Don’t close your eyes

Driving lessons, inflation, and 5 links worth your time

This summer, I’m teaching my teenagers to drive. Maybe you’ve experienced the terrors of the passenger seat as your child practices pulling in and out of parking spaces or driving down a crowded city street. 

In the last year, we experienced a global pandemic and an attack on the U.S. Capitol. Yet at no point was I as nervous as I am watching my child approach a busy intersection and wondering, “Is she really going to stop? Does she remember which pedal is the brake?”

Lately, there’s another reason I’m reluctant to go on these wild rides with my kids: the price of gas.

Different headlines, same story

All those trips around the neighborhood and local parking lots have accelerated our fuel consumption, and that prompts discussions about the price of gas with friends and family. Several people told me that the blame for these increased prices should be laid directly at the feet of President Biden and his policies. 

I’ve been a little busy white knuckling it in the passenger seat, so I’ve missed the news, but I decided to do some research on the topic. 

I’ve included the articles I found in our five links below, as well as the AllSides media bias rating chart. As you click through the links, you’ll see different news outlets frame similar content in very different ways. On the right or the left, there is agreement about the reason for gas price increases, but it isn’t President Biden’s policies. If you’re only reading headlines or listening to sound bites, you might not realize that. 

Inflation and the facts

Whether you’re consulting a source on the left, right, or center, however, you’ll find a consistently ominous headline: consumer prices are rising at the fastest rate since 2008. Whatever your political ideology, you’ll pay more for the things you buy, and that’s a fact that makes us all nervous. 

In the passenger seat yesterday, I noticed that I had closed my eyes. I didn’t want to make my daughter nervous by bracing myself with hands on the dashboard or stomping feet on a non-existent brake. My eyes, however, couldn’t handle the stress and, in an involuntary reaction (which my child fortunately didn’t see since her eyes were on the road) I squeezed them shut.

Closing our eyes is a natural reaction to things that scare us. High prices and the prospect of inflation scare me, but I’m going do my best to keep my eyes and my ears (and hopefully my mind) open as I encounter bad news about the economy. 

Government policies at the local and the national level do affect the economy. If I’m going to have a solid grasp of the facts and understand how those policies influence my pocketbook, I’ve got an obligation to listen to many different voices and read beyond the headlines. 

If you’ve got a minute, drop me a line and let me know what you’re reading to better understand the economy. I promise to check it out!

5 links worth your time

  1. Media bias ratings. 
  2. The bogus GOP claim that Biden is responsible for higher gasoline prices. 
  3. Highest gas prices since 2014 threaten Biden. 
  4. US consumer prices rise by the most since 2008. 
  5. Inflation: Definition and the basics. 

Photo by Tom Wang on Adobe Stock