Wednesday, October 13, 2021

CoViD-19 Was 2nd Leading Cause of Death in September | Messaging About The Messaging | Biden Addresses Bottlenecks (Christmas Is Still Canceled) | US Moves On Offshore Wind |


Ficus and Kiwi on the old couch and heating pads (Taken 9.23.2019)

Economics was never a subject that interested me. I tend to be more of an ostrich when it comes to money issues. Which is weird, because my dad was a finance guy with the VA for a majority of his career there, until he moved to Vocational Rehab, helping vets get money for their disabilities, for school, for housing, etc. 

For this reason, the congressional debates about the Build Back Better agenda and reconciliation and the debt ceiling and the pundits who just can't shut up with their garbage hot takes are fascinating and simultaneously infuriating and I'm just trying to read between the lines and understand what it means to me and my family and our community and across the country. The analysts want to find one thing, say a worker shortage, and pin the economy on that one thing. Or take it back further and somehow people think that the extra $600 then $300 in unemployment was a mistake. Poor people with money could suddenly buy what they needed, thereby competing and depriving everyone else for goods on the shelf. In reality, at least in my perception of things, there are factors too many to count. 

Obviously, we're in a GLOBAL pandemic. And while we in San Diego now have 80% of eligible people vaccinated, that isn't so in the rest of the country and the rest of the world. I've been reading about factory shutdowns over the past several months in Vietnam, Taiwan, China, Singapore and others. Then think about the food processing plants in the US - meat production facilities ravaged by COVID among workers, Title 42 stopping the flow of the migrant workers who work in those plants, and not even knowing in the beginning if food could carry the virus. Most recently strikes at Kellogg's, Frito-Lay, and other places because workers have had enough of shitty wages, horrible treatment, all while seeing their CEOs and stockholders making money hand over fist. Throw in the deadly deep freeze last winter, hurricanes, floods, droughts and devastating fires (and that's only talking about the United States) and no wonder things are "bottlenecked". 

So yeah, OPEC has us by the throat and they know it. And the corporations are certainly going to exploit consumer demand, raise prices more than they need to and keep them up because they can. And we're all eating at home and food prices are up, trucking costs more, wages are up, gas is up. 

But in all the news stories I've read, I'.ve not once seen or heard anyone say that we need to curb demand. Do you really need a new TV on Black Friday? Can your phone last a few more months or be repaired or acquire a refurbished one instead of needing a new one? Is your crafting so necessary that you need to buy styrofoam pumpkins and gourds at Michael's? I'm not talking to people in real need. I'm talking to those of us who can reel it in a bit, who have everything we need and if we don't, can be a little more creative in how we source our goods. 

I'm not immune. Earlier this week, my Goodreads account notified me of a new book by my favorite author, Douglas Coupland. In looking it up, turns out he actually has a few books I wasn't aware of. I had a credit, made the Amazon order for two of the books and they arrived in separate boxes (though thankfully from the same driver at the same time). But I still felt like a dick. I'm trying to be more conscientious about how I spend my money, my family has all been warned that we will not be buying gifts for Christmas, but on top of all that, I will try to be more conscientious of my sticker shock and whining about the cost of things. I'm grateful we had the American Rescue Plan. I'm grateful my job still exists because of grants and PPP and NIVA and SVOG. I'm grateful to have a roof over my head, a car to drive when I need but a lifestyle that means I almost never do. To be honest, besides the early days of toilet paper shortages, I haven't really felt too impacted except for the pet food shortages, so we just try to order long in advance of running out. Plan ahead. Focus on your priorities. Skip the junk. 

I still think we're gonna have to skip a tree this year, but somehow we always find a way.   

Stay safe out there. 

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