California Mulls Ban On All Gas And Diesel Truck Fleets

California’s Air Resources Board has laid out a plan to ban all diesel-powered trucks that would cause inflationary ripples throughout the entire economy.

The plan would mandate that all new trucks operating around busy railways and ports be zero emission vehicles by 2024 – while all diesel trucks would be phased out by 2035, and eventually, banishing every truck and bus fleet from California roads by 2045, where feasible, according to SFGATE.

The proposed Advance Clean Fleets regulation first targets the busiest trucking areas in the state — around warehouses, sea ports and railways. The board says the pollution in these areas affects communities disproportionately.

“Many California neighborhoods, especially Black and Brown, low-income and vulnerable communities, live, work, play and attend schools adjacent to the ports, railyards, distribution centers, and freight corridors and experience the heaviest truck traffic,” wrote the board, which asserts that this type of pollution creates health risks for those communities.

Representatives from the trucking and construction industries were livid at a recent hearing on the issue – where over 150 public commenters voiced their opinions ranging from the state’s woefully inadequate grid, to a general lack of charging capacity to handle a massive shift to zero-emission vehicles so quickly (whose electricity would in part be generated by coal).

“The infrastructure cannot be established in the timeframe given,” said American Trucking Association representative Mike Tunnell. “Fleets will have to deploy trucks that cannot do the same job as their current trucks.”

Another speaker, construction company CEO Jamie Angus, pointed to logistical issues involved with charging electric vehicles.

“This will do damage to us. We don’t really understand how to charge these vehicles,” he said, adding “Those pieces of equipment go home with those men every day, so they’ll need to be charged from home? How do you compensate that person for that?

On the other side of the fence, environmentalists – including the Sierra Club, argued in favor of an expedited timeline to rid California roads of internal combustion engines as quickly as possible.

Maybe they can also figure out how to solve the massive logistical and economic issues that would surely ensue, as well as what to do with all that lithium when the batteries eventually go bad?

Pain at the pump is back – AGAIN! Americans are warned to brace for highest Thanksgiving gas prices EVER, as millions take to the roads to visit loved ones while inflation remains stubbornly-high

Americans could be facing the highest gas prices ever for the Thanksgiving holiday travel season, as millions prepare to hit the road amid still sky high prices and inflation.

The national average price for a gallon of gas is projected to hit $3.68 next Thursday, November 24 as Americans prepare for the feast.

That number is 30 cents higher than the same time in 2021 and over 20 cents higher than the previous record of $3.44 per gallon in 2012.

However, it doesn’t appear to be stopping holiday travel, with some people making Thanksgiving 2022 the first time they’ve visited relatives since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.

Approximately 20 percent more Americans have plans to travel for the holiday, according to industry analysts GasBuddy.

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While 62 percent of Americans have no plans to ride the roads for turkey day, only 21 percent say that the cause is high gas prices.

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Household debt soars at fastest pace in 15 years as credit card use surges, Fed report says.

Households increased debt during the third quarter at the fastest pace in 15 years due to hefty increases in credit card usage and mortgage balances, the Federal Reserve reported Tuesday.

Total debt jumped by $351 billion for the July-to-September period, the largest nominal quarterly increase since 2007, bringing the collective household IOU in the U.S. to a fresh record $16.5 trillion. That’s an increase of 2.2% from the previous quarter and 8.3% from a year ago.

The increase follows a $310 billion jump in the second quarter and represents a $1.27 trillion annual increase.

Debt has surged over the past year due to inflation running near its highest pace in more than 40 years and amid rising interest rates and strong consumer demand.

The biggest contributors to that debt load came from mortgage balances, which rose $1 trillion from a year ago to $11.7 trillion, and credit card debt, which climbed to $930 billion.

The credit card balance collectively rose more than 15% from the same period in 2021, the largest annual jump in more than 20 years, according to the New York Fed, which released the report. The increase “towers over the last eighteen years of data,” a group of Fed researchers said in a blog post on the central bank site.

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Inflation: Grocery Prices Jumped 12.4% Compared to October Last Year

Inflation in the U.S. eased a bit, up 7.7% year-over-year, however the cost of groceries is up by 12.4% compared to a year ago.

Consumers saw the lowest jump since December of 2021 on a month-to-month basis for groceries, up 0.4%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) October Consumer Price Index (CPI).

