I'm a little nervous doing this, but I'm gonna kick off today's Underbuzzed with a story I'm undrestanding only tenuously. Wish me luck and if I go astray, set me straight in the comments...
- When I first saw that Pres. Obama had decided to tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, my first thought was that this was a mistake--that Pres. Obama was implicitly endorsing the mistaken claim that supply-and-demand were behind the recent run-up in gas prices. However, I've since been advised by someone on the finance end, that the amount coming out of the SPR is virtually insignificant--less than a day's worth of global demand. So why should such a tiny amount bring down the price of crude by $8 / barrel? Because it flushed out speculators...which means tapping the SPR has demonstrated the role of speculators in driving the price around. That, my adviser suggested, is good news because it proves the speculative impact. But that's only good news if decision-makers are open to recognizing hard proof. And recent history makes that far less than a given.
- Michigan's economy is starting to gain strength from the auto industry, post-government bailout. When government creates jobs, those jobs create more jobs and those jobs create more jobs. Oh, Mitt, what will you do now?
- Graphic of the day: Shared sacrifice my ass. Since the alleged recovery, which has left so many worse off, the rich have gotten richer. That's redistribution of wealth.
- A handful of endangered-species Republicans dare to push for tougher fuel-efficiency standards. Remember moderate, reality-based Republicans?
- Ben Smith of Politico writes that Obama's speech last night felt like the end of an era, the era of American militarization. I don't think so. Obama hasn't shown himself to be that kind of president, I don't think. And it's hard to talk about the end of militarization when we're still in Iraq, will remain in Afghanistan for years and are embarking on new ventures in Libya, Yemen and elsewhere.
What are your Underbuzzed stories of the day? Post 'em in the comments.
Follow Senior Producer Jonathan Larsen (@jtlarsen) on Twitter