8. High oil prices are disrupting police and emergency services.
In Pickens County, South Carolina police on second and third shift are riding two to a car to save money, taking approximately half the cruisers off the road during prime crime hours. In nearby Greenville County where I live, the police haven’t taken those drastic measures–yet. They are cutting corners in other ways to keep patrols but their budget has already been hit hard by the spike in gas prices.
And that was when gas was just $3.23 a gallon. What happens when it hits $3.75? Or when it reaches $5.00 a gallon?
Urban sprawl and growing suburbs have created a society in which local law enforcement relies on mobility to provide even mediocre service. That goes double for non-police emergency services who need to move quickly carrying hundreds of pounds of equipment. This model of service is challenged by high energy prices, but where’s the media?
It is unlikely that only South Carolina is experiencing these problems, but how many reports have you seen address this reality? Higher gas prices in Los Angeles are limiting well funded charities like the American Red Cross and Meals on Wheels, but even reports on that story say nothing about how those same prices effect police, fire and emergency services.
Garden City, Georgia paid $10,000 a month last year for fuel, and the spike in prices have them taking steps to cut money in other areas. But where is the media on this? Are we to believe that the L.A.P.D. is not as dependent on gas as Meals on Wheels? Are only southern states dealing with tight budgets?
As gas prices increase state and local governments will not be able to provide you with he same amount of protection they do now. That should be a big story, but for most news agencies it isn’t. Why?
7. The alternative currency movement is growing.
Aside from the occasional fluff pieces on local news broadcasts there’s very little discussion of a trend that could have dire consequences for the economy if it gains momentum. The Alternative Currency Movement has been around for a while, but the Federal Reserve’s inflationary actions since the beginning of the financial crisis have given the movement new life:
Clearly this may be a good move for individuals but the parallel economy that this activity creates removes economic activity from the already struggling U.S. economy. How does the government collect taxes on a privately printed currency that represents a promise to do chores, like the “time banking” schemes many alternative currencies use?
If businesses in an area start using alternative currencies for transactions with each other they will keep less money in already “troubled” banks.
I happen to be a fan of alternative currencies because for individuals it protects the wealth they have from currency debasement by the government. However, I’m cognizant of the pressure this movement puts on state and local economies. There will be severe consequences to the alternative currency movement picking up steam, including economic balkanization.
One would think that the media would dig a little deeper into this.
Utah introduced a bill to use gold and silver as a currency which would also create a committee to study switching to an alternative currency. South Carolina is introducing similar legislation. Even if these bills go nowhere, the fact that not just citizens but state lawmakers have lost confidence in a unified American currency should be a bigger story than it is – because it has dire implications for our country going forward.