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The Blunderbuss - Changing the Subject

The Blunderbuss
October 15, 2021

Hot Shot ...
Poet Helen Hunt Jackson’s poem “October’s Bright Blue Weather,” perfectly describes this month. Cobalt blue skies, changing leaves, and warm daytime temperatures followed by crisp nights. But the glorious weather won’t last forever. By Sunday, weather forecasts call for lows in the mid-forties. Winter is coming.
As Virginians do every year around this time, they’ll soon be turning on their heating systems. But this fall, they may want to hold off a bit and instead throw a couple of extra blankets on the bed.
Energy costs and shortages are skyrocketing worldwide. On Wednesday, the U.S. government announced it expects oil and propane costs to jump as much as 54% over last winter’s prices.  Americans who use natural gas for a heating source can expect to pay about 30% more than last year. Gasoline prices are up more than a dollar from 2020.
“We are closely monitoring the cost of oil and the cost of gas Americans are paying at the pump,” a White House official said in a comment. “And we are using every tool at our disposal to address anti-competitive practices in U.S. and global energy markets to ensure reliable and stable energy markets.”
While perhaps not every tool. Less than a year ago, the United States was a net exporter of oil and natural gas. Anxious to placate U.S. climate activists, President Biden seems satisfied with shutting down pipelines and reducing American energy production even as he asks OPEC and other oil producers to step up production.
The rising cost of energy is just another obstacle for Americans who are struggling to address soaring food costs that seem to double overnight. Economists say inflation has reached its highest level since the global crisis of 2008. That may be — but what’s going on is even more reminiscent of the 1979 energy crisis and President Jimmy Carter’s “Malaise Speech,” in which he told Americans to “take no unnecessary trips, use carpools or public transportation whenever you can, park your car one extra day per week, obey the speed limit, and set your thermostats to save fuel.”
Speaking of Carter’s energy policies, while you’re shopping for those extra blankets to fend off the cold, you may want to pick up a few sweater vests while you’re at it.
— Robin Beres, editor
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