The war/non-war in Ukraine may have consequences in unexpected ways.
One possibility is the breakup of the International Space Station (ISS), which could leave an American astronaut stranded. Astronaut Mark Vande Hei holds the record already for longest known spaceflight ever of any terrestrial. He was slated to return to Earth in April by hitching a ride with cosmonauts down to Kazakhstan. Now, with the United States’ economic sanctions in place and getting worse by day, the head of Russia’s space agency has threatened to separate the Russian half of ISS from the American half and leave Mr. Vande Hei to find his own ride down.
That’s really cold-blooded.
Well, you just watch, Russia. We’ve got Elon Musk. Our one guy has better space ships than your whole stupid space agency, and they don’t need Kazakhstan. They can land on a barge in the middle of the ocean.
Meanwhile there’s the oil sanctions, so the Russians aren’t going to be able to finance the non-war with sales of oil. But that means the United States won’t be buying that oil and refining it and greasing its economy with it. As gas prices go through the roof, truckers who were last heard whining about having to get vaccinated are going to be unable to even fuel their trucks. No more convoys. Game over. Everybody who doesn’t buy food locally — which is about all of you — will see food prices go astronomical.
Now might be a good time to start that victory garden you were always planning for the little sunlit part of your backyard (those of you who have backyards). The rest of you will find recipes for rat stew online. The trick to eating shoe leather? Make sure it’s real leather, then use the right marinade. I think you can make a decent something-or-other by stir frying grass clippings and tossing them with dandelion greens.
We’re going to be sorry we tried to drive off all the Canada geese. There’s a lot of meat on one of those.
Inflation is getting scary. I am forced to remember the 1970s. Inflation was so high during the Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations that Americans elected Ronald Reagan to fix it with voodoo trickle-down economics that didn’t help average people a bit because nothing trickled down. Real wages have stagnated or fallen ever since, but the upper middle classes and the rich loved it.
It’s getting pretty frightening now. In February, there was 0.8 percent inflation overall (mostly due to higher energy costs). If that continues for 12 months, the annual rate of inflation will exceed 10 percent. That’s a flat 10 percent tax on everyone who has to pay for necessities. Your only escape is to be rich to begin with, adjust investments to take advantage of scarcity-driven markets or find ways to divorce yourself from the general economy. Maybe you could sleep in a tent at City Hall.
No, wait, that won’t work. Just in time for the food shortage to end all food shortages in Seattle, our new mayor wants to keep sidewalks open for sidewalk eating at Seattle restaurants and closed for tenting.
I’m going to be interested to see how restaurants deal with severe food supply shortages due to exorbitant shipping costs. The only way I can see them surviving that is a reversion to local food production of a sort we haven’t really seen since the Japanese-American food growers were sent to the camps.
It’s doable if we plan ahead. We need to advertise Seattle as a friendly place for Ukrainian refugees to come. We give them land to grow beets, cabbage and hogweed. Seattle restaurants adjust their menus accordingly. At first patrons will be upset, but when their doctors tell them the good news about their dropping cholesterol levels and blood pressure, people will collectively say, “Eh. OK, I guess.”
“Cabbage burgers are better for me. Yay.”
“Wish there was cheese, though.”
“Can I get a Pop-Tart on the side?”
If inflation gets any worse I will qualify for food stamps again. It will be like the Soviet Union. Everyone gets food stamps but no food except stale bread. Wait in line to buy. Come to the store early enough and you can buy before closing. Stale bread is great. Helps build strong bodies.
Read more of the Mar. 16-22, 2022 issue.