As someone who grew up in Perryville, I like to keep up with what goes on in the area around home, even though I’ve been gone for a while. So, I turn to the Republic Monitor to check up on things every now and then.
When I read the latest article from U.S. Representative Jason Smith (June 23, 2022) of the 8th Congressional District in regard to the “American Rescue Plan” and “Biden’s Inflation”, my jaw dropped a little at what was transmitted in his missive, and I’m sorry, but the “stuff”, in my opinion, started to get really deep, real fast.
And I must say, I’m so tired and exhausted of all the B.S. (apologies, but there really is no other better description…) that comes out of so many of our elected officials’ mouths these days, along with what gets transmitted on Twitter/Facebook accounts, etc., It is altogether disheartening. And unfortunately, there are many politicians, of all stripes, who try to paint complex issues in the most black and white, simplistic terms as possible, but then give things misleading spin along the way.
Representative Smith basically blames rising gas and fuel prices, inflation, etc., on the government’s “American Rescue Plan”. Sigh, unfortunately he doesn’t mention the other relatively large elephants running around the room.
Regarding rising gas and fuel prices, these unfortunately are tied to a global market, and the Federal government, regardless of whether it’s a Republican or Democrat administration, doesn’t have much control over the final prices that normal people pay at the pump. It depends on the global market, where virtually all oil and gas is sold, even that which is produced in the United States.
Russia’s invasion and war in Ukraine has also affected prices at the pump. Restrictions are in place on fuel from Russia to punish it for an illegal action that brings back memories from WWII. This has also caused prices to rise.
The large surge in demand for energy in a world coming back online from pandemic shutdowns also looms large, from factories again ramping up production to resurgent travel demand from people worldwide. All this puts pressure on prices.
If the current administration’s policies were to blame, why has gas and fuel prices risen worldwide and not just in the U.S.? People in Europe, such as Germany or Spain, are paying much more in fuel prices now as well. While they pay much more in taxes per gallon of gas than Americans, prices still have risen significantly. For example, in Spain, the average price of a gallon of gas was around $6.00 in January of 2022. As of this first week of July, it is $8.50. If Rep. Smith was filling up his F-150 (with a 36-gallon tank) in Spain for example, instead of paying $150, he would have to part with $306.
Following his logic, the “American Rescue Plan” and the Biden Administration is affecting the price of gas in Europe and around the globe as well, which just doesn’t hold water. If so, I would imagine that Europeans would be protesting right now against the U.S. administration for the rise in prices. But that isn’t the case.
The Covid pandemic, whether you believe in the virus and its effects or not, has affected everything worldwide over the past couple of years. The pandemic has touched every part of the supply chain, from raw materials production and finished goods production to the transport and logistical aspects of trade. Nothing it seems has been left untouched when it comes to inflation. This has affected the price of everyday goods that Americans buy, whether at the corner store, online, Rozier’s or at Wal-Mart. And again, this just isn’t affecting Americans, it is affecting people across the globe. So again, I ask, how does the “American Rescue Plan” or “Biden’s Inflation” play into a phenomenon that has Europe’ averages inflation rate at 8.8% in comparison to 2.2% from the same time a year ago? I didn’t think that American governmental decisions reached so far across the Atlantic in this aspect. But I guess it must, following the logic of Congressman Smith.
Rising prices at the grocery store also play into the congressman’s narrative. According to him, it’s “Biden’s inflation” that is really hammering Missouri families. He neglects to mention that the costs of fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides for agricultural use have also risen sharply recently, which are products produced mainly from hydrocarbons. As oil and natural gas goes up, so does the price for these agricultural products, which just adds to the overall price of grain, fruit, vegetables, etc. Farmers in the US, and elsewhere, are having to deal with this daily. Russia also happens a large worldwide supplier of fertilizer. Due to sanctions in place as a consequence of its invasion of Ukraine, this also puts a squeeze on prices as supplies shrink and buyers around the globe search for alternative sources.
Also left out of the picture, is the pressure being put on grain prices, which affect practically everything in the food chain. Again, this is something happening worldwide, not just in the United States.
Due to Russia’s war in the Ukraine, major quantities of grain from both countries, such as wheat and barley, will now not make it to market. The winter wheat crop in Ukraine that was expected to be ready for harvest in June will be much less than normal due to the fighting. But again, the question arises as to how to get what will be available out of the country with a war going on. This will have consequences in market prices worldwide. Meteorological conditions in other regions of the world are also impact grain supplies, such as record-breaking heat and drought in March and April in India, drought in the Great Plains, and severe drought in northern Italy, just as examples. Spain will have a reduction of grain production due to an ongoing lack of precipitation as well.
This doesn’t only reflect in the price of bread, pasta, snack cakes, beer, etc. it has ramifications in the prices of eggs, beef, pork, chicken, dairy products and more due to the grain that is fed to keep all the livestock alive. When the price of grain that the farmers use to keep their livestock producing goes up, the price rises for the rest of us as well. All of these seeming unrelated threads come together to affect prices.
So, while injecting a large amount of money into the economy under the “American Rescue Plan” will have contributed to some of the severe inflation the country is currently experiencing, leaving out other major contributing factors in the overall inflation rate is disingenuous, misleading and overall inaccurate, and does not contribute to finding ways to soften the impacts faced by many in the community.
Congressman Smith seems to cherry pick his overall narrative and then dumb it down sufficiently to correspond with his political aims. Unfortunately, complex issues such as this are not easily classified in black and white, but many shades of gray. In my opinion, the congressman trying to boil down a complex subject in a way that misdirects and misleads the intended audience is a gross disservice to the voters and constituents of the district which he is supposed to serve and represent.
And a suggestion regarding his F-150. Perhaps he should consider the new Ford F-150 Lightening. From what I’ve heard and read, it’s supposed to be really sweet.
Formerly of Perryville, MO
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