Whiting column: An excerpt from Biden’s ‘alternative’ State of the Union; what we should have heard
My fellow Americans.
A State of our Union requires focusing on both accomplishments and problems affecting our daily lives. My job is to tell you the truth; it isn’t constructive to ignore or floss over our issues. You deserve the truth, because only by understanding their nature can we work together to solve them.
Obviously, two areas are uppermost in everyone’s mind: Ukraine and inflation. You don’t need reminding inflation approaches 7%; you experience it daily. We were told “don’t be concerned. Gasoline, housing and food prices have a history of fluctuating. Consequently, higher inflation would be transitory, a short-term issue.” But that was wrong. Inflation hasn’t ended, it’s increased, affecting the price of everything.
Fiscal and monetary policy are long-term tools the Fed and Congress can use, but they take months if not years to work. We must take action to help you now and avoid a recession in the future.
Because transportation is all-encompassing, the largest inflationary factor is the 50% increase in gasoline price. It affects everything from groceries to construction materials, airplane tickets to consumer goods. Motivated by valid environmental goals, we made it more difficult and costly to produce oil, stopped the Keystone pipeline and began sending oil to Japan, Mexico and even China. This reduced domestic supply. Consequently, we had to import oil from Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq at their dictated increased price. Importing requires additional transportation, further increasing price. Reducing production was a mistake.
We have the reserves and capacity to domestically produce 100% of our oil needs, subsequently increasing supply at a lower cost and lowering price. We have released oil from our Strategic Reserves, but that is short-term effectually limited.
Obviously, we want to decrease our use of fossil fuels, but right now, the inflationary damage of doing so when demand is stagnant or increasing is negatively affecting you and the economy. As a result, I will direct the government to facilitate our return to full production and transportation of such. Returning to oil independence has valid environmental consequences, but it will provide time for electric transportation to become more affordable. As this decreases demand, pipelines and refineries will shut down on their own and we can reduce production without inflationary issues.
The Ukrainian situation is equally difficult. We, along with NATO and freedom loving countries, condemn this unjustified attempt to subservient an independent democracy. But condemnation hasn’t deterred Putin from his imperialistic goal. You are aware of the economic and banking sanctions the free world imposed that have already created difficulties in Putin’s world.
You may ask “what is Putin’s motive and why is he willing to destroy the country and kill many of its 40 million citizens?” He doesn’t care about the infrastructure or the people; he wants their resources. Ukraine contains Europe’s largest reserves of uranium, titanium, manganese, iron and mercury, natural gas, and oil.
More important to Putin is their arable land. Russia doesn’t produce sufficient food to feed its citizens. They buy corn, wheat, produce and protein from us and other countries. Ukraine is the world’s third, fourth, fifth and sixth largest exporter of corn, potatoes, wheat, chickens/eggs, respectively. Ukraine’s food production can feed 600 million people. Putin doesn’t want to continue to pay for Ukraine’s resources and food. He wants to control their use and sale, transferring the revenue to Russia.
The only way we can stop this elimination of a democratic country without boots on the ground is to facilitate the continued resolve of its citizens with humanitarian and military aid. We must escalate economic sanctions to the point it makes the life of everyday Russians such that they and others in the government force Putin’s withdrawal.
We must enlarge these sanctions. In that regard, I will act by signing an executive order requiring all U.S. pension funds to divest themselves of Russian investments. I would encourage all businesses to do likewise. If it doesn’t occur voluntarily, I will act. We will immediately cease importing Russian oil replaced by purchases from Canada until our own production increases.
If we value democracy, we have the responsibility to protect it throughout the world. Not doing so would be hypocritical. These strategies will require economic sacrifice, but we must be willing. Only together can the free countries of the world role model the desirability and protect the values of democracy.
It’s the President’s job to lead by action. Thirty-four years ago, a President went to Berlin and said “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” In that regard, I will be leaving tomorrow for Moscow, where I will meet Mr. Putin and tell him to “let Ukraine go.” If he refuses to see me, I will stand in front of the Kremlin and say the same to the world.
You don’t need to be told Congress isn’t functioning. We have been more concerned about our respective partisanships than we are about you, the American citizen, going to work each day to pay their bills and raise their family. That must change. We aren’t getting the work done our citizens need, nor are we role modeling to our children the behavior we would desire they demonstrate both now and in adulthood.
We are, at this moment, in our support of Ukraine, more unified as a country than we have been in years. We are putting our personal and political agendas aside to solve a common problem. All our issues are common problems. If we resolve to work unified as we have with Ukraine, we can solve them. We have the personal responsibility to do so.
Bryan Whiting feels most of our issues are best solved by personal responsibility and an understanding of non-partisan economics rather than government intervention. Comments and column suggestions to: email@example.com.
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