From the front page of the local paper—A choice: Bread or gasoline?

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The costs finally became too much for Walter Tucker.

Three weeks ago, he swallowed his pride and took a place in the soup kitchen line at Our Lady of Mercy Church on Charleston's East Side so he could extend his already stretched food dollar with a free meal.

Prices are up so much that many people are forced to make a choice, "either a gallon of gas or a loaf of bread," he says.

"It was hard to come to a soup kitchen," Tucker says. "You feel a little hesitant at first, like you may be seen as a bum." But a choice has to be made, he says. "Come in to get something to eat, or don't eat."

Sister Pat Keating, who directs this Sisters of Charity soup kitchen on America Street, says the soup kitchen normally feeds fewer than 100 for lunch at the beginning of the month when people tend to have more money on hand. Now, she says, Our Lady of Mercy often finds 150 or more in the food line.

"They're running out of money because food is expensive. We're seeing people we have not seen before."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchPoverty* Economics, PoliticsEconomy* South Carolina

Posted April 27, 2008 at 8:37 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. SarumMission wrote:

This is what happens when taxes are to high. Gas companies only make 9 cents on the dollar, uncle sam makes 45 cents on the gallon. who is gouging?

April 27, 9:09 pm | [comment link]
2. Cennydd wrote:

OK, then why are oil companies paying their CEOs such exobitant salaries, while people have to make choices like this man did?  Explain THAT!

April 27, 10:28 pm | [comment link]
3. libraryjim wrote:

Not just oil companies, CEOs across the board make mega $$$.  Why pick on oil companies for something almost all corps and companies do?

Besides, it’s a private enterprise, we do not (yet) live in a country where every aspect of life and commerce is under the control of the government.

Further, oil companies do not set the price of oil.  That is set on the stock exchage futures market. IMO, we’d be better off calling for the price of oil to be based on pure market supply and demand / competition.  If OPEC knew that companies could refuse to buy from them and go elsewhere, the price would quickly go down.  Remember a few months ago, when the price first went up to $100 a barrel? The bidder bragged he just wanted to see if he could drive the price up, and once he did, he quickly sold for $98 to bring it down.  It’s all a game to THEM, but deadly serious for us.

Jim Elliott <><

April 27, 10:36 pm | [comment link]
4. SarumMission wrote:

To Cennydd
Its called freemarket. It is ridiculous to say “you make a lot of money there for you must be cheating”. CEO’s make a lot of money because their job is hard. The reason why this dad has to make choices is not because of the CEO its because of the government the Oil company is making 9% of profit on the dollar while the government is making almost half at 45%. If the government would stop gouging and take say 10% not only would the revenue to the government increase because of increased spending but gas prices would drop like a rock in air. Stop blaming the oil companies and put the blame where it really belongs BIG government. As the late great Ronald Reagan once said “Government is not the solution to the problem government is the problem”. Your idea of what CEO’s job is, is not what their job is its very involved and requires late nights and hard work and it involves making important decisions. What 1 man does can ruin not only himself but his employees, his stock holders, and depending on how much of a % his market is in the economy he could do a lot of damage to the economy with just 1 bad mistake.

and if you think our gas prices are high look at Europe.

April 27, 10:59 pm | [comment link]
5. physician without health wrote:

I hope that the market will provide better public transportation, like what is available in Europe, so that folks do not need cars to get around.

April 27, 11:23 pm | [comment link]
6. SarumMission wrote:

Nope not going to happen, government wont stay out of public transportation. And on top of that you have the Unions to contend with so dont expect the price to come down. If we moved to the fair tax the whole thing would be solved.

April 27, 11:32 pm | [comment link]
7. Gone Back to Africa wrote:

Just wondering…does “free market” ever become institutional sin? Or at least aids and abbets it? Of course it seems to be the best econ system we have, but sometimes I wonder.

Libraryjim said

Why pick on oil companies for something almost all corps and companies do?

Maybe that’s because its the topic of this thread. And is it really “picking on”?

April 28, 1:46 am | [comment link]
8. Gone Back to Africa wrote:

My job is hard too, wish I made a whisker of what they make? CEO’s get paid highly not simply because their job is hard, that might be only a small part of the matrix. It also depends on the “free market” for the product called ‘CEO’, (supply and demand for them), and a host of other things. Don’t forget the previous CEO of Home Depot (Robert Nardelli) ‘resigned’ and was given a couple hundred million dollars for his “hard work” and found a job later on as the CEO of the post-Daimler Chrysler. Now that a “hard job”

Don’t forget CEO’s are supported by a myriad of assistants and analysts. While it is not a cake-walk, it is normally not such a Herculean job.