BLS economist Steve Reed emphasized to Yahoo Finance this can be seen as a “deceleration in grocery prices, not a decrease.”

Compared to prior months, when Americans saw “virtually everything rising,” Reed said the report showed “more of a mixed bag.”

Foods with the highest price jumps on a monthly basis include eggs (up 10.1%), fats and oils (up 2.1%), lettuce (up 3.3%), and flour and prepared flour mixes (up 2.0), to name a few.

Items that saw a decline month-over-month include fresh fruits (down 2.4%) and fresh vegetables (down 0.5%). The meats, poultry and fish category was down 0.1%, with pork driving that lower, down 0.6%, and poultry, down 1.1%.

In a recent study, Wells Fargo noted that chicken and pork are some of the most economical options this Thanksgiving.

“If you’re looking for protein alternatives, definitely, chicken and pork products are going to be maybe a little bit less expensive than some of the other other proteins out there,” Brad Rubin, Wells Fargo Food and Agribusiness Sector Manager of Specialty Crops, told Yahoo Finance. “If you’re looking for protein alternatives, definitely, chicken and pork products are going to be maybe a little bit less expensive than some of the other other proteins out there,” he said.

While the BLS is not in the business of forecasting, Reed note that looking forward, the “question is whether this sort of downward trend and the 12 month change continues.”

One key aspect to keep an eye, Reed said, is energy, up 1.8% month-over-month and 17.6% year-over-year.

“Energy prices affect the prices of production” he noted. “Especially transport.”

Gasoline prices increasing by 8% from September and 17.5% from a year ago. Meanwhile, natural gas prices were down sharply in October and electricity prices remained mostly flat, increasing by 0.1% from a month prior.

Reed added, “If energy prices moderate, that’ll probably filter into some other goods as well.”

4.5 Million Cash-Strapped Americans Are Turning to Second Jobs Jobs to Supplement Their Incomes — in a 6 Percent Increase From Last Year

More Americans are turning to second jobs as the holidays approach and inflation rates continue to soar, making many pinch pennies.

A new jobs report for October from the Labor Department showed that the percent of Americans working a part-time job on top of their full time job rose six percent from one year ago.

That number equals out to 4.5 million individuals overall.

Additionally, employers added 261,000 new jobs last month. The number is the lowest since December 2020, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Job growth has steadily decreased since this time last year, with just 261,000 added in October 2022

Job growth has steadily decreased since this time last year, with just 261,000 added in October 2022

While inflation is down slightly from a 40-year-high in June of 9.1 percent, the 8.2 percent is still higher than at any point in the previous four decades

While inflation is down slightly from a 40-year-high in June of 9.1 percent, the 8.2 percent is still higher than at any point in the previous four decades

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Observation O’ The Day

So Team Brandon will stop endlessly printing money to reduce inflation? As Milton Friedman has said, “Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon in the sense that it is and can be produced only by a more rapid increase in the quantity of money than in output.”

We technically are in a recession, but Biden and many in the DNC-MSM have been holding off on actually calling it that so that they can wait until there’s a GOP majority to blame. But Biden’s crankery is the mirror image version of what Virginia Postrel dubbed in December of 2008, “Depression Lust, and Depression Porn,” when Obama-worshipping Democratic Party operatives with bylines wanted American to get it good and hard, so that Obama could enter into office as the next FDR conquering the Depression. -Ed Driscoll


Biden slams Republicans ‘rooting for a recession’ after last jobs report before election.

President Joe Biden accused Republicans of “rooting for a recession” in a statement on the final pre-election jobs report.

Friday’s report is the last major economic statistic before Election Day in a race where voters’ financial worries appear to be tilting the balance toward Republicans.

Citing historically low unemployment, a growing economy, and lower gas prices, Biden said the report “shows that our jobs recovery remains strong.”

The White House has downplayed concern of a recession on the horizon despite high inflation, slowing labor force participation, and wage growth year-over-year.

On Friday, Biden said that the “comments by Republican leadership sure seem to indicate they are rooting for a recession.”

“As long as I’m president, I’m not going to accept an argument that the problem is that too many Americans are finding good jobs,” Biden said. The president has attempted to draw a contrast with Republicans as polls indicate that key groups of voters are unhappy with the White House’s handling of the economy.

Yet Biden acknowledged rising prices Friday as the country’s “top economic challenge,” vowing “to do what it takes” to bring these down.

