Sunday, December 26, 2021


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     2021 ends this week.  It has been quite a year.  425,000 American deaths were attributed to COVID-19, up 40,000 over 2020.   The retail gasoline price in America is over $1.00 more per gallon than it was on January 1, 2021.  Gas is higher than it has been since 2014.  Food prices have risen more this year than they did in the past decade.  Beef, pork, and chicken prices are respectively 26.2%, 19.2%, and 14.8% higher this year than last.  The Food Price Index, which tracks global prices of agriculture commodities used in making food, rose 30% in the past year.  The annual inflation rate in the U.S. rose +6.3% in 2021, the highest in 30 years. 

     For 35 years, retail chain Dollar Tree sold toys, home furnishings, kitchenware, holiday decorations, party supplies, books, food, and lots of other items for $1.  But starting later this week, Dollar Tree will move to the $1.25 price point.  Because of inflation, increases in cost of goods, labor, and freight, they can’t remain profitable selling stuff for a buck.  So it’s now TEN bits!  Many Americans don’t understand inflation, but Dollar Tree’s move will very graphically illustrate to them how economics work. 

     In three weeks, President Biden will mark his first year in office.  Did the POTUS’s policies create the economic turmoil? Was is the pandemic or something else?  Two observations:

     First, Biden’s attack on the oil/gas industry did not immediately impact the price of gas.  Clearly his administration’s energy policy is anti-fossil fuel, but his shut down of the Keystone pipeline didn’t result in instant price increases.  His suspension of new oil and gas leasing and drilling permits for federal land did impact domestic production, which certainly didn’t help, but Biden deserves neither credit or blame for the current price at the pump.  That is a supply/demand issue.  Biden’s energy policies, if kept in place, will seriously damage the energy sector long after he has left office.

     Second, Biden’s push for renewable energy and biofuel has impacted the price of food.   Instead of putting corn related products into their belly, Americans are putting it in their gas tanks.  Beef, chicken, and pork producers are paying more for feed, which impacts their prices.  Food processors are paying more for corn related ingredients.  And it’s not just corn flakes that are impacted.  Products like shampoo, perfume, soda pop, yogurt, chewing gum, and even make-up all use ingredients related to corn.  The price of corn is at an historical high because of demand due to the biofuel mandate.  Biden needs to dial the mandate back. 

      When calculating rates of inflation, economists often remove food because food prices tend to be more volatile than prices of many other goods in the economy. Food is a necessity, and changes in the price of food immediately and directly affect households.  Americans in the lowest 20% of household income spend 11% of their budget on food.  The highest 20% household income earners spend 7% on food.  When food prices go up as they have in 2021, it has a disproportionately negative impact on the poorest among us.   The Biden administration claim the current price increases are transitory, but the pressure on food producers and processors is real and could result in many going out of business if they aren’t able to pass through the increases.  That would be quite a transition!

     2021 is in the books.  Good riddance.  The year has been a challenge.  Hopefully 2022 will be a better year economically and physically for Americans. Happy New Year!    


Sunday, December 19, 2021

Fauci- and others- have put the politics in COVID! Time for him to GO!

 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     Dr. Anthony Fauci is the director of the National Institute of Allergy and infectious Diseases (NIAID), a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  He also serves as the Chief Medical Advisor to the President.  Facui, 80, has served in the public health sector for more than fifty years and been an advisor to every U.S. president since Ronald Reagan.  When former President Trump created the White House COVID Task Force, Fauci served on the committee and became a spokesperson for the POTUS.   Last week, Fauci said on Face the Nation those who criticize him are criticizing science, because he ‘represents science.’   Critics attacked the statement.  “The man thinks he is some kind of deity.  His argument is essentially…I am the science!  I am the truth,” Fox News Laura Ingraham said.  U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn, (R-TN), accused Fauci of ‘cherry picking’ facts on the science.  On the same program, Fauci said that Republicans had used him as scapegoat on COVID.  Three observations:

     First, Dr. Fauci has been consistently inconsistent on COVID.  In January 2020, he said COVID-19 did not present a ‘major threat’ to the American public.  By March 2020, he had changed his mind and predicted the fatality rate from COVID-19 would be close to 1%- ten time higher than conventional flu.  He initially told the public masks were ineffective and urged the public to not use them.  He later changed his mind and said they should be mandated.   Fauci suggested for months COVID-19 could not have leaked from a lab in Wuhan, China, but has since said that theory can’t be dismissed. 

