I wrote a column in October 2013 that asked, what’s going on in our country? It’s time for an update. What our country does almost anywhere in the world has consequences here at home.
First the good news in education. Locally we have taken a giant step toward creating successful adults. More kids will graduate and be prepared for college or jobs that pay well. They will be able to form and maintain families. The Fairfield-Suisun School District is committed to providing kids with basic skills for a lifetime of success. Kudos to Kris Corey, trustees, administrators and teachers. Parents, too.
The bad education news is that the Common Core national standards continue to bind our schools to unproven and in many cases unworkable curriculum and tests. A number of states have abandoned Common Core but California schools are stuck with it.
More bad news. Many of our citizens still refuse to become involved in politics. Plato (429-347 BC) remarked, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”
Just what are our “inferiors” imposing on us?
The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a rule to allow the agency to garnish wages. No due process. Make up a rule, charge a fine and come take your money. What could they possibly charge you with? This is the same EPA that tried to regulate bovine flatulence by charging fees. With the EPA, anything goes. No one is safe.
Then there are the proposed ordinances in Berkeley and San Francisco that would charge (initially) a 2-cents-per-ounce fee for sugary drinks. It’s a foot in the door. Sugar is the enemy. Hey, wait a minute. there’s more sugar in a candy bar or cupcake or coolie than in a soft drink. Sugar is a carbohydrate. So is flour. When will this madness stop? Never. Unless you get involved.
Probably the worst of all is the arrogance of our federal government. Anything they do anywhere has the potential to affect us locally. They recently fined the Central Bank of France several billion dollars for funding the sale of a ship to the Russians. The transaction was perfectly legal. The result is likely to an increase in the speed with which countries abandon the dollar as the international reserve currency, using the euro or a new currency created by China instead.
Our financial condition can no longer support the claim we are the only economy that can support a reserve currency. The local effects of the dollar ceasing to be the international reserve currency could be devastating. Trillions of dollars of currency now dedicated to the purchase and transfer of commodities will be freed up. Those will exert a heavy pressure on the stability of prices. Interest rates will climb and with it, inflation will accelerate. It will diminish the value of our assets because they will buy less.
Right now the rate of inflation is much higher than the government is telling us. The government’s new formula excludes variable items such a food and fuel. I have seen food and fuel prices double in the past several years. Much of the increase can be traced to the conversion of corn to fuel – ethanol. Brazil has converted much of its sugar to fuel. The effect here is that the price of sugar has increased from 15 cents a pound to 50 cents a pound.
Corn once was the feedstock for poultry and beef. Corn prices have increased so much that farmers are no longer rotating their crops. No more alfalfa. A good friend who raises cattle told me the price of hay has reached $300 a ton. Not delivered. Beef prices will be going through the roof. This is all thanks to our government. The EPA. Politics.
Then, there’s another base realignment exercise in 2017. Scary.
Now that I think of it, I believe Plato was wrong. When we let government do this to us because we refuse to be involved in politics. we have conceded superiority to the politician. We are the ones who are inferior by default.
You vote? No? They’ll get you.
Murray Bass can be reached at 427-0744 or [email protected]