Inflation and Putin’s War on Ukraine

Christine Lagarde, European Central Bank President, said she plans on raising interest rates only gradually, while acknowledging that the EU’s inflation problem was steadily getting worse.

Speaking at the ECB’s annual economic policy conference in Portugal on Tuesday, Ms Lagarde said Europe’s inflation problem was deepening, but warned that the region also faced weaker growth prospects related to the war in Ukraine.

And

The ECB’s gradualism, as Ms Lagarde described its approach, reflects the larger economic blow that the war in Ukraine has dealt to Europe….

President Joe Biden (D) also (in)famously blames Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine for the high inflation in the US.

Federal Abortion Clinics

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D, NY) has is pushing an idea from the Progressive-Democratic Party center:

We have some ideas coming from Senator Warren’s signed letter along with 25 other Democratic senators asking President Biden to explore opening health care clinics on federal lands in red states in order to help people access the health care and abortion. Services that they need.

…explore just how much we can start using federal lands as a way to protect people who need access to abortions in all the states that either have banned abortions or are clearly on the threshold of doing so.

Oil Price Caps

The G-7 is floating a new sanction against Russia in response to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. That sanction centers on capping the price nations would pay for Russian oil.

The Group of Seven leaders are expected to agree to start work on a mechanism to cap the purchase price of Russian oil….
Leaders will direct relevant ministers in their countries to work on the details of Russian oil caps, which would create a buyers’ cartel of Western nations and their allies, the official said.

No, He’s Not

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm—who thinks it’s laugh out loud hilarious that the Biden administration could impact the cost of energy to us Americans—made the patently erroneous claim that President Joe Biden (D) is doing everything he can to reduce [gasoline] prices for American families.

Oil is a global market, and so Biden is helpless alone?

High school economics: increase the supply of something relative to demand for it, and prices for that something come down. Conversely, reducing supply relative to demand drives up the price.

Germany’s Energy “Crisis”

The Russian “slowdown” of natural gas deliveries to Germany is beginning to convince the German government that they’re overly dependent on Putin’s whims for the nation’s energy.

Minister of the Economy Robert Habeck:

The reduction in gas supplies is an economic attack on us by [Russian President Vladimir Putin]. We will defend ourselves against this. But our country is going to have to go down a stony path now.

That stony path includes what, exactly? Habeck again:

The prices are already high, and we need to be prepared for further increases. This will affect industrial production and become a big burden for many producers.

The Fed and Equity

And, no, I’m not writing about house ownership type equity. This concerns the Fed’s potentially increasing role in “social equity.”

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board expressed concern about Progressive-Democrats trying to legislate into the Federal Reserve’s mandates the matter of “racial equity.” They’re correct as far as they went, but they based their concern on the Fed’s existing workload and on the question of how to assess “racial equity” in the Fed’s pronouncements and enforce the concept in its controls.

The Editors, though, missed the most important distinction and problem.

Airbus Thinks It’s Special

Or at least, more important than the existence of a nation.

Airbus is pushing against sanctions on Russian titanium sales, amid a flurry of restrictions on the export of other Russian goods ranging from vodka to steel.

After all,

About 65% of Airbus’s titanium supply comes from Russia, according to consulting firm AlixPartners.

Of course, Russia should be let off the hook regarding its naked and barbaric invasion of Ukraine, and Ukraine should be made to pay with its existence for Airbus’ consciously developed business decisions. Airbus Chief Executive Guillaume Faury:

American Computer Chip Dependency

Graham Allison, Douglas Dillon Professor of Government at Harvard University’s John F Kennedy School of Government, and Eric Schmidt, ex-Google CEO and ex-Executive Chairman of Google and its successor, Alphabet Inc, in a Monday Wall Street Journal op-ed, expressed considerable concern over the US’ growing dependency on other nations for computer chips that are critical to our economy (and to our national security, I add). They proposed three steps to alleviate this dependency.

  • double down on [US’] strength in the manufacturing of less-advanced semiconductors

Pulling Patriotic Products

Harris Teeter, a supermarket chain, used to sell, among other things, products that were distinctly pro-American—things with slogans like “Give me liberty or give me death” and “America, love it or leave it.”

Then a customer complained about their presence on store shelves—they were insensitive, after all, in light of recent mass shootings. Apparently, being pro-American, being patriotic, is insensitive today. Never mind that slogans like these have been around for decades and all the way back to the runup to our Revolutionary War.

Harris Teeter promptly folded.

It’s a Weapon that should only Work Once

Vladimir Putin is extending his murderously physical war on Ukraine into an economic war against Ukraine’s European nation supporters.

Russia’s state-owned gas giant Gazprom PJSC throttled deliveries via the Nord Stream pipeline to Germany this week….

And

Russian natural gas deliveries through a key pipeline to Europe will drop by around 40% this year, state-controlled energy giant Gazprom said Tuesday….

And

Slovakia’s state-owned gas importer SPP said it expected Thursday’s Russian gas deliveries to be reduced by about 30%, while Czech power utility CEZ said it had seen a similar fall….

And