I think it is worth sharing with you news I received about gasoline prices in Cote d'Ivoire. If we think we have it hard here in the United States, we should put ourselves in the shoes of the average worker (those lucky enough to have a job !) in Cote d'Ivoire. In the United States, if we earn $30,000 or $40,000 and have to pay $60 to fill our car's gas tank, we still have a lot of slack and wiggle room to absorb recent price increases. (Cut out the Starbuck's frappocinos each afternoon !)
For the average worker in Abidjan, the nation's largest city and main commercial center, the situation is very different. Until a few days ago, gasoline prices in Cote d'Ivoire had been frozen since 2005. A week or so ago, the government raised gas prices 29% and diesel prices 44%. This was because there is a limit to how much a relatively impoverished government can subsidize fuel costs. With the increase in gasoline and diesel prices, public transportation fares have had to be increased.
Now put yourself in the shoes of the worker who lives in a distant part of the city and who works at the port. He or she has to take a bus. Just to go to work and return home each day now costs about US $80/month. The worker probably earns between US $120 and US $200/month. Would you want pay twice as much for transportation as this leaves you for your family ?
We here in the United States are not the only people having to deal with the consequences of Bush's failed policies. His blunder in taking us to Iraq is hitting the poor of the world even harder than it hits us.