At the present time, the fundamental question is whether the petroleum "event" will turn out to be a blessing or a curse for the United States, especially the nations middle class. The increasing price of petroleum, especially if it remains at elevated levels for a prolonged period of time (say 6 months or longer) could have a pronounced negative effect on the Middle Class. These effects can be broken down into three (3) major categories - direct, indirect and subsequential.
There are few groups more reliable than the United States military. One could change all of their mottoes to "Again and again - no questions asked." Those who have served in the military have done so at a solid financial cost. Despite this, the years of the 1950s, 1960s and even into the 1970s were periods with high savings rates, rates that today appear almost unachievable. How did they save so much, seek to enjoy life so fully and raise another generation, the Baby Boomers?
Even with creative financing, accounting techniques and decreased profit margins, the American automobile industry appears unable to sustain itself and has suffered significant losses, especially in recent years. Given these realities, it would seem prudent to rely upon baseball and the one special feature they have enjoyed via compliments of a United States Supreme Court Decision in 1922, namely exemption under the Antitrust Laws, basically Sherman and Clayton Acts.
While it is true that the National Housing Act of 1930 and other acts and organizations sought to both foster and insulate housing from the overall financial marketplaces, such separation is not limitless. No matter how many special authorities, administrative agencies, or segregated financial institutions are created, in order to supply adequate shelter, the financial instrumentation utilized in the housing market is still an integral part of the overall financial marketplace. Ask any American who was born after D Day and they will presume that available and adequately priced shelter is theirs for the asking.
In and during the period 2000 through approximately mid 2008, for many of the nation's "subprime" households to receive loans and for many major financial institutions to loan out available funds at high rates, create "new" mortgage products, sell these newly created products downstream to investors (both institutional and individual investors) at a significant profit, investments banks and commercial banks created an unusual national scenario – subprime mortgages that were packaged and sold into mortgage backed securities
A person does not have to be too old to truly remember the times (mid 1960's and early 1970's) when gas stations gave away trinkets, toys, glasses, tableware and even "Green Stamps" that could be redeemed for valuable "merchandise" when you purchased a few extra gallons of gasoline. How eager the major gasoline companies were to stimulate sales, create demand and obtain their growing share of middle class consumer dollars.
The certainty created by a set price for petroleum should tend to create stability in many other sectors of the economy. Certainty in petroleum pricing should lead to certainty in the industrial sector and to a degree of certainty in the world’s financial sectors, namely less volatility for interest rates and other debt instruments. A higher level of certainty in the financial markets and the petrochemical markets should foster an arena for world growth and stability.