That Keystone XL pipeline would have been superb to have right now instead of tapping into emergency reserves and suffering high prices. Indeed, President Joe Biden and the Democrats certainly hurt households nationwide by dismantling pipeline infrastructure. In addition to skyrocketing crude oil, natural gas, and gasoline prices, capacity constraints could affect production efforts by the energy sector, warns the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
In its latest Annual Energy Outlook, the EIA forecasts domestic natural gas output will tumble by 5% over the next 27 years, while consumption will drop by an estimated 4% if no new interstate pipelines are constructed. If this is the case, be prepared to endure agonizing pain at the pump and face higher electricity costs during those cold dark nights of the soul.
The justification for putting the kibosh on Keystone XL and other pipelines was protection of the environment. However, the EIA noted that limiting US pipeline capacity would only trim energy-related carbon dioxide emissions. Moreover, restricting pipeline infrastructure from coming online would hurt the economy, too, since it would impact liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, which Europe is relying heavily on as it reduces its dependence on Russia.
“The higher natural gas prices that result from capacity constraints primarily affect natural gas consumption in the U.S. electric power sector, which is more price-sensitive than the residential, commercial, and industrial sectors,” the EIA noted. “We project that restricting interstate U.S. natural gas pipeline capacity would only slightly lower energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the United States relative to the Reference case.”
Democrats dismiss calls to resuscitate pipeline projects because it would not offer relief to motorists and households, adding that renewables are the only viable alternatives. In other words, buy a $50,000 electric vehicle and sit in your room in the dark to save some money until enough solar panels and windmills are established. Unfortunately, even if this suggestion were in earnest, there is no guarantee that these would allow residents and businesses to save cash or help keep the lights on.
Please, Sir, Can We Have Some More Credit?
It did not take long for consumers to exhaust their savings and turn to credit to survive in this sky-high inflationary environment. Can anyone blame shoppers when a buck buys a nickel’s worth today?
After rising by a tepid $8.93 billion in January, consumer credit soared by $41.82 billion in February, according to new data from the Federal Reserve. This is above the market forecast of $16.65 billion and represented the largest monthly jump since December 2010. On an annualized basis, consumer credit advanced 11.3%, up from an upwardly revised 2.4% to kick off 2022.
Meanwhile, Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) figures over the last week show three crucial trends: the personal savings rate is falling (6.3%), personal income has flatlined (0.1%), and consumer spending has cratered (0.2%). With rampant price inflation, earnings are not keeping up with the cost of living crisis, and shoppers are being a bit more cautious about what they are purchasing in this abnormal economy.
Minutes from last month’s Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) revealed the Federal Reserve will be accelerating interest rate hikes and trimming the $9 trillion balance sheet. This will lead to higher borrowing costs, meaning consumers will be forking over greater debt-servicing payments each month. If a recession transpires, will US households be able to endure the effects of an economic downturn?
Peter Thiel Goes to War with Wall Street
Peter Thiel, the billionaire entrepreneur and prominent supporter of former President Donald Trump, fired off a salvo in his undeclared war on his affluent and more conventional industry colleagues, including Warren Buffett, Jamie Dimon, and Larry Fink.
Speaking at the Bitcoin 2022 conference in Miami, FL this week, Thiel called Buffett an “enemy” of Bitcoin and a part of the “finance gerontocracy” that has prevented widespread adoption of the cryptocurrency. He called him a “sociopathic grandpa from Omaha.”
“Why bitcoin has not yet gone up to $100,000 to a million dollars? Why has it not yet converged with gold or even with the equity markets more broadly?” Thiel asked. “It’s a movement as a political question, whether this movement is going to succeed, or whether the enemies of the movement are going to succeed in stopping us.”
Over the years, these individuals have been highly critical of virtual tokens. Buffett has likened Bitcoin to “rat poison,” although he recently invested $1 billion in a crypto bank. Fink has purported that Bitcoin and the rest of the digital currency industry have “no value.” The head of JPMorgan Chase has called crypto worthless, but he does believe there is promise in decentralized finance (DeFi) and the blockchain.
Wall Street has turned more bullish on crypto, buoyed by clients and investors demanding more from their brokerage firms and investment banks to pour into this $2 trillion global ecosystem. El Salvador has made Bitcoin legal tender, professional athletes have requested salaries in the premier virtual token, and some families are living their entire lives on Bitcoin. Perhaps the new generation of billionaires and executives will incorporate crypto into business operations and financial systems.
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