Sunday, September 12, 2004

Getting by gets harder in Oregon

The rising costs of eight basic expenses dwarves the increase in median household income, a study finds

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Forget the rising cost of living. It's the cost of just getting by that's stressing many Oregon families at or near the median income.

From 1999 to 2003, bills for eight of the most common expenses increased 27.7 percent in Oregon, while the state's median household income climbed only 2.5 percent.

By the end of 2003, the monthly cost of gasoline, electricity, natural gas, garbage collection, water and sewer service, auto insurance and homeowners' insurance in Oregon consumed an average of $460 out of the state's median monthly family income of roughly $3,500, according to an analysis by The Oregonian.

The whole article is worth reading. As someone whose salary hasn't changed since the Clintonator was in office, I can tell you that:

  • A. Things are spendier

  • B. Times are tougher

We took some actions to help ourselves out including switching to compact fluorescents, putting cheap outlet strips on our low watt, but constant, energy producers like microwave, TV, and stereo. More importantly, we put a fiberglass blanket around our water heater and turned the temperature down as low as we could comfortably stand it. We have a big expense getting rid of our 30 year old furnace, but we will be replacing it with a 90% efficient model which will save money in the long run (and give us a healthy tax break to boot).

There is a book by the Rocky Mountain Institute called Home-made Money that outlines a number of cost-effective ways to save money by becoming more energy efficient. It appears to be out of print, but I have a copy for friends, relatives, and neighbors who want to borrow it for a few days. Luckily, here are two sites at RMI that are almost as informative:

Energy Efficiency: First Things First

Household Energy Efficiency - Home Energy Briefs


Anonymous said...


Haven't you towelhead-hugging bongheads figured out the physics of supply and demand? It's a fact of life that the more people buy something, the cheaper it becomes! After all, look at home computers, DVD players, and Microsoft Windows! They are cheap because everyone is buying them! EVERYONE! If the cost of gasoline and electricity is going up, it's because of all you tree-spiking eco-whackos and your working to get people to stop consuming!

Every time someone buys a hybrid, the cost of gas goes up by a hundredth of a cent per gallon! Every time someone builds an "energy-efficient" house, it makes it that much harder for people obliged to live in conventional homes to make ends meet. Insurance is more expensive? It's because short-sighted morons have been working to make people's lives safer and healthier! Encourage people to use, abuse, and lose, and it's a virtual certainty that our lives will become more affordable.

Who knows? We might end up solving the problems of Social Security, Medicare, and the graying of the population if people would just start showing a healthier vein of greed.

Wait, did I say healthy?

Now put down the bong, get a wash and a haircut, and stop betraying our country!

Anonymous said...

Dick Cavett:

MmmHmm. Well, I'll be the judge of that.

Anonymous said...


Heh heh heh said, "Gets harder"!