In a Nutshell: Build Back Toward Bankruptcy

December 2021

By Ken Herman

Inflation has emerged as a huge problem for America amid supply-chain bottlenecks plus excessive government spending and government restrictions. Gasoline prices are at seven-year highs. While the White House blames OPEC for this surge, it was caused by Biden’s administration restricting America’s energy production capacity. Why blame the cartel?

Instead of allowing Americans to continue producing oil and gas as they had been doing before Biden took office, he announced a release of oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Some are referring to that U.S. emergency stockpile as the Strategic Political Reserve for any president under pressure to tamp down energy prices. Before you assume Biden’s action might create significant price relief, consider that we consume approximately 20 million barrels per day, so the 50 million barrels authorized to go on the market will not fix the pricing problem he created.

Trying to support Biden, the Wall Street Journal commented that shortages can quickly turn into gluts, citing last spring’s lumber shortage as an example. It added that a combination of strong demand, high prices, and bottlenecks often mean too much investment in production that causes prices to tumble when bottlenecks finally ease. But how could that happen for energy supplies unless restrictions that Biden administration has placed on oil and gas production are not first reversed?

In a “here we go again” move, the newly discovered Omicron coronavirus variant has the world on edge, with a lot of questions surrounding its infectiousness, ability to cause serious disease and to what degree it’s able to evade the immune response from previous infection or vaccination. The strain first identified in South Africa was dubbed a “variant of concern” last week by the World Health Organization, sparking fresh worries it could prolong the nearly two-year COVID-19 pandemic. While only a handful of cases of this variant have been identified in the U.S., the CDC is “continuously monitoring” the situation and many say it is only a matter of time before it spreads here.

The Omicron variant has about 50 mutations, more than 30 of these are on the spike protein that allows the virus to bind to human cells. The receptor-binding domain—the part of the virus that first makes contact with our cells—also has 10 mutations, which is far greater than just two for the rapidly spreading Delta variant.

The first South African physician to raise the alarm over Omicron has called its symptoms unusual, but mild. For example, none of her patients experienced a loss of taste or smell, considered hallmarks of the disease, but rather showed up with body aches and “feeling so tired,” according to the physician, Angelique Coetzee. Other South African scientists and health officials have also said there were no signs so far that Omicron led to more serious illness.

Americans need to be prepared to do “anything and everything” to fight the Omicron variant, White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci said Sunday, adding that it’s still “too early to say” whether lockdowns or new mandates would be appropriate. More definitive information would become available in about two weeks, though it is important to take note that other “variants of concern”—like South Africa’s Beta and Brazil’s Gamma—did not take off around the world as initially feared. “There are lots of unknowns,” added Sharon Peacock, director of the COVID-19 Genomics U.K. Consortium. “It’s so important to stress how much we DON’T KNOW at the moment about this new variant.”

“I’ve decided we’re going to be cautious,” President Biden told reporters. “We don’t know a lot about the variant except it is a great concern, seems to spread rapidly.”

But how credible is our government concerning this potentially less serious threat?