver the meals is dropping at an alarming rate. Estimates indicate a drop as high as 38%. Volunteers must pay their own gasoline costs and it is often fellow seniors on a fixed income who deliver the meals. They simply can no longer afford to volunteer.
Second food costs are skyrocketing. Meals on Wheels admits it is being forced to dramatically reduce the use of fresh foods, fruits and vegetables and substitute frozen meals. Part of the problem is the reduced deliveries outlined in the first point above.... fewer deliveries and fewer volunteers mean seniors cannot get daily meals.
Third, obviously, is that donations are greatly reduced. This is affecting virtually all charities. People are spending their money on food and fuel. They do not have the disposable income to donate to any charity. The New York City Meals on Wheels is facing a $3 Million Dollar shortfall this year. Smaller towns and cities are even harder hit.
How about this 4th if July we all cancel our road trips and create some real fireworks by contacting our Senators and Representatives (who are no doubt home for the holiday) and demanding real bipartisan action to begin to take the steps needed to permanently solve this problem.
And take the money you would spend on gasoline and donate it to your local Meals on Wheels.