Us po’ folk are suckers for a good deal. That’s probably why there are so many of us. Come to think of it, that’s probably why we are po’ in the first place. Take those good deals the banks were offering us a few years ago. Buy a house, just like the rich folks, with no money down and only 360 payments. Why, that outfit called CountryWide even allowed us to live in our new house for five years before we started paying interest. Boy, you can’t find a better deal than that.
That nice fella who sold us the house and set us up with the mortgage people told us the reason they could make us such a good deal was because of what he called his arm. Didn’t make a lot of sense to me, but he explained that that meant our house payment might go up or down a few dollars a month sometimes; not often, just now and then when the big bank in Washington D.C. changed their interest rates.
Well, it seemed no sooner than it was time for us to start making payments that the big bank started changing their rates and before we knew it our payments were twice what we though they would be. Now, I don’t make a lot of money, what with all the taxes and things I have to pay. Pretty soon my house payments was almost as big as my paycheck. We cut down on just about everything and was barely scraping by waiting for the house payments to go back down like the fella said.
Then I began to notice that when I went to the filling station for gas, instead of twenty dollars to fill up my tank, it was costing me thirty, and then thirty-five and then forty. I asked Billy—he’s the fella that runs the filling station—what was going on. He said them A’rabs and the big oil companies just kept raising the prices and there weren’t nothing he could do about it. Well, I thought, I’ll just have to cut down on my trips over to aint Sally’s house. Never did like her much anyhow.
That weren’t all, I noticed that when I went to the grocery store the prices there were going up just about as fast as they were at the filling station. We’ll just have to start eating more dumplings and less chicken I reckon. But, I had to admit, there’s something funny going on. I decided to have a talk with my neighbor. He’s pretty smart and all, went to one of them big city colleges up north. Besides he’s a dimacrat, and they know just about everything.
Sure enough, he knowed just what was going on. It was all because of George Bush and his buddies in the oil business. Them rich republicans was going right along with Bush because they was making all kinds of money off the high prices. I shouldn’t worry though, cause come the next election Barack Obama—funny name—was going to be President and he would fix everything. Said he had talked to his Congressman and everything was going to be all right, just be sure to vote dimacratic when I voted. I thought it best not to mention that I had voted for Bush in the last election.
I felt a little better, but I still had a nagging feeling that something just weren’t right. His Congressman and mine were the same, so I figured I ought to talk to him myself, then I would understand for sure. It turned out he was is in town the next week and my neighbor arranged for me to talk with him. He turned out to be a right nice fella, shook my hand, slapped me on the back and invited me right into his office. He explained to me just why everything costs so much now. I didn’t understand a lot of what he said but I recollect pretty well how he explained it.
It seems it all started back when them judges appointed Bush President in 2000. His brother was Governor of Florida, you know, where they had all that trouble with Republicans stealing votes. It wasn’t long after Bush became President when them A’rabs flew those airplanes into them buildings in New York and killed a bunch of people. Well, that gave the President all the excuse he needed. He sent the army over there to Afghanistan where the A’rabs came from and wiped out the Taliban, cept’n they didn’t really come from there, they was all Arabians.
He couldn’t do nothing about that though, because them Arabians was friends of his daddy and his granddaddy and his family had made a lot of money dealing with them in the past. Besides it was really Sadaam Hussein George was mad at, cause they had tried to kill his daddy when he was President. So he sent the army over to Irack and took over that country too. Irack had a lot of oil and he figured that while he was at it, he could help his friends in the oil business make a lot of money by selling that oil.
I asked the Congressman why Congress didn’t stop him. He explained that George Bush lied to Congress and told them Hussein was really the one who sent the planes to New York and the American people wanted to get even with him. Bush not only fooled Congress but he fooled Britain, Canada, Australia, and just about the whole world as well. That Bush must be a pretty slick son-of-a-gun.
I didn’t understand what that had to do with the price of gas, though. Then he explained to me that the A’rabs was mad at Bush because he took over Irack and killed Sadaam. So, they cut back on the oil supply and raised the price. That was what caused the price of gas and everything else to go up. We could fix everything though, if we would just all vote for dimacrats in November.
He said when the dimacrats took over Washington they was going to “take care” of the oil companies. They was going to make them sell their gas for less by taking away their profits and raising their taxes. While they was at it they was going to take back all the money Bush gave to the rich folks by cutting their taxes. All that extra money they got from the rich folks and the oil companies they were going to use to help out us regular folks. He pointed out the dimacrats had already forced Bush to send us a check to cover the increase in our house payments and gas prices. That wasn’t really the way it worked out, but I got his point.
He said the first thing they was going to do was pay off my old mortgage and get me a new one with a 30% less monthly payment and at a fixed low interest rate guaranteed by the government. And if they couldn’t make the oil companies lower their prices by taking away their profits they just might take over the companies and run them themselves, like that fella Hugo down in South America did. Gas is real cheap there. While they was at it they was going to pay my doctor bills and buy me whatever medicines I needed. He said Obama was even going to help my kids get a college education by paying them up to $40 an hour working around town picking up litter, painting fences and the like. All I had to do was vote dimacratic. What a deal!
After I left I got to thinking, that congressman sure sounded a lot like the fella that sold me my house. As long as I was in town, I thought, I might as well stop by and talk to my cousin Alf. Alf was a little strange sometimes but he kept up with all that politics stuff and probably knew as much as that Congress fella. Well as it turned out, Alf knew a lot more than that congressman, or at least more than the congressman told me.
According to Alf, one of the big reasons gas prices are so high is because there is not enough for all the people around the world that need it. We could have a lot more ’cept a lot of weird people called environmentalist don’t want us to use gas to run our cars. They want us to use something called “biofuels” or electricity. These environmentalists persuaded Congress that if we kept using gas in our cars we was going to cause the north pole to melt and all those polar bears would fall into the ocean and drown. It’s a little hard for me to understand how my driving over to see aint Sally is going to drown a polar bear, but that’s what they believe.
Anyway, because of drowning polar bears, Congress won’t let the Oil Companies drill any more holes in the ground looking for oil. We can’t drill in the oceans either, because we might spill some and mess up the fish. There’s a place up in Alaska that has lots of oil, but we can’t drill there cause that might disturb Santa Clause’s reindeer. As to what the congressman said about all the profits made by oil companies, it turns out that the profit margins of oil companies are far less than other big companies, and the government takes almost half of the profits oil companies do make in taxes. It seems the real profits from the sale of gas goes to the government already.
I was beginning to feel discouraged, but then I though at least my house payments would be less. Alf, just shook his head. He said there was a bill going through Congress now called “FHA Housing Stabilization and Homeownership Retention Act of 2008” being pushed by Barney Frank and Chris Dodd that might help. The bill was really written by Bank of America lobbyists to help them cover the losses by CountryWide who Bank of America had just agreed to buy. It might help some homeowners, but in the long run the people who would profit the most was the ones who lent the money to the homebuyers in the first place.
Not only that, but if I let the government take over my mortgage and if the value of my house went up over the next few years I would have to share some of the profits with the government. Furthermore, my kids was going to need a good college education so they could earn the money to pay back all the debt Congress’ plan would create. As Alf talked I began to think maybe the deal being offered wasn’t so great after all. As my daddy always told me, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”