The increase in energy prices is beginning to resemble the rise in 2008. But this time, the American economy may be better prepared for higher fuel costs.
Gasoline prices have risen by nearly a third in the last year, and oil costs more than $100 a barrel for the first time in more than two years, driven by fears of extended Middle East supply disruptions and increased demand from an improving global economy.
While the latest surge in energy prices is likely to cause some pain and slow the recovery from the recession, economists say the spike is unlikely to derail the rebound unless prices rise a lot further.
A New York Times article by Nick Bunkley on Friday targeted for print on Saturday about the status of contract talks between Ford Motor Company and the United Auto Workers piqued my interest in a previously neglected but important matter.
Ford and the UAW are apparently close to an agreement. In describing what Ford workers are being asked to give up, Bunkley wrote the following (bolds are mine throughout this post):
Ford executives have said the company needs more concessions to keep G.M. and Chrysler from having an advantage.
.... The deal that U.A.W. workers at Ford approved in March got rid of cost-of-living pay increases and performance bonuses through 2010 and eliminated the jobs bank program, which allows laid-off workers to continue receiving most of their pay. In addition to those concessions, G.M. and Chrysler workers agreed to work-rule changes and a provision that bars them from striking.
What? From press coverage at the time, you would have thought that unionized GM and Chrysler workers made ginormous, humungous, unprecedented sacrifices to enable their companies to get through bankruptcy and to emerge as lean, mean vehicle-making machines.
The media just won't identify Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's party or his high-powered political connections, now that he is knee-deep in scandals. This March 19 New York Times article is no different. Recently, 14,000 text messages were discovered that indicate he lied under oath in a whistleblower trial to avoid admitting he used his police security detail to cover up an affair with his female chief of staff.
The NYT also didn't mention that, as the son of Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Carolyn Kilpatrick (D-MI), the mayor was a Democratic rising star. He spoke at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, and more importantly, as Vice President of the Conference of the Democratic Mayors, Kilpatrick will be a Barack Obama* [Update: Kilpatrick has not committed to Obama] superdelegate at the 2008 convention. Resigning as mayor could affect his superdelegate status. Considering the tight race, isn't this news?