In retrospect, Joe Biden's first-term policy agenda seems very optimistic, almost comically optimistic. Shortly before his inauguration, Biden announced something he called the Build Back Better agenda. Of course, we mocked it at the time, but looking back, it was in some ways a hopeful document.
America must have been a very rich country back then. By "back then" we mean last year. There weren't a lot of essentials in Biden's agenda. The first three things that any normal nation needs and thinks about obsessively are food, water and energy. That's the standard. In China, for example, every government policy, foreign and domestic, is designed above all to secure adequate reserves of food, water and energy and that makes sense.
The Build Back Better agenda was the opposite of that. It did not suggest any concern at all about whether Americans might have enough to eat or could afford enough heating fuel to keep from freezing to death over the winter. Biden's agenda was focused on the kind of added extras you get to when you've fixed everything else and then still have trillions left over. Build Back Better promised us something called "environmental equity," whatever that is. It demanded amnesty for millions of illegal aliens because, at the time, the American economy seemed robust enough to share with the entire world. Universal health care for Honduras.
Biden called for free solar panels for everybody and taxpayer funded pre-K for all American parents and so on and on. Build Back Better was the neoliberal version of flying cars. It was a dreamy Christmas list of luxuries that, for a moment in time, seemed almost within reach. A lot has changed. Nobody's talking about flying cars anymore. Here's Joe Biden from yesterday:
PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: With regard to food shortage, yes, we did still talk about food shortages and it's going to be real. The price of these sanctions has not just imposed upon Russia. It's imposed upon an awful lot of countries as well, including European countries and our country as well and because both Russia and Ukraine have been the breadbasket of Europe in terms of wheat, for example, just give one example.
Food shortages, Biden said, "they're going to be real." Once again, in case you missed it, to repeat: food shortages—not in Sudan— in Cincinnati, Reno, Spokane, Norfolk and of course, in our big cities too where not a single person who was born here has any idea what a food shortage is. Our problem has always been having too much food. Now we won't have enough.
We know that because the president of the United States just told us that on camera. So, what it this going to mean? How do food shortages affect the country? Well, if you're interested, go online and read about it. All of recorded history will answer your question. A food shortage is not like deciding to skip dessert. It's not a diet. It's not voluntary. A food shortage is different. It's scary. Food shortages topple governments. They turn moderates and revolutionaries. A food shortage is a big deal. You don't want one, but now we're getting one just a little over a year into Joe Biden's presidency.
Think forward. If the traditional calendar holds, we've got 1,032 left of the Joe Biden administration, and you wonder what things will look like by then. We're already speeding toward dystopia, not the White House seems aware of it or to care in any way. Here's Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen from this morning, for example, letting you know it's time to stop whining about gas prices because actually, they're not very high.
ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: How high do you think oil prices can get at the pump?
JANET YELLEN: Listen, there's a lot of uncertainty about it. They're not as high in real terms as they were earlier, earlier in the century and the, you know, it's conceivable that they could move higher.
Yeah, it's not a big deal. Settle down and there's a reason for it. As Joe Biden explained, you're paying more for gas because we have slapped sanctions on Russia and sanctioning Russia is the right thing to do. So, shut up and feel virtuous as you slowly go broke. Now, for some people, particularly those who don't drive cars, this might seem like an adequate answer, but others in good faith may ask, "OK, I'm not against sanctions in theory, but since they're clearly not hurting Putin and they clearly are now hurting my family, what is the point of sanctions? Is there a point? Let me know. Make me feel better."
The answer is, "Yes, America. There's a point to sanctions. Sanctions are designed to prevent Russia from invading Ukraine." We know that because not so long ago, Tony Blinken, the secretary of state, told CNN that, "the purpose of the sanctions in the first instance is to try to deter Russia from going to war," and then Jen Psaki, the president's publicist, backed him up. "Our intention is to have a deterrent effect with sanctions," she said.
Kamala Harris agreed. The difference, she said, the deterrent "effect of these sanctions is still a meaningful one." So, sanctions work, except they didn't actually work. Putin invaded Ukraine anyway. The sanctions failed. So, what's the response? Admit they failed, try something new. No. Joe Biden is pretending that the administration never claimed sanctions would deter Russia from invading Ukraine. Here's the new line.
PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Let's get something straight. Do you remember, if you covered me from the very beginning, I did not say that, in fact, the sanctions would deter him. Sanctions never deter. You eep talking about that. Sanctions never deter. The maintenance sanctions, the maintenance of sanctions, the increasing the pain and the demonstration, why I asked for this NATO meeting today is to be sure that after a month, we will sustain what we're doing not just next month, the following month, but for the remainder of this entire year. That's what will stop him.
What does that even mean? "Sanctions never deter. Why do you keep saying that?," he said. Well, because you kept saying that. Your White House press secretary, your vice president, your secretary of state all said that verbatim, but they're not acknowledging that hoping that our memories have been so damaged by the iPhone, we'll be as forgetful as Joe Biden himself. Now they want us to believe that sanctioning Russia can force Putin into withdrawing from Ukraine. Is that true? Can Putin be sanctioned into retreat? Well, we certainly hope it's true, sincerely, but there's no evidence that it is true. There's not even really an expectation that it's true.
Even Joe Biden didn't claim that was going to happen. So, what is the point? We're not sure. That's a topic for another show, but in the meantime, this country, we know this for sure, is being badly hurt by those sanctions. As Reuters recently reported, "Western sanctions on Russia, a major exporter of potash, ammonia, urea and other soil nutrients, have disrupted shipments of those key inputs around the globe. Fertilizer is key to keeping corn, soy, rice and wheat yields high. Growers are scrambling to adjust."