     Perhaps Fauci is an advocate of Paul Feyerabend’s ‘theory of error,’ which states science should not look for infallible rules that lead to the approximation of the truth.  Feyerabend’s theory criticized the idea science could be governed or regulated by a set of fixed rules and encouraged scientists to recognize error and learn to live with it.   Feyerabend’s theory requires honesty and humility from a scientist.  Not likely Fauci is a proponent.        

     Second, Fauci’s criticism of his critics undermines his creditability.  When he states his critics are being political, but he attacks them on issues unrelated to COVID, he is being political.   The fact is Fauci is a government bureaucrat, who is very political, because he is in the political arena.  The general public doesn’t know what to believe.  Wear masks- don’t wear masks?  Get vaccinated or don’t get vaccinated?  Listen to your medical professional and the CDC or ignore them?  Fauci likes to paint himself as taking the high road, but he rarely does.  Often his critics are no better- grandstanding by using COVID to self-promote.  In the confusing time of COVID-19, Americans need the truth.  They don’t need a spin doctor whose creditability is questionable at best and politicians whose goal is to amour propre.

     Third, disagreeing with Fauci doesn’t mean disagreeing with science.  Fauci’s statement that ‘he represents science’ is arrogant, haughty and pompous.  Science is defined as the intellectual and practical activity around the systematic study of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.  Observation and experiment!  Scientists are human and their opinion is to be based on the facts as they know them.  But at best, it is still an educated guess.  Many highly educated, trained scientists disagree with Anthony Fauci’s conclusions on COVID.  Their observation and experience have them reaching a different interpretation.       

     Americans need honesty and straight talk on COVID-19.  Dr. Anthony Fauci is not the right person to do that.  He has proven he is too political.  Get someone who believes in the theory of error

Sunday, December 12, 2021


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair

     Change is inevitable.  Change is constant.  Only those who embrace change will survive.  Albert Einstein said, “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”  President John F. Kennedy said, “Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past and present are certain to miss the future.”  The gospel of ‘change’ is drilled into young impressable minds from an early age.  Hundreds of books are written each year enumerating recipes for making oneself a ‘change agent.’  Three thoughts on change:

     First, change is not always positive.  America has changed- a bunch.  A nation built on the fundamental tenet of liberty and justice for all now limits liberty and rejects justice.  Civility in the U.S. is dead.  Showing respect for differing opinions is a sign of weakness in modern day America.  Humility is for the feeble and puny.  Compassion is for the frail and decrepit.  Character traits that were once admired in the U.S. are now despised.  Attributes that in the past were thought of as unsavory are palatable. 

     Second, change for the sake of change is not positive.  Change for the wrong reason results in confusion, disorganization and skepticism.  An excellent example is the Affordable Care Act.  America’s health care system changed radically under President Obama.  Despite the U.S. now spending far more per capita on healthcare than other high-income nations, it still scores poorly on life expectancy, suicide and maternal mortality.  The change in health care has resulted in poorer care at a higher cost.  There are hundreds of examples of legislation(laws) at the federal and state level either unnecessary or that resulted in ‘unintended consequences.’ That is not positive change.   

     Third, there are some things that don’t change.  God doesn’t change.  He is immutable, unchangeable, and unshakable.  God doesn’t change in His essence, attributes, plans, and promises, because He is perfect. God’s Word doesn’t change.  It is eternal, infinite, and everlasting.  It is solid, concrete and grounded.  Mankind should take great comfort that in a world of change, the Creator of that world is unchangeable.

