Reader ‘confused’ about high gas prices

11:41 am | December 7, 2011

Larry Buckles says he’s confused, but he’s really smarter than some of our politicians.

Buckles, who lives in Sandy Bottom, and is nearing his 70th birthday, visited the STAR one morning this week to ask some questions, for which we had no answers, and we aren’t sure there is anyone that can give him truthful answers to his questions.

Buckles had driven to town Tuesday morning to fill his car up with gas. He became really upset when he saw the price of gas had gone up 15 cents overnight — from $3.10 on Monday to $3.25 on Tuesday. “Every time there is a news report that the economy is improving a little, the price of gas goes up. Can you find out why?” he asked.

Buckles continued to elaborate on the state of affairs in Washington. “We have the Republicans and the Democrats. The Democrats work hard at trying to figure out how to get more for people who don’t work. The Republicans work just as hard at trying to cut taxes for the rich and get more money for them. There’s no one up there working for the working man. I say, vote all of them out of office, and let’s elect some new people,” Buckles said.

Buckles, who said he had worked all of his life, retired from the local rayon plant. “I worked there until it closed down,” he said. He worked at the NAR Polymer plant until it closed down, and worked at the Jarl Plant, and at one time was employed at the Magnavox plant.

“When I worked at Jarl, we went on strike. It was a mean strike. We got paid $30 a week to walk the picket line. Some of the fellows said, ‘go down and apply for food stamps.’ I really thought it was a bad idea and wasn’t too keen on the idea. But, I went down and applied and answered all those questions. It wasn’t hard at all. But, they told me ‘You make $30 too much money.’ That was all right. I didn’t go hungry,” Blevins said. “But, I know a person who has received food stamps for 30 years. That don’t seem right,” he added. Buckles was of the opinion food stamps should be a stop-gap measure, not a permanent thing.

He pointed to a cell phone in his pocket. “I’ve got a cell phone. I paid for it, and pay my bill every month. I’m happy to have it. But, did you know that the government provides a cell phone and so many minutes free each month to some people?” he asked.

Another thing Buckles was confused about is the fact that America has more service industry jobs than it does industrial jobs. “I feel sorry for kids growing up today. We had factories to work in. Now, the only jobs out there are jobs like Wal-Mart and fast food places unless you get a college education.” And, of course, college is becoming so expensive that many graduates now have a debt from student loans to pay off once they graduate.

“We’ve shipped our good-paying factory jobs overseas. That’s why we have to have so much government aid,” Buckles reasoned.

“I’m confused. Out government is in a mess. We’re going to be bankrupt unless our leaders in Washington learn how to compromise. The Republicans don’t want to give. The Democrats don’t want to give. Well, each one needs to give some. That’s the only way we are going to solve this mess we’re in. There’s nothing wrong with compromise and cooperating to find solutions,” he said.

Buckles offered one more suggestion. “I think we ought to forget about parties, and let’s vote for lobbyists. After all, that’s who the people we elect represent. They don’t represent us,” he said.

It’s nice to have someone like Larry Buckles pay us a visit from time to time. He’s not as confused as he thinks he is. He’s asking the same questions a lot of other people are scratching their heads about.

As he left he said, “I was mad when I first came in here, but I’ve calmed down some. That gas price increase made me mad.”

Well, Larry, I agree with most of what you said, so I guess that makes me confused, too.

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