Getting' It Wholesale
"Live Free or Die!" "Remember The Alamo!" States have mottos. Certain circles in New York City have a motto too. In mine, it was "I Can Get It Wholesale."
Want this year's styles for less? See the "back" man in one of the showrooms on Seventh Avenue. It's the same everywhere. Is the price of olive oil getting out of sight? How about a trip to Tuscany? Can't live without Lobster? Try Maine. Love fresh sweet grapefruit in the morning? Hello sunshine state. You always go to the source.
As our humiliating dependence on oil unfolded, I could be found on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, NY, the only street zoned for gas stations. When I hear today's talk about the price of oil, my memory always returns to that place where I spent a lot of time waiting in the long gas lines during the first "oil crisis".
It was there that I whiled away the hours waiting to get gas for my delivery vans during the odd-day, even-day system of rationing. It was there that I learned that my drivers and delivery boys had to be paid their hours just to get a half tank of gas. And guess what, it was there, not in some think tank or blog, where I learned America had an oil dependency, a monkey on our back that was a threat to our national security.
Because national security was at risk, I naturally assumed our leaders would swiftly mobilize to deal with the problem. After all, when it came to national security, no effort or expense had ever been spared.
The people that say patience is a virtue must own oil because it's been forty-five years since the "oil weapon" was first used against us, two generations of Americans have come and gone, I've gotten old, gray and fat, and I'm still waiting for our nation to answer the bell.
Certainly, the rhetoric has intensified. Even politicians long associated with big oil, who have previously argued that we can "drill our way out" of this problem, are beginning to bang the drum.
The Heritage Foundation now says our oil dependency poses a "dire political threat."
In 2006, Senator Jeff Sessions, noting that we now import sixty percent of our oil warned we import half of that from nations that "are, or soon may be, hostile to U.S. interests". Even the President, once an oilman himself, said in his 2007 State of The Union address: "for too long, our nation has been dependent on oil. America's dependency leaves us more vulnerable to hostile regimes and to terrorists, who could cause huge disruptions of oil shipments.......and do great harm to our economy".
That's strong language, but where have I heard it before? Wasn't that what Mr. Carter was saying when I was sitting in those gas lines on Atlantic Avenue, reading the paper?
David Sandalow, of the Brookings Institution, has recently remarked "seldom in American politics has consensus provided such little action." In other words, although everyone knows the score, our government can't get the bat off its shoulder.