The US Energy Department has just released a report detailing how some one third of US households struggle to pay their energy bills. This isn’t as much of a surprise as we might think given that energy policy these past couple of decades has been to make energy more expensive. Without the costs of renewables being thrown onto household bills how many would be so struggling?
The Energy Information Administration said Wednesday nearly a third of households had trouble paying their energy bills. The group says the problem is mainly impacting racial minorities and low-income households with children.
Well, yes, poorer people have more problems affording expensive things, this is how it goes.
At the same time, overall energy-related spending was at its lowest point in more than a decade due to lower fuel and natural gas prices, said the energy administration, a division of the federal Department of Energy.
Ah, no, that’s not quite true. For overall includes industrial uses and they’re not being burdened with those renewables costs in quite the same manner. It’s domestic consumers bearing the brunt.
About one in five households had to reduce or forego food, medicine and other necessities to pay an energy bill, according to the report. “Of the 25 million households that reported forgoing food and medicine to pay energy bills, 7 million faced that decision nearly every month,” the report stated.
However, snark about the costs of going green is all very enjoyable but not entirely the point. For what is really being said is that poor people have limited budgets.
You don’t say?
Being poor actually means having to make tight decisions about where money is spent. Absolutely everyone faces a budget constraint – despite rumours neither Jeff Bezos nor Bill Gates can afford to buy London let alone England – it’s just the poorer you are the tighter those constraints bind. Which is a useful definition of poverty, that one faces tighter budget constraints than others.
So, the news story here is really “Poor people have a hard time.” Well, yes, but isn’t this olds?