No inflation? Not buying it

I affectionately call her The Kraken!

During the early part of 2020, when COVID restrictions were in full swing and everything fun had to arrive in an UberEats or Amazon delivery vehicle, I built a pirate ship. A big, frickin’ pirate ship. Like, adult sized, complete with cup holders for your adult beverages. Home Depot had a massive truck drop off all the lumber, and every weekend until the beginning of summer, there I was, building away on the ship. Luckily, as the summer and COVID dragged on, my kids had something to play on while the city shut down all the other playgrounds.

The lumber I purchased was fairly hefty: 4×4 posts, 5/4 decking board, 2×6 framing, and all of it is pressure treated. Recently I went to add a simple enclosure for my garden, and looked at the price for some 4x4s. And man, did they look expensive. Curious, I pulled up my receipts from the pirate ship project. And sure enough….4x4s had nearly doubled in price.

If 4×4 was a stock, it would have beat an awful lot of the market. I also looked at our Walmart receipts, and sure enough, food prices bumped up a bit too. Gas is more expensive as well.

So I’m super skeptical when I get told we have little to no inflation. In real prices, I don’t see it. Everything is more expensive, and a lot more than the 2% you would normally expect. Maybe that makes me dumber than an economist, but I’ll take my actual experience of buying things over some book knowledge that seems to have no place in reality. Given how high these prices really are, I’m worried that inflation is going to skyrocket once people start buying things again in large numbers. If ever there was a time to worry about inflation, now would be that time.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

Mandarin for Mandarins

China ratcheted things up a notch or two in Western Pacific on Friday, with the Taiwan defense ministry reporting that twenty Chinese military aircraft violated Taiwan’s air defense identification zone, including four nuclear-capable bombers and 10 fighter jets. Taiwan sent warnings and no confrontation was reported. This was the largest violation yet by China, which has made a habit of testing Taiwan’s air space.

This comes only hours after China hit the United Kingdom with sanctions in retribution for the UK daring to criticize China’s multitude of human rights depravities in the western province of Xinjiang.

Which comes as China disappears major Western retailers Nike, Adidas, Burberry and H&M in retaliation for the companies refusing to source cotton from Xinjiang, where the local Uighurs are enslaved on cotton farms.

Which comes just days after Chinese diplomats came to Alaska and mocked American strength to American Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s face. Blinken took it, surprising no one.

Meanwhile, China’s military is trying to create biologically enhanced supersoldiers, experimenting with the gene-editing technology known as CRISPR.

So it seems a strange time for the U.S. military to worry about maternity outfits for pilots, weakening competencies for women soldiers, and providing “gender reassignment surgery” for military members. But then, the Biden Administration is making all kinds of strange decisions. The depressingly progressive military leadership seems so concerned about making safe spaces for wokesters they’ve forgotten their duty is to make the United States itself a safe space, and that’s done through actual physical strength and force.

It should be an interesting few years, in no small measure because China itself is facing a steep population decline, which could make its widely predicted global dominance a short-lived thing — and offer a shorter window for reclaiming Taiwan, for instance, than perhaps they previously expected. Seems the one-time one-child policy worked a little too well. Pity.

Well, we had an American Century. How bad could a Chinese Decade be?

Last of the Noemhecians

One of my favorite shows as a kid was the British 8 part mini series of James Fenimore Cooper’s classic tale The Last of the Mohicans which was shown on WGBH channel 2 as PBS’ Masterpiece Theatre series.

There were many classic moments in the eight part series but one came to mind this week when South Dakota governor Kristi Noem did an abrupt about face on a bill to protect women in women’s sports.

In episode 2 Hawkeye and the Mohegans having recused Major Heyward’s party consisting of the daughters of Col Munro, his batsman and a traveling Psalmist are hiding in a cave bedding down for the night. Heyward is venting to concerning the mistake he made in trusting Magua the Huron to a listening Hawkeye and suggests to him that his is foolish to trust the Mohegans Chingachgook and his son Uncas. This leads to this speech by Hawkeye that has always stuck with me. (emphasis mine)

Hawkeye: I’ve known Chingachgook since we were both young. I knew Uncas’ mother. I’ve known Uncas since the day he was born. Major Hayward I do not know you! If we had to fight back to back, it’s possible that you might run. Oh I don’t think you would, but you might. I’ve fought back to back with these Mohegans and they didn’t run!

Last of the Mohegans episode 2 1971

This had been the reason why I had supported Ted Cruz over Donald Trump in 2016. Both were saying all the right things but I had already seen that Ted Cruz wouldn’t run and didn’t know about Trump. Of course we figured out pretty quick that President Trump didn’t run from a fight either and I was happy to support him in 2020.

We still don’t know who the GOP nominee will be in 2024 but it’s imperative that both the nominee for President and Vice President are people who will not run when the left, or the media or the NCAA goes after them.

Kristi Noem has done us a great service just as Nikki Haley did by showing that when the chips were down and if we had to fight back to back, they would run. Noem’s handling of the COVID crisis in her state has been excellent and she deserves credit for it. Haley certainly did a fine job at the UN and she deserves credit for it too and in a different era that might be enough.

We are however now at a point where conservatives and conservatism are literally fighting for our lives and we can’t be looking for someone hoping to get JFK library awards for throwing us off the bus.

It’s just as well we learn this now before we invest time, effort and most importantly money on them.