“I know that American families are feeling squeezed,” he said.

In October, the economy added 261,000 jobs, a higher-than-expected number amid the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes. Yet the unemployment rate rose slightly to 3.7%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed on Friday.

The figures are expected to be closely scrutinized as voters head to the polls next week and Democrats attempt to defend their congressional majorities after two years in office.

U.S. Media Awakens to Nation’s Looming Diesel Fuel Crisis
Wait until the press discovers the root cause of the shortage is rabid fossil-fuel hate based on Franken-science it peddles.

Last May, I noted that diesel fuel, which powers many essential supply vehicles (e.g., trucks, boats, and trains) and farm equipment, was in disturbingly short supply.

Now, the “professional” American media is finally awakening to the fact there is a severe diesel fuel crisis looming, which will have a devastating impact on the nation’s economy.

Diesel stockpiles in the U.S. are reportedly at their lowest point since 2008, with only enough fuel for a 25-day supply, according to a recent report from Bloomberg. Demand is also said to be at its highest point since 2007, creating a dangerous supply/demand combination that’s causing spikes in pricing. The Biden administration called the nationwide diesel supply “unacceptably low” and is looking at all options to build up the national supply to help reduce prices.

According to U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the average price of diesel is at $5.34 per gallon. That’s an increase of $1.67 per gallon, compared to this time last year. The area getting hit the hardest is New England, where people burn diesel fuel for heat more than anywhere else in the country.

There, stockpiles of diesel fuel are a third of what they normally are at this time of the year. However, the highest cost of diesel fuel is in California, where the average cost is almost $6.50 per gallon, an increase of almost $2.00 per gallon over this time last year.

It’s also a massive price increase over the average cost of gasoline in the U.S. According to the EIA, the average price of gasoline in the U.S. is $3.87 per gallon, with the most expensive region also being California, at $5.84 per gallon.

I must point out that the “25-day” supply is only if no new diesel is pumped, and that won’t be the case. However, shortages and steep price increases will strain the economy, and Americans will have to choose between essential quality-of-life products in ways they have not seen since the 1970s stagflation.

Four reasons have been identified for the current low levels of supply. The first two involve distillates at low levels, and now the refineries that produce them are doing maintenance.

The following two are longer-term problems:

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But the economy is ‘Strong as hell™

Biden Suggests People Struggling to Afford Groceries Can Buy Generic-Brand Food to Save Money

President Joe Biden this week suggested that Americans struggling to afford basic necessities like groceries can switch to off-brand products in order to save money amid record inflation.

The president made the assertion during an interview with Nexstar’s Reshad Hudson on Thursday. Asked by Hudson “what [the White House’s] message” is on sky-high prices on consumer goods including food, Biden said “the price of beef, eggs, etc” is not the “main driver” of food prices, although those goods “are up,” he admitted.

“It’s packaged goods, packaged goods,” he argued. “You’re going to see people not buying Kellogg’s Raisin Bran, you’re going to see them buying other Raisin Bran, which is going to be a dollar cheaper.”

Data indicate that basic goods such as eggs and beef have spiked considerably during the first half of Biden’s term. Figures from the St. Louis Fed show the average price of a dozen eggs in U.S. cities has gone from $1.42 when Biden took office to just under $3 last month.

Beef by the same metric has also increased significantly, with ground beef up just under a dollar per pound since January of 2021.

Americans’ Savings Rate Plunges Near Record Lows as Inflation Overwhelms Income Growth

Americans’ personal incomes and spending were expected to increase MoM in September (on a nominal basis) and they did with spending rising more than expected (+0.6% MoM vs +0.5% exp)

Source: Bloomberg

On a YoY notional basis, spending continues to outpace income growth significantly, but both are slowing…

Source: Bloomberg

On the income side, private worker wage growth is slowing rapidly:

  • Private wages up 8.1% in Sept, down from 8.5% in Aug and the lowest since March 21
  • Govt wages up 4.2%, unch from Sept, and the lowest since July

Source: Bloomberg

But, on a real, inflation-adjusted basis, incomes continue to shrink while spending remains marginally higher…

Source: Bloomberg

All of which means the savings rate plunged to multi-decade lows at 3.1%, just shy of the record low 3.0%…

Source: Bloomberg

But, but, but, the economy is “strong as hell”?

I think she’s being generous

The Biden-Harris Plan to Reduce Gas Prices Looks Like a Five Year Old Came Up With It.

