We went on a quick road trip this week that brought us through our third hometown: Mobile, Alabama. While there, we had to drive out the Causeway, past the battleship USS Alabama and the WWII submarine USS Drum to one of our favorite restaurants, The Original Oyster House.
We noticed the portions were a bit smaller this time and when we asked about the crab claw appetizer, the server told us, "Before you order, you need to know we have to charge by the pound nowadays. And the crab claws are $29. The price of everything we buy has gotten ridiculous."
Amen! We got the fried green tomatoes instead (delicious!). I had two whole economics courses in college—over 50 years ago—so I'm not qualified to understand how prices have gotten so out of whack in such a short time. But common sense tells me a few things.
I know we had a worldwide health deal. But that was not the primary cause. It has been going on for more than two years and we have adapted pretty well by now.
Could it be related to the fact that the price of gasoline at the pump has doubled in the past few months? And was well on its way upward before Vladimir Putin lost what little remained of his mind? That price spike is something we have not adapted to. And it affects how much we pay for everything.
Ships, planes, trains and trucks all rely on petroleum to bring us our stuff. And that commodity has never been this expensive. So, what has changed in the past year that led us down this very expensive path? Hint: because of the timing, it is not the health deal, and it is not Russia deciding to invade Ukraine.
Look, our passing on the $29 crab-claw appetizer is the epitome of a first-world problem. But what is it going to take to make those who can fix this realize that it is creating true hardship for millions of people? Requesting the Middle East to lower prices and increase production is not a solution.
Buying oil from Iran or Venezuela only encourages vicious dictatorships and saves us little by the time we transport the stuff to here. Telling us to all go out and buy electric cars and then try to find a place to charge them up every 200 miles is just plain cruel.
You think American petroleum companies can't gear up and start pumping crude right here at home quick enough to help? Get out of the way and see. You think American energy providers can't build clean, safe nuclear power plants in record time so we'll have a source of charging power for all those battery-powered vehicles when they are ready for prime time? Get out of the way and see.
Hear me? Government, get out of the way and see what can be done. Everybody but the crabs will certainly appreciate it.
Award-winning and best-selling author Don Keith is the co-host of “This Alabama Life” on 1819 News. He lives in Indian Springs Village and is a graduate of the University of Alabama with a degree in Broadcast and Film. As a broadcast journalist, he won awards from the Associated Press and United Press International for news writing and reporting and, as an on-the-air broadcaster, Don was twice named Billboard Magazine "Radio Personality of the Year." The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of 1819 News. To comment, please send an email with your name and contact information to Commentary@1819News.com.