It's the Gas Prices, Stupid


Jarrett said that he checks the Department of Energy’s average fuel price, published every Monday, to determine the fuel surcharge for his customers. He explained that consumers don’t always realize the hidden fuel costs in the prices of items in stores.

We pass that fuel surcharge on to our customer, so then it does make its way to the consumer. And again, that fluctuation and that cost has to be built into the cost of the product. Let’s say it’s a consumer goods item that goes to the shelf of the store. When a customer goes to buy it off the shelf of the store, it doesn’t say the cost of the loaf of bread is “this much plus fuel.” It just has the cost of the loaf of bread.

Jarret also owns PackShip USA, a company that specializes in packing and shipping of fragile and high-value merchandise. He said that fuel prices have a more widespread effect on the economy.

If their disposable income is less because they had to spend more to fill up their tank of gas, then they’re probably not going to buy as many products -- in our case, furniture. That’s how economies stay stagnant. People are spending more on items they have to have. If you’re someone who has to drive your vehicle back and forth to work, you have to buy gas. And if you have to buy gas and it costs you more to do that, you’re going to have less disposable income to buy other things.

So the high gas prices are not only hurting American families at the gas pump and in the increased prices of nearly everything they purchase, but also in the weakening of the economy because a higher percentage of the family income must be spent on gas. The "war on coal" is too small a target. This is a "war on families" and a "war on the poor."

24/7 Wall St. has a list of states where people can’t afford gas, and perhaps not surprisingly, five of the top ten are swing states in the upcoming election: North Carolina, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio, and Florida.

Gas prices cause people to postpone vacations and defer daily expenses. Construction companies will suspend some of their activities. Businesses that deliver goods to homes or other businesses will try to raise their prices to offset their costs of transportation. Some of the states on this list barely made it out of the recession, if they did at all. Some still have double digit unemployment and high poverty levels. The sharp rise in gas prices becomes more severe each day. This is something that a portion of the population simply cannot afford.

This issue should be a slam-dunk for Mitt Romney and the rest of the Republican team. While the high price of gas cannot be blamed entirely on President Obama, he clearly hasn’t made it a priority of his administration. President Clinton infamously said, “I feel your pain.” President Obama has insulated himself from the lives of ordinary Americans and is ignoring the elephant-in-the-room issue that is breaking family budgets across the country. Pain at the pump cuts across racial and demographic lines and even traverses party lines. In fact, this is an issue that has the ability to “Slap the Honey Boo Boos with Truthaganda,” as PJ Media’s Zombie so eloquently suggested here recently. Republicans should be shouting from the rooftops about the gas pump misery index.

Most of all, this issue could sway the all-important undecided voters. Every price sign at every gas station across the country could be viewed as a “Vote Romney” sign if Mitt would focus on this issue and convince voters that he does “feel their pain” and he intends to do something about it on the first day of his presidency.

This could be the issue that puts Romney and his fellow Republicans over the top in important battleground states like Ohio. But it's imperative that they keep the message simple and focused.

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See more of Paula Bolyard's reports from Ohio this election season:

Sherrod Brown Doubles Down on His Godwin’s Law Campaign Strategy

How to Commit Voter Fraud in Ohio

Judge Discards Ohio Military Voting Privileges, Imposes Weekend Voting