Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed all-star panelist Clint Brewer in-studio to comment upon inflation in America and around the world.
Leahy: And now, all-star panelist, recovering journalist, and public affairs specialist …
Brewer: Soccer fan.
Leahy: … soccer fan. (Laughs) We got off on a soccer-versus-baseball …
Brewer: We got off on a tangent.
Leahy: I know. It was a fun tangent, though, because now, it’s interesting because in terms of scores, right, the soccer scores are similarly low as baseball scores are, although not quite as bad, right. A one-to-nothing soccer game.
Brewer: It can be an exciting game.
Leahy: It can be maybe to somebody; not to me, ever. But now let’s go back.
Brewer: You haven’t tried.
Leahy: I know.
Brewer: We got to get on inflation.
Leahy: We’ll get to inflation. But we got to do the soccer/baseball thing a little bit more now. I really became a baseball fan in the ’60s, early ‘-60s, in fact.
And that was during the period of the great pitchers, right? Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Don Drysdale. Great pitchers. And there was a period like in the late’60s where the earned averages were barely above 1.0, which was really spectacular.
But you have a one-to-nothing game with Bob Gibson versus Don Drysdale. Fantastic games, great pitching, great intimidation. I could see that be exciting, then nothing in soccer. Give me the Red Bull.
Brewer: Oh, my goodness.
Leahy: Well, now we’ve got to go back to talk to something serious. Not that soccer-versus-baseball isn’t serious. Inflation. Inflation rose 9.1 percent in June, even more than expected as consumer pressures intensify.
Here are the lowlights. Excluding food and energy, the core CPI rose 5.9 percent. Costs surged for gasoline, groceries, rent, and dental care. Here’s the big problem.
Adjusted for inflation, workers’ hourly wages fell 1 percent during the month and are down 3.6 percent from a year ago. Economic pain was brought on by profligate spending from the Democrat-controlled House of Representative Senate and the maladministration of the grifter in chief, Joe Biden. And it looks like their solution is, let’s spend more.
Brewer: Well, there’s that. There’s also just the travails of the private sector, the issue of scarcity, which drives prices. We have not, as a country, gotten back to the productivity levels pre-pandemic. because we can’t.
As a country, abdicated things like microprocessors and things like that to overseas. And so our auto plants aren’t running. Have you looked at car prices? The average new car costs $50,000.
Leahy: This is all a consequence of relying upon China to produce basic manufactured goods. And really, if we were thinking about security and supply chain reliability, a lot of these things should be made in the United States of America.
Brewer: Look at the bigger picture here. You’re absolutely right. Here in America, we’ve had two vaccines successfully promulgated by Operation Warp Speed. The Trump administration.
The FDA just cleared a third one, Novavax, which is not an mRNA vaccine. It’s a more traditional vaccine. Americans have decided to live with, COVID and manage it and assume their own risk.
It’s largely working. There is another variant out there, but we’re not seeing the same results. In China, they’re still shutting things down. They’re still having widespread shutdowns over it.
They have not embraced any of the various and sundry measures to stop the spread of it. I think we believe that the rest of the world has moved on like we have, and they have not.
And so China, because our economy is so intertwined with theirs, our supply chain is so intertwined with theirs, they are still where they were, arguably in late 2020.
Leahy: And it’s hurting our supply chain for all these materials that we’ve allowed China to take over the control of the manufacture of them.
Brewer: We went from this pandemic to a ground war in Europe. It’s amazing how interconnected the world’s economy has become. The president of Sri Lanka was just ousted by essentially an angry mob.
And one of the biggest problems over there was they can’t get energy sources: oil, gas, whatever, because of the war in Europe, and because of Russia and Ukraine.
And then on top of that, their government regulated the production of fertilizer so that their farmers couldn’t have crop yield.
Leahy: What is going on with these international governments trying to, in essence, regulate farmers out of business? It’s insane.
Brewer: I don’t know. But you look at what’s happening here. So gas is cresting five, $6 a gallon. Inflation at the grocery store, it hits everybody.
Cars are prohibitively expensive. But you look all the way across the world, and they’re having more extreme versions of the same problems.
And it’s all because of this interconnection in the economy and because of our allies and our enemies, we all have not been able to adjust back to how the economy works.
Leahy: Or you could say, in essence, this is, I think, the example of what happens when governments interfere aggressively in free markets.
Brewer: And I mean, here at home, you’re looking at just what you outlined, which is aggressive spending at the federal level.
We’re still pouring stimulus dollars into states and letting them create more stimulus instead of having people go back to work.
I tell you the thing that, and this was discussed last year, and people just sort of stopped talking about it, but they shouldn’t. Commercial real estate, which affects the banking system and everything else, people are not going back to the office.
Brewer: And so companies are very much, I’m speaking in broad brushstrokes here, but readers can look for this themselves.
Companies are re-examining their real estate footprint, so the next time that lease comes due, they’re probably not going to renew.
Listen to the interview:
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