To those in the medical field it has long been known that stress is the enemy of good health as it raises blood pressure, gastrointestinal disease, and tends to exacerbate mental conditions. Given that it is only a matter of time before the struggle to make ends meet, on a limited income, will result in a rise in medical conditions that cost each of us even more.

Recurring stress is where the real problem is. Each month as the cost of fuel, food, and medical care increases it is tougher for families to make it and one knows that as these costs rise consumers are forced to tighten their belts. When this happens it is to be expected that a slow down in the economy will result thus triggering a spiral of job loss and increased economic woes that put a further strain on the over ready overburdened taxpayer to meet the needs of those without work.

So as gasoline has already reached historic levels throughout the country, which in the heartland means we are paying $3.69 a gallon for gas and $4.55 a gallon for diesel, and milk and eggs have doubled over last year the blue collar worker is struggling to stay afloat as they watch their savings dwindle. This is turn is forcing home and new construction foreclosures at an unprecedented rate. Are you stressed yet?

Well, consider this scenario. Truck drivers in England are already paying Near $2,000 A week to keep their trucks on the road. Even in France the price for diesel has reached $10.00 a gallon forcing delivery truck drivers in both countries to pull their rigs over in protest. There is no way that these drivers can continue to deliver the good consumers need without passing the increase in fuel costs on. As it stands they are paying more out in fuel costs than they earn. If this continues skyrocketing costs are destined to bring down our economy as we know it and we could well be faced with a depression that will make the 1929 one look like a piece of cake.

However, across the country the financial crunch is affecting more than people’s wallets. While it will take time to see the affects on people’s physical well-being it is taking an immediate tool on people’s mental health. According to social workers and mental health professionals they are seeing increasing numbers of patients who are suffering from extreme anxiety and a host of other emotional problems as they find themselves caught between rising costs and unpaid bills.

According to Brooke Ash. A community social worker for Community Partnership of the Ozarks, there are an ever increasing number of crisis calls coming in to their office. By that she is talking about people like single moms who call in tears because the high cost of gasoline is keeping them from being able to purchase enough food or pay their rent if they hope to be able to travel back and forth to their jobs.

Unfortunately, financial stress tend also tends to bring pre-existing mental-health issues that may have previously been hidden since studies show that there is a strong connection between financial distress and emotional distress. The emotional side will be shown through anxiety, depression, insomnia and/or migraine headaches. According to Melissa Haddow, C.P.O.’s executive director those symptoms can in turn make managing finances even more difficult. She added that “A big topic of conversation is speculation that things are bad and getting worse.” And that in turn “makes families already in a tough spot financially frightened and fearful of what’s going to happen next.”

This in turn has resulted in an increasing number of relationship issues that are causing couples to break up increasing the number of single parent households. So the problem spirals downward from every angle.

Are you stressed yet? Hang on because there is no answer thanks to our elected political officials. I truly believe that these issues should have been addressed back in the seventies when the first fuel crisis hit and we were all forced to sit in odd/even license plate lines to fuel our vehicles. Our infrastructure should have also been addressed long before now. Rather than granting money to the arts who defame our flag; or to specific groups that lower our moral fiber; or to an unjust war in Iraq these issues could have been dealt with in a manner that would have made our country stronger.

So, if you want change there is only one candidate in 2008 that you can vote for. I truly believe that a vote for either Hillary Clinton or John McCain is a vote for more of what we have experienced in the last 20 years of the Bush/Clinton White House. However, a voter for Barack Obama gives Americans a chance to change our society for the better. For once we have a candidate who is not owned by Big Business or Lobbyists and who understands the needs of Americans for a reliable fuel source, for a renewed infrastructure, and for honesty in government.

While the change will take time and will not immediately solve the stress issues that are being caused by our current economic crisis a vote for Obama will provide hope that there may be a solution to the issues that are currently plaguing us.