Since Saudi Arabia cued us in to President Biden’s attempted quid pro quo, Americans understood that Democrats knew rising gas prices would hurt them in the midterm elections. According to a statement by Saudi Arabia, the Biden administration asked them to ensure OPEC maintained production for a month after the group’s meeting. That time frame coincides neatly with the November 8 elections. OPEC+ voted to cut output despite Team Biden’s pleas. And anyone who thinks it was not a poke in the eye from the Saudis is just not thinking.

Just about a month before Election Day, gas prices started to rise along with the cost of everything else. As the generic ballot started to tilt wildly toward the GOP, the Biden administration had to do something. So they put out a tweet with a graphic:

What will Team Biden do when the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) is empty? The primary value of the SPR is national security. Yet Biden is treating it like a piggy bank to borrow a modicum of goodwill ahead of the election while there is a ground war in Europe and China is eyeing Taiwan. It can only be a short-term solution.

After November 8, the SPR spigot will close, and prices will skyrocket again. As activist and author Michael Shellenberger reported in July,

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‘Massive Fiduciary Breach’: Missouri Pulls $500M Worth of Pension Funds From BlackRock’s Control

Missouri State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick announced on Tuesday that the state’s pension fund is selling all of its assets that are managed by BlackRock, a move that will divest up to $500 million from the asset manager.

The Missouri State Employees’ Retirement System is withdrawing its assets from BlackRock’s control because the state believes that the company is using its control of pension funds to push a “left-wing” agenda, as opposed to making money for its clients, according to a press release.

Missouri joins several other Republican-run states that have also pulled funds from BlackRock for similar reasons.

“We should not allow asset managers such as BlackRock, who have demonstrated that they will prioritize advancing a woke political agenda above the financial interests of their customers, to continue speaking on behalf of the state of Missouri,” Fitzpatrick said in the press release. “It is past time that all investors recognize the massive fiduciary breach that is taking place before our eyes, and do something about it.”

Republican state treasurers in Louisiana, South Carolina, Arkansas, and Utah will divest a total of $1 billion from BlackRock by the end of 2022, according to The Financial Times. The removal of state money from BlackRock’s management comes after 19 Republican attorneys general accused BlackRock of boycotting the fossil fuel industry at the expense of its clients, according to a letter sent to BlackRock CEO Larry Fink.

BlackRock, which manages roughly $8.5 trillion worth of assets, denied such allegations and claimed that it has “hundreds of billions of dollars” invested in energy companies, according to a response letter the company sent. The company also stated that it was fully considering the interests of its investors in relation to its climate-focused investment agenda, as 90% of global governments are committed to phasing out fossil fuels by 2050.

BlackRock is committed to achieving net-zero emissions by no later than 2050, according to its website.

“Fiduciary duty must remain the top priority for investment managers—a duty some of them have abdicated in favor of forcing a left-wing social and political agenda that has failed to succeed legislatively, on publicly traded companies,” Fitzpatrick said.

Large asset managers such as BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street are pushing private companies to adopt environmental, social and corporate governance standards. Republicans have previously claimed that those standards seek to force businesses to promote climate activism as well as diversity, equity and inclusion policies.

BlackRock did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

How Biden is hammering your 401k: Soaring inflation has wiped $2.1 TRILLION – an average of 25% – off American workers’ retirement savings

  • The analysis was done by conservative economists, who said that the balance of Americans’ 401ks will ‘ruin your whole day, week and month’
  • The economists note that inflation has been going at 8 percent for the past seven months, despite the White House claiming things were temporary
  • They argued that over the past 20 months, the average American family has lost nearly $6,000 in ‘purchasing power’ due to the rise in prices over wages
  • The average American’s 401k plans have lost a colossal $34,000 in value – more than 25 percent of where it was a year ago – to a total of $2.1trillion in losses
  • American pension funds have dropped 15 percent, going down from $27.8trillion at the beginning of the year to $24trillion

Inflation has taken an average of 25 percent – at least $2.1trillion – off the 401Ks of American workers, despite President Joe Biden’s insistence Sunday that the ‘economy is strong as hell.’

The analysis was done by conservative economists Stephen Moore and EJ Antoni, who said that the balance of Americans’ 401ks will ‘ruin your whole day, week and month.’

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Gulp: Retail sales flat in September — unadjusted for inflation.

