Like you, I don’t love having to pay higher prices for, well, everything, but as inflation stands at nearly 7% and that eats into all of our pocketbooks, I’m hesitant to break out my pitchfork, at least without knowing a little more about what’s happening or why it’s happening.
It stands to reason that as we’ve all been living through a global pandemic that’s ended millions of lives, many of whom were part of the workforce in their respective countries, or as shutdowns slowed global trade, that’s going to have an impact on all of us over time. Hell, you don’t need a degree in macroeconomics to realize that a two-year pandemic is going to have years-long ramifications on the economy.
And yet, for all the havoc that can cause and for all the political finger-pointing people like to do, there’s one way in which rising inflation has been completely and utterly manufactured.
Here’s the argument: gas prices, which are a big driver of inflation given the role they play not just in filling up our cars but in transporting goods and providing energy across the U.S., are higher largely because Saudi Arabia is intentionally withholding oil production. Now, there’s perhaps plenty of reasons Saudi Arabia would want to make Biden’s term in office hell on Earth. First, they had Trump in their pocket, so naturally a swing back to the Republicans is part of what they’re going for here. But, one of the reasons your gas prices–and everything you buy right now–is so much more expensive is very simply that Biden refuses to meet with Mohammed bin Salman who signed off on the brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. In essence, Biden’s refusal to speak with a murderer who hacked an American to pieces is costing us at the pump.
Of course, you can make the argument that the buck starts and stops with the president who should figure out how to both hold Saudi Arabia accountable for its murderous rampage of a WaPo journalist while also keeping gas prices low, and maybe there’s some truth to that. So, too, the decision by the U.S. to move forward with an arms deal to Saudi Arabia that will result in the murder of Yemeni children doesn’t exactly spell out “human rights defender,” by any means. On some level, the refusal to meet with MBS or recognize him as a legitimate player in the Kingdom seems an odd moral high ground to die on while you’re simultaneously handing murderers more weapons to commit murder.
And yet, I’ll take it. I’ll proudly pay a little more for gas (and everything else) if it means there’s so much as one small sliver of accountability for murdering a journalist. Why? Because if we lose our values to an extra buck here or there, we lose what makes us human and we empower the killers to do more killing which chills reporting and makes the whole world less informed. Is it enough, refusing to talk to MBS? No. And it’s disappointing that we pay the price instead of MBS or his enablers. But, you take what you can get.
It’s important that when these acts of foreign aggression happen, we know exactly where to point the finger, because the powers that be want you pointing it at each other. So long as we’re bickering and arguing with each other–liberal this vs. conservative that–we aren’t laser-focused on the power players who have manipulated us and manufactured these crises to keep us distracted and keep them in power. That’s not to say we don’t have important things to disagree about, but let’s make sure our disagreements are at least informed. In this case, there’s a clear enemy of the state and his name is Mohammed bin Salman, and no matter how much you may hate paying more for everything and no matter how much you may blame Biden and the Democrats, the evil, murderous bastard behind it all is the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. So, let’s at least start there for once and at least be on the same page about how we feel about murderers who are trying to tear our country apart.