As of this AM, June 8, 2008, gas prices in Missouri are sitting at a record $3.85 a gallon. Being an agricultural state, with only a handful of bigger cities, workers here, without specialized talents, generally make little more than minimum wage making this hike in gasoline prices that much more devastating. It has become common in our area to hear of single working moms being unable to feed their families regular meals as they are forced to offset the increased cost of food with more of their limited income that is going into their gas tanks to get to work. One might suggest public transit but unfortunately that is not an option since it doesn’t exist in our area.
We are even finding that people here who have retired, and don’t need to do daily driving, are struggling as they attempt to stretch their incomes to cover the increased cost of food and medicine that has risen at the fastest rate since 1990. I am aware that the Federal Government may attempt to put the inflation rate or the CPI at a mere 1.8% but the average consumer realizes that this does not include the cost of energy or food. In fact, according to the Labor Department staples such as bread, milk, eggs, and flour are rising sharply and have surged in the past year at double-digit rates. Milk prices, for example, increased 26 percent over the year. Egg prices jumped 40 percent. This alone is going to present a greater challenge to the consumer, than the rise in gas prices, as the average household generally spends three times or 13 percent of their income on household staples compared to 4 percent on gasoline. That means that when food costs rise dramatically consumer confidence is eroded resulting in a downhill spiral of spending on everything else from cars to computers to movie tickets. If the spending is curtailed too much, more job layoffs are forthcoming meaning less money to re-enforce the already fragile economy.
Add this to falling home values and a faltering stock market you can be assured that the resulting battered consumer confidence will contribute to job losses and force the economy toward recession if not to one of the greatest depressions of all times. However, this is not just a problem for those of us living in the United States it has become a world-wide issue with food riots breaking out across the globe as the poor are unable to afford the basics of corn meal and beans.
If this situation continues worldwide it is only a matter of time before the current major powers decide to take matters into their own hands and go after what oil there is. If that happens there is no doubt that we will be facing the third worst war in recorded history as every nation on earth will have a stake in its outcome.
If you are a believer in the Bible this could well result in the great battle of Armageddon the precursor to Jesus’ return to earth. If you aren’t then hopefully you are a survivalist who knows how to survive off the land and without outside assistance. Whatever, your beliefs, however, it doesn’t take much common sense to see that the current situation is dire and without a miracle of some sort, be it divine, economical, or statutory, we are looking at something never before faced by humankind. This is even more obvious given the fact that the military technology that is in possession of major powers today could cause a nuclear holocaust that would forever alter the world as we know it.
Am I fearful of this possibility? Of course, who in their right mind wouldn’t be. However, I am not without hope. There is still time for God to intervene. There is still time for our elected officials to take action to delay the inevitable race to war. However, I do believe that the time to act is now before things get even worse. If we don’t then each of us had better prepare our hearts to face our maker because that day may not be that far off.