We’re writing today during the Memorial Day weekend that will be a quickly fading memory by the time you read this. Official holidays don’t mean much in our household anymore. It’s not that the events they honor have lost their meaning; far from it. Rather, the events of the last few years have led us to a place where every single day is an opportunity to reflect, to honor those who have gone on before us, and to thank God for abundant blessings.
I submit to you that a daily dose of gratitude is a more fitting tribute to those who have died in the service of this country than an excess of barbecue and beer bracketed by traffic jams. Nevertheless, we are grateful for a few days off from work for the 6 out of 10 Americans who do still work. Anyone who does is likely to be overworked in this economy, trying to make ends meet and carrying an extra load for the 40% who, for one reason or another, consume without producing.
There is irony in a “memorial” day for a culture with memory hobbled by addiction to pixels. We struggle to remember the unprecedented world changing breaking news from three days ago, so it’s likely that few will remember that we have been discussing inflation for many moons. For a long time there wasn’t much interest in the topic, and we sometimes wondered, like Johnny Carson used to say, “Is this microphone on?”
We didn’t notice inflation, like the old myth about boiling frogs, when the water was only lukewarm, though the flames on the stove were already high. The cereal boxes were thinner, but they looked the same up front, and the price was only a few dimes higher. We wrote off the extra air in the potato chip bags as “settling.” Gas was less than half what it is now, and the stock market was booming.
Today the water is scalding hot, and the issue of inflation is currently at the top of the list in another election year. That, my friends, is what brings us to the table to write today, admittedly a bit frustrated, because there are no solutions to be found in the Coke versus Pepsi political choices we continue to make. As we prepare to do the same thing we’ve done over and over expecting different results, we wonder if the old definition of insanity applies.
To borrow from Jeff Foxworthy, if you’re looking forward to the upcoming General Election as a means of solving some of the problems of this difficult economy, you might be insane. Just consider some of the recent suggestions by the haute monde for dealing with our problems. When people finally stopped believing that inflation was “transitory,” MSNBC told us that inflation is a good thing. When inflation hit 20 year highs last Thanksgiving, the St. Louis Fed suggested we eat soy based Thanksgiving dinner instead of turkey, and it has twice the protein.
Bloomberg stepped in to help all the folks finding it hard to afford their pandemic pets with, “If you’re one of the many Americans who became a new pet owner during the pandemic, you might want to rethink those costly pet medical needs.”
As a solution to record high gas prices, Pete Buttigieg suggested we all just buy an electric car and “never have to worry about gas prices again.” (The average price of an EV is $55,000.)
As the cost of housing has gone through the roof, myriad stories have appeared promoting living in pods or moving back in with your parents as an “eco-friendly” solution.
The Guardian tells us that ” “if we want to save the planet, the future of food is insects,” but The Economist warns, “We’re not going to convince Europeans and Americans to go out in big numbers and start eating insects… The trick might be to slip them into the food chain on the quiet.”
Bread…well, bugs and circuses. Bread might be too expensive but the circuses are abundant. Meanwhile, the amount of money conjured to be sent to Ukraine already exceeds the military budget of Russia for a year, and approaches the GDP of Ukraine. Unfortunately for anyone who likes to eat, the inflation conjured by the Fed is being magnified in the real world by the destruction of agriculture in Ukraine, which also happens to supply 12% of the calories consumed by the planet.
Yet somehow, and almost right on cue, so, so many of us will go to the polls in November to vote for or against gun control and abortion and the same divisive emotional issues we voted for and against in the last election. Politics will have pushed inflation, which affects everyone, into the background again to be replaced by the issues that affect only partisans. Surely at some point between the recliner and the ballot box it must be necessary to suspend all reason and disregard all memory in the persistent hope that somehow, just the right government will solve all our problems. Just as surely, we’re in God’s hands, but sadly, when it comes to government solutions, we’re on our own.