     People can’t be immutable or unchangeable.  Mankind should constantly strive to improve, but what should not change?  What is the difference between timeless principles and ephemeral practices?  First, a core value is one that we hold even if it becomes a disadvantage to hold it.  Second, core values are based on more than just our opinion.  In the case of a Christian believer, those core values are based on the Bible- for American citizens, they are based on the U.S. Constitution.

     Russian writer Leo Tolstoy said, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”  Sausage king Jimmy Dean said it a little different: “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”

America needs to reverse the changes that have moved the country from it’s founding documents and principles.  In a self-governed system, that responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of individual citizens.  It’s time to adjust the sails.    


Sunday, December 5, 2021


 Weekly Opinion Editorial


by Steve Fair


     Tuesday December 7th will mark the 80th anniversary of the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese.  The United States was a neutral country at the time.  The attack led to America’s formal entry into World War II the next day.  The attack started on a Sunday morning at 7:48am and involved 353 Japanese aircraft, launched from 6 aircraft carriers.  There were 8 U.S. Navy battleships in the harbor.  All were damaged- 4 were sunk, including the USS Oklahoma. A total of 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed.  2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 were wounded.  There were 15 Congressional Medals of Honor, 51 Navy Crosses, and 53 Silver Stars awarded to the American servicemen who distinguished themselves in combat at Pearl Harbor.  The attack united America.  The call to ‘Remember Pearl Harbor,’ had men rushing to sign up to fight in the war.

     The day after the attack, President Franklin Roosevelt delivered his famous ‘Day of Infamy’ speech to a Joint Session of Congress.  He called for a formal declaration of war on Japan.  The vote in the Senate was 82-0, the House 388-1.  The lone dissenter was Rep. Jeannette Rankin, a women’s rights suffragist advocate and lifelong pacifist from Montana.  Rankin was the first woman to hold federal office in the United States, elected to the U.S. House in 1916.  Three observations:

     First, the attack backfired on the Japanese.  America and their leadership had remained neutral before the Pearl Harbor attack.  Britain was losing the war in Europe and while it was a great ally, America was staying out of it.  Sir Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister, said his first thought when America declared they were entering the fray was, “We have won the war.”   Japan attacked because they feared the US was going to intervene in their attacks in Asia, but history has shown that was not being considered.  Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto said, "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve." The average Japanese citizen was shocked to find out about the attack and were dismayed they were at war with the United States.  Japan won the battle, but lost the war because they awoke that sleeping giant.

     Second, those who fought WWII were a special bred.  Tom Brokaw wrote they were the ‘greatest generation.’ They were born between 1901-1927.  They had survived the economic depression of the 1930s where unemployment reached 30%.  They believed in personal responsibility, had a strong work ethic, were frugal, committed, displayed integrity and were self-sacrificing and self-reliant. They fought in WWII, not for fame or recognition, but because it was ‘the right thing to do.’  They put their country before themselves.

     Third, if Pearl Harbor were attacked today, would Americans respond the way of their great grandparents?  It’s highly doubtful.  Many Americans, across all political spectrums, believe the country is so flawed, it isn’t worth fighting for.  Many of our best and brightest apologize for America’s past, don’t appreciate the sacrifice of their forefathers, and don’t understand our system of government. 

     The government of Afghanistan fell overnight because their citizens didn’t believe their country was worth fighting for.  Could that happen in America?  Americans in the 21st century are narcissistic, self-centered, spoiled individualists.  They want government to provide personal and financial security and exercise no personal responsibility.  They want free education, free rent and food, and free cell phones.  No way would they dare risk their life to fight a war they didn’t believe in. 

     In two generations (80 years), America has went from the greatest generation to the reliant generation.  Thank God, the ‘greatest generation’ believed in a cause greater than themselves or the official language of America would be German or Japanese.