Burt Prelutsky

Please pay close attention because we’re going to be discussing numbers, and I happen to know that most of you are lousy at math.

In 1933, a movie ticket cost a quarter, a hamburger was a dime, and a soda pop was a nickel. Assuming you actually had a dollar in 1933, you could go out on a date for a dollar and come home with change.

In 1936, a gallon of gas cost 25 cents. A year later, my dad bought a new Plymouth sedan for less than $800. In 1946, it was the car he was still driving when our family moved from Chicago to L.A.

In 1949, a 14-oz bottle of ketchup cost 15 cents, and a t-bone steak cost 55 cents-a-pound.

My reason for giving you this brief history in practical economics is to point out that the price of gas has only gone up about 10-fold in 68 years. Compare it to some of those other everyday items. Do you think you could buy a new automobile for $7,800? Buy any t-bones lately for $5.50? Get into any first-run movies for $2.50? You can’t even buy a bag of popcorn for that price. And try spending 40 cents on your first date, and I can guarantee you won’t have a second.

So, why is it that it’s only the price of gasoline that makes so many people go berserk? I believe it’s because the Left has politicized petroleum. We’ve all heard them ranting: “No blood for oil.” They insist that George Bush took America to war because of it. They ignore the fact that the Iraqis now own their own oil, and they ignore, too, the indisputable fact that Bush is clearly pro-Israel, although Israel’s only oil source is olives.

I’ll admit that I can imagine going to war over oil, just as I can well imagine going to war over water. Oil, after all, is as essential to an industrialized nation as water is to the survival of an individual.

It would be nice if we could free ourselves of our dependence on Arab nations and Russia for our energy, but sun power and wind power just won’t cut it. Ironically, the same tree-huggers who resent this dependence also oppose mining for coal, drilling for Alaskan oil, and using nuclear energy. These are the same Neanderthals who rail that Republican Bush doesn’t make a move without first checking with the Saudis, even though the Saudis urged him not to take out Saddam Hussein, but never get around to explaining why Kennedy, Johnson, Carter and Clinton, did nothing to free us of the necessity to go hat-in-hand to the Arabs.