That third-quarter GDP report coming in a couple of weeks looms over the midterms and the Biden administration, and the portents look gloomier and gloomier. Even with gasoline prices descending rapidly in the three-month period, economic activity appears to have declined with them — especially in retail sales.

Today’s monthly report shows a flat September for consumer activity, but that report misses one key element:

Advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for September 2022, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $684.0 billion, virtually unchanged (±0.5 percent)* from the previous month, but 8.2 percent (±0.7 percent) above September 2021. Total sales for the July 2022 through September 2022 period were up 9.2 percent (±0.5 percent) from the same period a year ago. The July 2022 to August 2022 percent change was revised from up 0.3% (±0.5 percent)* to up 0.4 percent (±0.2 percent).

Retail trade sales were down 0.1 percent (±0.4 percent)* from August 2022, but up 7.8 percent (±0.7 percent) above last year. Gasoline stations were up 20.6 percent (±1.6 percent) from September 2021, while Nonstore retailers were up 11.6 percent (±1.1 percent) from last year.

So what’s missing? Inflation, as noted in the emphasis I added to the above excerpt. This report does not adjust for inflation, and so these numbers are not “real” in the sense used by economists. They are only seasonally adjusted, but the figures are nominal.

If year-on-year inflation runs at 8.2% and year-on-year retail sales increased by 8.2%, then it means that real retail sales were stagnant over that period. If CPI inflation went up 0.4% in September, according to yesterday’s report, and retail sales were flat in the same month, then it means that the same amount of money bought less goods and services.  Economic activity declined in September, in other words.

And given the unadjusted results of the other two months in the quarter, this looks like a possibly recessionary result overall:

That doesn’t look good, but there’s one positive note. They see nominal retail sales rising 9.2% in Q3 overall, which is at least above the current rate of inflation. However, CPI inflation in July was 8.5% and it was 8.3% in August. That suggests that the US economy eked out a positive gain in real retail activity, but not by much. If it’s positive, it will be a very weak result in Q3.

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NSSF DENOUNCES USFWS SETTLEMENT PROPOSAL TO BAN TRADITIONAL AMMO THAT SADDLES LAWYER FEES ON TAXPAYERS

NEWTOWN, Conn. — NSSF®, The Firearm Industry Trade Association, denounces a joint motion for a continuance in Center for Biological Diversity v. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (CBD v. USFWS) that seeks to ban the use of traditional lead ammunition and fishing tackle. Both parties filed for a joint motion to stay proceedings until Nov. 2, but that settlement agreement now includes taxpayers paying the bill for legal and court costs. This settlement proposal is a textbook example of the “sue and settle” schemes brought by activist lawyers and agreed to by government bureaucrats to enact policies that cannot survive the lawmaking or rule making process while enriching special-interest groups at taxpayer expense.

“The notion that federal agencies would work hand-in-glove with anti-hunting activists to thwart hunting on National Wildlife Refuges is maddening enough. The proposal that taxpayer dollars will be used to line the pockets of these activist groups should be infuriating to all,” said Lawrence G. Keane, NSSF’s Senior Vice President and General Counsel. “This is an egregious abuse of the courts and adds insult to injury to actual hunter-conservationists that fund and support those that actually fund wildlife conservation.”

The lawsuit seeks to expand the USFWS’s recent ban on the use of traditional ammunition that was finalized without a shred of scientific evidence. Instead, it was predicated on the theoretical possibility of detrimental population effects. It is obvious that wildlife populations are vibrant and healthy, a result of nearly a century’s worth of excise taxes paid for wildlife conservation. The firearm and ammunition industry has paid over $15.3 billion since 1937 – or over $23 billion when adjusted for inflation – that has made the North American Wildlife Conservation Model the envy of the world.

This lawsuit threatens the foundation of that model by banning the use of traditional ammunition without scientific evidence of detrimental population impacts. The plaintiffs, in a scheme the USFWS is going along with, would eliminate the use of traditional lead ammunition and force hunters to use alternative ammunition that is 3-5 times more expensive. That move would result in a rapid decline in hunting and fishing, which would hollow-out the revenue sources for wildlife conservation.

