GASOLINE PRICE PERSPECTIVE
At $4.20, gas currently sells for a dime more than it did 14 years ago. Not that June 2008 was typical — or that today’s $4.20 isn’t truly a hardship to millions. But in comparing Biden’s $4.20 to Bush’s $4.10 one should note, first, that fuel efficiency has meaningfully improved in those 14 years, so the cost of driving a mile is lower; second, $4.10 in 2008 was the equivalent of $5.30 today.
(Of course, in some places gas costs way more than average. Especially the premium grade you likely don’t need. But that was true in 2008 as well.)
We all want the cost-per-mile to fall. In the very short term, some of that may have to flow from temporary increases in fossil fuel production. But mainly, it will come from greater fuel efficiency and an accelerating switch to renewables. (Sick as we all are of Zooms, one way to save hours in traffic and gallons of gas — and not even have to put on pants — is to not leave home in the first place.)
Whatever it costs to drive a mile, I think we can take some pride in standing with the Ukrainians against this century’s Stalin.
HUNTER BIDEN PERSPECTIVE
Those who think this should have been a focus of the 2020 election — the Trump children versus the Biden child — are just wrong.
The focus needed to be on the two candidates and the kind of administrations and policies they promised.
Going forward, we need to keep our eye on the ball as well.
Being human, we are easily distracted.
The Oscars slap took up a week of the news cycle. The Benghazi tragedy took up eight (!) Republican-led House and Senate investigations (none ultimately finding any fault with Secretary Clinton).
Yet neither the slap nor Benghazi — nor Hunter — even minutely rises to the level of issues like democracy versus autocracy (freedom hangs in the balance), climate change (that threatens the habitability of our planet), or the 40-year pendulum shift away from the middle class in favor of the rich (that is at the root of so much hardship and legitimate voter frustration).
These are the issues for November, not Hunter Biden (who, unlike Jared et al, plays no role in the Administration).
Stephen Pizzo: “The problem runs much deeper than Russia’s leadership. It extends throughout the Russian genome. Russians, like fundamentalist Christians, seem to feed off a sense of being perennially oppressed and looked down upon. It’s a self-defeating condition that’s held Russia back for a thousand years. An old Russian joke sums this trait up perfectly. The one about the two Russian peasant ladies who lived across the road from each other. One had a cow, sold milk and was therefore (by local standards) rich. The other old lady had no cow and was poorer. A genie appeared and offered the poor lady one wish. Thinking for a moment she answered: ‘Kill my neighbor’s cow.’ That’s a microcosm of how Russians view the West. The EU has cows and is rich and Russia feels humiliated by that. So, rather than adopting the more successful Western systems and standards and laws, they fortify against the West and do anything they can to kill the EUs cow. This is hardly new. It’s a self-defeating paranoia and resentment Russian history (and Russians) have long marinated in. If (when) Putin departs the scene, we will see a replay of what happened in Russia when the Wall came down; a scramble for state assets followed by a scramble for power, followed by a fresh paranoid narrative that the whole mess was caused by ‘outsiders’ out to cancel Russia.”