Are you following this? Those ingredients are necessary to put food on your table, any price you can afford. If you don't have those ingredients, what do you get? Food shortages, which are a direct result of policy from the White House, a policy whose intended effect is still not clear. What is the point of this? If there's a good point, people will put up with it. Why don't you tell us what that point is? Fertilizer bills are expected to jump around 15% just this year, and they could go higher. Some farmers say they are already seeing fertilizer prices go much higher than that.
FOX MULTIMEDIA REPORTER MILLS HAYES: Mike Gunderson's family has been farming wheat, soybeans and corn on this land since the 1950s. He expects the weather to throw him a curveball in farming, but not a war.
MIKE GUNDERSON, FARMER: All the stuff in Ukraine and there's so much volatility in the market.
FOX MULTIMEDIA REPORTER MILLS HAYES: The U.S. imports $10.3 billion worth of fertilizer for crops. $1.3 billion of that comes from Russia, which is now off the market. The Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers says farmers lay down fertilizer at least twice a year.
CHARLIE VOGEL / MINNESOTA ASSOCIATION OF WHEAT GROWERS: There's a lot of fertilizers that are four and five x more expensive than they were a year ago. Fertilizer has drastically outpaced the rate of inflation.
FOX MULTIMEDIA REPORTER MILLS HAYES: Russia's ban on fertilizer is scheduled to last until the end of the year, and while supply is already tight this year, it's the future many are worried about.
So, sanctions have thrown American agriculture into profound turmoil and will cause again, as the president has told us out loud, food shortages, which are maybe the most destabilizing trend you could ever have in a country—not just to the politics but to the social fabric. It's scary.
But it's not just sanctions. There are a lot of reasons. It's not just the war in Ukraine. In response to energy and food shortages, the Biden administration is shutting down domestic oil and gas production. That makes food more expensive. It makes everything else more expensive. And as the pressure on American farmers rises and as food becomes scarcer and more expensive in this country, that same administration is allowing the government of China to buy up this country's farmland.
According to Politico, and this was two years ago, Chinese investors own nearly 200,000 acres of U.S. ag land, valued at least two billion. Now they're doing this, in part, with the help of subsidies paid for by U.S. taxpayers, and Chinese investors are continuing to buy more every single year. Again, food, water, energy. That's what you need for a country. The Chinese understand that. As Rep. Dan Newhouse put it, "the current trend in the United States is leading us toward the creation of a Chinese-owned agricultural land monopoly." In our country, the most productive farmland in the world now owned by what we used to call our main global rival and I think we can now say with a realignment in progress is our main global enemy, owned by a country that seeks to displace us and punish us.
It's insane. Would the Chinese government permit American investors to buy its country's farmland or water resources? That's not even a real question. Of course not. No sane country would do that, and no foreign entity should be allowed to control America's critical natural resources. So, how long till the Chinese start scooping up the Great Lakes, which are our largest reservoirs of fresh water? Food, water, energy. Don't laugh. That's where we're headed, and it could happen much sooner than anyone seems to realize. Fishing companies are paying such high costs, they're running out of business. Here's another Fox multimedia report.
FOX MULTIMEDIA REPORTER JOY ADDISON: Gas prices are jacking up the cost of boat rentals and charters, leaving captains like Cody Kenney with two choices—cancel charters that are not profitable or increase ticket prices. The increases are not just hitting the tourism industry.
NELLO CASSARINO / GALVESTON SHRIMP COMPANY, INC: From our boats that go out fishing, to our trucks that deliver the product, everything that we use to run our business, we see at least a 35 %
FOX MULTIMEDIA REPORTER JOY ADDISON: Nello Cassarino runs Galveston Shrimp Company. He says passing those prices on to the consumer is not a reliable option.
NELLO CASSARINO / GALVESTON SHRIMP COMPANY, INC: Because the consumer, at some point, will stop buying it. It turns into a ripple effect where the plants have to lay off employees, you know, truck stop moving.
All part of our food supply now imperiled through a remarkable combination of negligence and terrible decision-making, not just by this administration, by previous administrations, but brought to the point of crisis by Joe Biden and, by the way, it's not just a question of what it costs to fuel a commercial fishing fleet. The oceans themselves are being depleted of fish, entire species by the Chinese government.
You hear a lot about the environment and saving the planet, by which they mean don't drive an SUV. But the actual planet, its actual resources, its oceans, the most important resource the planet has. It's not about climate. It's about the oceans and increasingly, they're polluted and bereft of fish and China is doing that. We're not and no one saying a word about it.
So, instead of addressing any of these problems, our leaders are responding in the one way they know how. They're throwing more money at the problem and in the process devaluing the U.S. dollar that we're going to desperately need to stay solvent. California Gov. Gavin Newsom, for example, just announced he's about to give his residents another free credit card.
GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM: So today we're announcing a $9 billion tax refund to tens of millions of Californians. $400 for each registered vehicle that an individual owns up to two vehicles. That direct relief will address the issue that we all are struggling to address and that's the issue of gas prices.
So, if the hands and the hair and the teeth distracted you and you didn't actually hear anything that Governor Newsom said, what he's saying is tax prices are really high, so we're going to give you a tax refund, whether or not you pay taxes. It's welfare. And that's going to solve the problem. What he doesn't say is that California has the highest gas prices in America because it has the highest gas taxes in America—seven bucks a gallon in Los Angeles—seven bucks.
He did that. But instead of fixing it, he's making you more dependent, and this is a trend. For the second time in two years, politicians are sending out welfare checks to compensate for economic crises that they caused. So, if you wanted to increase inflation, if you wanted to make the population weak and dependent upon you, this is what you'd probably do. Free bread next.