The main topic of discussion lately for most people has been how quickly or slowly we should get back to “normal” after COVID-19. I am not going to get in the middle of that debate. There are excellent reasons for both opening up and keeping our society socially distant for some more weeks or months. There are many variables to keep in mind, and both more restrictive and less restrictive policies are being put in place in various areas. In a few weeks we will know which path was more prudent. There are three other events going on right now that burn my backside when I think about them, so I try not to.
You might have heard about North Carolina Senator Richard Burr’s questionable stock trades made in January and February. I imagine we will be hearing much more about what he knew and when he knew it. It certainly seems more than just a little suspicious that he and his wife would decide to sell around a million dollars worth of stocks in 30 transactions in less than a month just before the big stock crash in March caused by COVID-19. He and his wife should be in jail. He was making statements about how well prepared our country was while he was liquidating his holdings. He was among some of the first to be briefed in the Senate about just exactly how hard COVID-19 would affect our economy. His cellphone has been seized, and it will be interesting to see how long after the Senate briefings he waited to call or text his wife with the instructions to sell, sell, sell!
Remember Martha Stewart had to spend some time behind bars for insider trading on a much smaller scale than what Mr. and Mrs. Burr are accused of. If the Burrs don’t serve at least double what Martha Stewart did it would be travesty of justice. Not only should Burr and any other Senators who made trades after being briefed about coronavirus be in jail and pay fines, there should be a way to keep all lawmakers who are privy to sensitive information from being allowed to make stock trades. There are thousands of Americans who lost millions of dollars in the stock market this spring who will be watching this case very closely.
As I am writing this, the first tropical storm of 2020 has parts of North Carolina under a storm watch. Tropical Storm Arthur is projected to just graze North Carolina then turn off into the Atlantic. How many storms will we have to see in May before hurricane season gets moved? This is the sixth year in a row that we have a named storm before the official start of hurricane season. We all know summer gets here a bit earlier than it used to and lingers a bit longer than it used to. It is called global warming and moving the hurricane season dates might get a few more people to realize it is happening.
The last thing that is just plain wrong is what we all pay for gas. We should be paying much less right now for gas because the per-barrel oil price is low. In the 1980s the price of a barrel of oil was around $30 and the pump price was around a dollar for much of that time. More recently, in the summer of 2019 the price of a barrel of oil was around $60 and the pump price of a gallon was around $2.60. Shouldn’t we be paying less than $1.50 now that the per-barrel price is around $30? Don’t think about this stuff too much or it might get you agitated.
Eric lives in Suwannee County and is a public school educator. He is an independent contractor. You can reach him at email@example.com.