March 14th, 2011
Gas prices are still hovering around $4 per gallon in Chicago, but the disaster in Japan could actually bring them down a bit.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, the average price of regular unleaded in Chicago is $3.71, about 1 cent cheaper than a week ago. At the Des Plaines Oasis Mobil station Monday morning, the price was $3.73 for regular, and $3.97 for super unleaded.
Now experts say in the short-term, the prices could continue to fall because of the devastation in Japan.
The tragedy of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan last Friday has halted the fast-paced Japanese society, leading to a decline in the demand in oil there, and thus, a drop in worldwide oil prices and gas prices here at home.
AAA says Japan is the third largest consumer of crude oil.
Back in the U.S., in the past month, gas prices have surged up 37 cents, as a result of anxiety over unrest in the Middle East and North Africa.
While gas prices are starting to fall now, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is also calling on President Obama to help bring gas prices down in the long-term.
“As families and businesses are facing these high gas prices, I’ll be working with President Obama to urge him to release the strategic petroleum reserves so we can start stabilizing and bring these gas prices down,” Durbin said.
Experts say this week, prices will likely drop about 1 to 2 cents because of the woes in Japan. But it’s unclear how the prices will look in the coming weeks.
June 18, 2010
The Washington Times
The White House kicked off a “recovery summer” public relations blitz yesterday to promote the alleged benefits of stimulus spending. The mood of self-congratulation was interrupted by a Labor Department report that found initial jobless claims for the week climbed by 12,000. A Conference Board survey showed the average wait in unemployment lines increased from 30 weeks at the start of the year to 34.4 weeks in May. It won’t be a summer of love in those households.
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was enthusiastic, declaring the stimulus “an absolute success” on Wednesday. Before he and the president begin their victory lap, however, they should take a closer look at the numbers. The current recovery has been one of the worst for job creation on record. Private sector hiring has virtually ground to a halt, and the administration was embarrassed last month when it was reported that 90 percent of the jobs created in May turned out to be short-term Census Bureau hires – and even those numbers appear to be exaggerated.
The job losses for this recession have been far deeper in percentage terms than in any of the 11 recessions since the Second World War. Underemployment, home foreclosures, bankruptcy filings and the number of Americans on food stamps have all increased since the stimulus act was passed. If this is “absolute success” we would hate to see what the vice president would call failure.
The administration’s “jobs” are an expensive form of workfare. Mr. Biden toured a $508 million Brooklyn Bridge makeover project on Wednesday where taxpayers contributed at least $30 million to save or create 150 jobs. That is $200,000 per job just from the stimulus money, not including other federal, state and local funding. On Monday Mr. Biden will tour a project in Midland, Mich., which will “stimulate” 1,000 jobs at a cost of $161,000 per job. Jared Bernstein, chief economist and senior economic adviser to the vice president, said last year that the overall average cost per stimulus job is closer to $92,000, which is still good work if you can get it.
The stimulus approach to economic recovery is not complicated. It is based on the belief that expensive make-work jobs funded by deficit spending will at some point lead to economic benefits beyond the fortunate few receiving the grants. It involves opening the spending spigots and then finding enough shovel-ready projects to spend the money on. It’s a wonderful plan for those whose aspirations in life go no further than short-term employment involving shovels.
June 10, 2010
The New York Times
By Sewell Chan
Mr. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, warned on Wednesday that “the federal budget appears to be on an unsustainable path,” but also recognized that an “exceptional increase” in the deficit had been necessary to ease the pain of recession.
In nearly two hours of questioning by the House Budget Committee, however, Mr. Bernanke gave potential succor to members of both parties, while refusing to side with either of them.
To Republicans, he offered warnings about the fiscal perils of an aging population and the potential threat of soaring long-term interest rates. To Democrats, he made it clear that persistently high unemployment was a drag on growth and said that additional short-term stimulus spending might be needed.
All the while, Mr. Bernanke refused to endorse any particular spending cuts or tax increases, or even specify the balance between the two. And he was not subtle about his strategy.
“I’m trying to avoid taking sides on this because it’s really up to Congress to make those decisions,” he told Representative Michael K. Simpson, Republican of Idaho.
“But we need your expertise on it,” Mr. Simpson pressed.
“Well, no,” Mr. Bernanke replied. “Plenty of people have that kind of expertise, including the Congressional Budget Office and others.”