Methinks sometimes we blame the government too much. To be sure, they are a part of the problem, but they sure make an easy target. Defenders of the government (I am not one of them) will probably say that the government provides a lot of other services, not just to one particular sector, but to the whole economy and society. Not trying to defend them, but it is way too simplistic to say (SarumMission #4)

The reason why this dad has to make choices is not because of the CEO its because of the government the Oil company is making 9% of profit on the dollar while the government is making almost half at 45%.

A bit more ‘fleshing out’ of your point might help us to agree with it.

Your point about government’s share of gas is more apt in Europe situation. If you don’t mind my saying so, President’s Reagans’ quip is not as correct as it appears. I think even he would agree with that (else he would be admitting that he is at least a part of the problem).

April 28, 2:41 am | [comment link]
9. Cennydd wrote:

Yes, I DO know what drives the price up at the pump, and I DO know that corporate execs work long hours to accomplish what they need to do. 

I DO know about the law of supply and demand.  I would like someone to explain to me the morality of these people living so high on the hog, while others have to make a choice between buying gasoline so that they can get to work, or buying food for themselves and their families…....and in some cases, not being able to pay their heating bills in the cold winter months.

Where’s the morality in that?  Where’s the justification for it?

April 28, 2:42 pm | [comment link]
10. libraryjim wrote:

It’s called opportunity and the American Dream.  In America, even the poorest immigrant can aspire to become a high-paid executive.  Where’s the morality? Ask J. Paul Getty, who used his fortune as CEO to fund libraries and public projects, as did Astor, Firestone, and many more of the original oil executives.

It may surprise some to find out that in spite of some people loathing the high salaries of CEOs, they often privately and quietly re-invest their salaries into research projects or public service projects (Bill Gates with the “Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation”).

Before you condemn them their salaries, ask what they are doing with that money.

Also, they tend to pay higher percentages of their salaries into taxes than you or I.  97% of the taxes in this country are paid by the top 5% of all wage/income earners, according to the IRS.

April 28, 6:44 pm | [comment link]
11. Cennydd wrote:

Are penthouses on Fifth Avenue worth it?  How about annual trips to Acapulco, Paris,  or the Mediterranean, while most folks are lucky to be able to take a trip to see Aunt Fannie or Uncle Joe across the state? 

Let’s bring costs down so the Little Guy can afford it , too!

April 28, 6:59 pm | [comment link]
12. libraryjim wrote:

Again, who are you to judge their lifestyles?  They can afford it, they can take it.  It IS the American dream.  More power to them.  Remember, it is not money nor leisure that is the root of all evil, it is the LOVE of money.  Again, we do not know what they do with their money (money that they have earned, after all, even if we don’t think they deserve it, someone does or they wouldn’t continue earning it) other than what we see on the surface.

I cannot take trips to Ireland, some of my musician friends can, and do, take ‘working holidays’ to Ireland or Scotland.  Should I insist that they either stop taking those trips or insist that they pay my (and my family’s) way as well?  Socialism is such a dirty concept.  Eventually, they won’t be able to afford to take those trips either.

I don’t have ANY problem with corporations paying their CEOs what they think they are worth.

April 28, 10:00 pm | [comment link]
13. Chris Hathaway wrote:

Let’s remember that Envy ios one of the dealy sins. It eats at the soul and produces nothing good.

If we really only want a practical solution to high gas prices, bitching about oil company profits will accomplish little. Try spreading out their profits made from gasoline over the nation’s use of gas and a pitiful lowering of the price will result. Buit resentment is easy. And blaming certain individuals is comforting because it lets us think that by punishing them, or preventing their evil ways in some fashion, we can fix the problem.

April 29, 9:42 am | [comment link]
14. Cennydd wrote:

Unfortunately, many of those CEOs and the families DO love the money.  As you say, it’s a question of what they do with it.

April 29, 11:05 am | [comment link]
15. libraryjim wrote:

A question we CANNOT answer, as many of these people ‘give in secret’, with anonymous pledges, contributions, etc.

Only God knows their heart.

April 29, 12:50 pm | [comment link]
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