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Sunday, May 11, 2008 ISSUE #500

Food and fuel prices make Will ponder

#500  May 11, 2008

COLUMBUS: With the price of gas and the cost of food, we sure got a lot of people riled up in this country. Throw in a million or so with mortgage problems and they want you to think the world is about to end.

Well, it ain't been so long ago that oil was so cheap you couldn't give it away, wheat was fifteen cents a bushel, and so many farmers were abandoning their land you could buy all you wanted just by paying the back taxes.

Oklahoma Gov. Bill Murray tried to shut down all their oil wells in 1931 till the price went up to a dollar a barrel. Of course Frank Phillips, Harry Sinclair and the other big oil men didn't listen to any governor wanting to raise the price, and they sure won't pay attention to Congress wanting 'em to lower the price today. Just think, if they had listened to him and left the oil in the ground, today they would be selling it for $120 and Oklahoma would be leading the nation in prosperity.

Hardly anybody listens to Congress. Remember a few years ago they wanted to raise gasoline by fifty cents so we would use less? Well, their plan failed, but since then it's gone up more than two dollars, and the only effect, instead of driving less, is we're complaining more.

You would think that paying more for food would be good for a country where two-thirds of us eat way more than we should. But chances are we'll consume the same but complain more as we go to the mall to buy a new summer outfit in the next larger size.

One thing we've learned in the last 75 years: give more money to farmers and they find a way to raise more food; give more to the oil companies and they go find more oil; give more to the government and Lord knows where it'll wind up.

Historic quotes from Will Rogers:

"Frank Phillips, of oil fame, was out the other day; said he was going to Washington. The oil men were going to draw up a code of ethics. Everybody present had to laugh. If he had said the gangsters of America were drawing up a code of ethics, it wouldn't have sounded near as impossible." DT #2164, July 11, 1933

"Another drought (in Oklahoma) looks like it's going to kill off the corn crop. Oats 15 cents a bushel. If food is not cheaper than it ever was then somebody is making money, and it ain't the farmer. The farmer can't abandon the farm. He ain't got enough to move to town on." DT #1553, July 15, 1931.

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