NSSF strongly supports bicameral legislative proposals that would mandate policies on the use of traditional ammunition and fishing tackle be based on sound scientific evidence. U.S. Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.) introduced S. 4940 and U.S. Reps. Rob Wittman (R-Va.) and Bruce Westerman (R-Ark.) introduced H.R. 9088, legislation that would prohibit the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture from prohibiting the use of lead ammunition or tackle on certain Federal land or water under their jurisdiction without scientific evidence of harm to wildlife populations.

BLOOMBERG HOST TO BIDEN ECON. ADVISER: ARE YOU ‘PUTTING THE POLLS BEFORE AMERICA’S ENERGY SECURITY?’
‘You’ve drained the SPR to its lowest level in four decades’

EXCERPT: [which starts at 1:06 in the vid]

FERRO: “You say it’s a prudent use of the asset. Other people are very worried about this. You’ve drained the SPR to its lowest level in four decades. There’s some accusation that you’re using — you’re putting the polls before America’s energy security. Brian, the Saudis themselves said this morning, that the U.S. requested a one month delay to the OPEC+ output. I wonder why that would be? Brian, can you tell me whether you did ask the Saudis for a one month delay to that decision? Are they telling the truth?”
DEESE: “Look, we clearly — we clearly communicated our views to OPEC members that we thought it was short sighted to for them to take the action that they were contemplating and they announced. With respect to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, this was a calibrated decision to address the real issues in the market. We talked to U.S. industry last winter, we identified that there was about a million barrel a day gap between what they were producing this winter and what they said that they could get production to by late this fall. That million barrel gap was what we calibrated to make the decision on the use of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. And people should feel confident that the Strategic Petroleum Reserve continues to be an asset that we can deploy to address our economic and national security needs. That’s always what has dictated the president’s decision making on this and that’s what will dictate his decision making on this going forward.”

Biden administration cooks up a new message for voters upset about soaring prices at the pump.

Joe Biden has made a hash of prices at the pump and has no one to blame but himself.

That hasn’t stopped him from trying, though, and now with midterms on, he’s run out of scapegoats and has come up with a ‘look! squirrel’ message to voters.

According to the Washington Examiner:

A senior Democratic official predicted that, at this point in the year, voters would be able to look at the strength of the labor market and legislative wins brokered by the administration as evidence the country “is moving in the right direction” but similarly worried about GOP ads “flooding the space” on gas.

That’s right: Voters are supposed to cheer up from their high gas prices at the pump because of the great job Biden is doing on the economy, and content themselves with Biden’s ‘legislative wins.’

Sound like a winner for voters come election day?

Don’t bet on it.

Fact is, Biden’s legislative wins are big inflation producers — huge federal spending programs that force the Federal Reserve to print money, stoking the inflation maw the way Athenian youths and maidens were fed to the Minotaur. The latest was the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which was a combo-plate of IRS auditing agents to target small business, and a revamped green new deal. The others were similar pork byproducts to connected cronies.

Sound like a decent consolation prize for all those high prices at the pump?

That’s the plan to cheer voters up enough to vote for Democrats in the coming midterms. Imagine what the rollout will look like.

They must think voters are stupid.

“Bad Luck” and the Evanescence of Imperfection.

One of the few websites I check in on almost every day is RealClearPolitics.

I do so in part because of the range of its links—the editors cull many of the best columns from all sides of the political debate, so it’s a handy way to stay au courant—and in part for its expanding subsections on books, science, religion, defense, and other cultural topics.

Over the past several years, under the rubric RealClearInvestigations, the site has also been publishing its own incisive and independent investigative reporting on a wide range of issues. Those stories tend to be hard hitting and meticulously researched.

Every election season, they scour the polls and sift through the dross in order to supply readers not only with the results of a representative sampling of individual polls—which, as I note in a forthcoming column elsewhere, are often little more than a form of fan fiction—but also with the valuable “RCP average,” a kind of polling gold standard that pundits and prognosticators eagerly anticipate.

Finally, RealClear provides a constantly evolving digest of the news of the day arranged according to a handful of topics and printed in a single column down the left side of its home page.

In just 30 seconds, you can glance at those headlines and come away with a sense of the national mood.

Things on Sunday, Oct. 2, are not too cheery.

Under the rubric “Biden Administration,” for example, we find “Biden Says ‘We Can Afford’ Student Debt Forgiveness After GOP Lawsuit,” and “Fed-Backed Censorship Machine Targeted 20 News Sites,” a story about the Election Integrity Partnership, a consortium of four private companies that, under the aegis of the government, are surveilling, reporting on, and censoring conservative social media sites that publish stories displeasing to the administration.

