(Weather Hobbyist)
Thu Sep 01 2005 10:47 PM
Re: You are not alone

A few thoughts:

1. I was very angry for a while, not so much at the lack of offers for assistance but more so at remarks like that from the German Environment Minister suggesting that if only the US had signed the Kyoto Treaty, Katrina wouldn't have happened. It seemed that political differences such as that over Kyoto (and that elephant in the living room: Iraq) were getting in the way of good sense, science and, most important, compassion for an old ally.

2. I have been spending a good deal of time since the storm reading as much of the foreign press as I could comprehend, since I speak only English and very bad French, because like many Americans, I CARE what you guys think about us and, I must say, it made me sad.

3. There were national news stories here about the floods although they tended to focus on "human interest" angles like an ancient brewery put at risk by Danube flooding.

4. Converning the price of gas, what I think is most important is not the absolute price but the rate and magnitude of increase. US gas has close to doubled in price over the last year. Imagine if Europe's $6 gas was $12 gas a year from now and how that would impact average people. That is what Americans are seeing. Also, Europe's gas is so much more expensive because European governments have chosen to tax it heavily. Most of what you pay is taxes. That is a political decision. I personally think our government here should have done something similar back in the 70's, but they didn't--they chose to raise needed revenues by other methods (such as a capital gains tax which most European countries lack).

5. The "American way of life" increasingly is imported FROM the rest of the world and paid for with borrowed money. Quite a few of us understand that that cannot go on forever and I, personally, have for sometime tried to organize my finances to take into account the possibility that it will all come unravelled. But there's really no way to know how long it will be before it does.

Thanks for the support. Believe me, we appreciate it.

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