Then we come to the topic of “U.S. Economy.”

Corporate Number Crunching Games Signal a Deteriorating Economy,” “Meta to Lay Off People for 1st Time,” “Fed’s Preferred Inflation Gauge Shows Price Surge Again Last Month,” and “Dow Ends Month Down Nearly 9%.”

Yikes.

There are other items on that list. None is what you would call upbeat.

This colloquy of gloom reminded me of a famous observation from the writer Robert Heinlein.

“Throughout history,” Heinlein wrote in 1973, “poverty is the normal condition of man.”

“Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded—here and there, now and then—are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people.”

Then comes the kicker: “Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.”

“This,” Heinlein added, “is known as ‘bad luck.’”

Of course, Heinlein was speaking ironically with that last bit.

The issue was not “bad luck” but virtue-fired stupidity.

All those “right-thinking people”—the people with the socially certified ideas, the kinder, gentler, mask-wearing, anti-fossil-fuel types—are on the ramparts, proudly toppling the atavistic instruments of their prosperity.

Very soon now, they will look around at the wreckage their good intentions have wrought and wonder who is to blame for the poverty, the chaos, the ruins that lay strewn where once, not so long ago, a vibrant civilization stood, supported by a mighty economy.

I am of two minds about this.

On the one hand, it’s an illustration of what the great philosopher Michael Oakeshott had in mind when he observed that “The evanescence of imperfection may be said to be the first item of the creed of the Rationalist.”

By “Rationalist,” I should add, Oakeshott meant more or less what we mean when we speak of “Progressives.” All are utopians of one stripe or another. Imperfection offends them. They cannot understand why, since they have identified and castigated it, it still exists.

They conclude, wrongly, that it must be because people are insufficiently enlightened by the progressive creed. Either that, or it must be because of people who perversely reject that creed. So they divide people who disagree with them as either ignorant or evil.

The former must be managed, directed, uplifted. The latter must be destroyed. On the other hand, the situation Heinlein describes is not an unavoidable fate. It isn’t “bad luck.”

Just as our mastery of the techniques of scientific inquiry enables us to make reliable progress in plumbing the secrets of nature, so our understanding of how markets work gives us the tools to manage the economy effectively. If, that is, we heed those lessons.

We have just pumped trillions of dollars into the economy, with the result that inflation is the worst it has been in nearly half a century. Who could not have foreseen that result? (Milton Friedman certainly would have.) 

We have willfully ignored the lessons of the market in order to indulge in all manner of utopian social engineering, with the result that economic growth has stalled and people are scared.

Robert Heinlein issued a useful warning. I wonder whether we will heed it?

This is CNN
(The new owner seems to be a lot less of a political organ for the demoncraps)

Inside the White House’s failed effort to dissuade OPEC from cutting oil production to avoid a ‘total disaster

WashingtonCNN —  The Biden administration launched a full-scale pressure campaign in a last-ditch effort to dissuade Middle Eastern allies from dramatically cutting oil production, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter.

But that effort appears to have failed, following Wednesday’s crucial meeting of OPEC+, the international cartel of oil producers that, as expected, announced a significant cut to output in an effort to raise oil prices. That in turn will likely cause US gasoline prices to rise at a precarious time for the Biden administration, just five weeks before the midterm elections.

On Wednesday morning, OPEC+ oil ministers meeting in Vienna agreed to an even larger production cut than the White House had feared — 2 million barrels per day, beginning in November, according to a readout of the meeting released on Wednesday. The ministers said the cuts were necessary “in light of the uncertainty that surrounds the global economic and oil market outlooks.”

President Joe Biden told CNN’s Arlette Saenz on Wednesday that he was “concerned” about the cuts, which he viewed as “unnecessary.” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters when asked about the move that “when it comes to OPEC, we’ve made clear our views to the OPEC members.”

For the past several days, Biden’s senior-most energy, economic and foreign policy officials were enlisted to lobby their foreign counterparts in Middle Eastern allied countries including Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates to vote against cutting oil production. Wednesday’s production cut amounts to the largest cut since the beginning of the pandemic and could lead to a dramatic spike in oil prices.

Some of the draft talking points circulated by the White House to the Treasury Department on Monday that were obtained by CNN framed the prospect of a production cut as a “total disaster” and warned that it could be taken as a “hostile act.”

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