Former “Star Trek” actor and left-wing activist George Takei received a verbal smackdown from Twitter users after he claimed that Americans could bear the brunt of rising food and gasoline prices in order to stick it to Vladimir Putin.
“Americans: We can endure higher prices for food and gas if it means putting the screws to Putin. Consider it a patriotic donation in the fight for freedom over tyranny,” Takei wrote on Twitter Friday evening.
Americans: We can endure higher prices for food and gas if it means putting the screws to Putin. Consider it a patriotic donation in the fight for freedom over tyranny.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) March 4, 2022
Twitter users immediately fired back.
“Hey rich guy, you can endure this, but us working class people, this is crushing us. But what do you [care] looking down your nose at the people who make your world run…” podcaster Britt Griffith replied, including a photo of a gas station with prices in the $6 range.
Hey rich guy, you can endure this, but us working class people, this is crushing us. But what do you car looking down your nose at the people who make your world run… pic.twitter.com/fswIEOpqMX
— Britt Griffith (@britttgriffith) March 5, 2022
“We can endure higher prices for food and gas. But some can endure them more easily than others,” lawyer and YouTube commentator Viva Frei said, including a screenshot of Takei’s apparent $14 million net worth.
“We can endure higher prices for food and gas. But some can endure them more easily than others” pic.twitter.com/38KIyNVCpD
— Viva Frei (@thevivafrei) March 5, 2022
“Many American and veteran[s] live paycheck to check barely surviving now,” veterans’ nonprofit Code of Vets tweeted in response. “This post is out of touch with the average American.”
Many American and veteran live paycheck to check barely surviving now. This post is out of touch with the average American.
— Code of Vets ™ (@codeofvets) March 5, 2022
“You really wanna put the screws to Putin? Get Biden out of office,” Matt’s Idea Shop tweeted. “There was a time when we had Putin under control AND low gas prices. But you were too busy screaming about ‘Russian collusion’ for three years to even notice.”
You really wanna put the screws to Putin? Get Biden out of office.
There was a time when we had Putin under control AND low gas prices. But you were too busy screaming about “Russian collusion” for three years to even notice. https://t.co/9TIjAxe0IX
— Matt’s Idea Shop (@MattsIdeaShop) March 5, 2022
Even left-wing users took issue with Takei’s comments:
This right here is some pretty out-of-touch elitist bullshit. Half of the US has already been struggling just to get by, wading through a pandemic that our gov has shirked responsibility to, and now he expects people to pay for punitive damages for more wargames. You pay, George! https://t.co/h8dwkV0UIB
— Johnny Akzam (@JohnnyAkzam) March 5, 2022
This is the kind of patriotism people have mistakenly attributed to proletarian patriots. This is the patriotism of the bourgeoisie, the support for US imperialism over both the domestic and international proletariat. https://t.co/AjK9BPS66a
— Peter Coffin (@petercoffin) March 5, 2022
Other responses are as follows:
This is a good time to make donations to your local food bank if you can afford to. While some may be able to afford higher prices, there are many who cannot afford it. 💗 https://t.co/auuwDo2AJZ
— Anne Wheaton (@AnneWheaton) March 5, 2022
I think this sermon to Americans about the great value and need to “endure” higher prices for food and gas, valid or not, should stop being delivered by rich celebrities and television pundits who won’t even notice anything different. It’s easy to demand *others* “sacrifice.” https://t.co/CMN053Aqgj
— Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) March 5, 2022
— Syraj Hashmyy (@SirajAHashmi) March 5, 2022
Takei’s comments come amidst a massive surge in the price of gas. The Daily Wire reported Friday that the national average price for a gallon of gas rose 11 cents overnight, to a national average of $3.83 per gallon. The state of California has seen prices surge above $5 per gallon, while prices in the city of Syracuse, New York, soared to the highest in 10 years, and prices in the state of Michigan skyrocketed up 39 cents in the course of a week. Inflation has also dramatically increased to the highest level in 40 years, 7.5% annually, with food inflation up 7% year-over-year.
GasBuddy Chief Petroleum Analyst Patrick DeHaan predicted the surge in a press conference last week, warning that the Russian invasion of Ukraine would drive up prices, while other factors such as increased demand and the switch to more-expensive summer blend gas would drive prices even higher. DeHaan also warned that increased prices at the pump would also mean higher prices in other sectors of the economy. “Gasoline prices are going up, diesel prices will go up, jet fuel prices will go up, and that means logistics, transporting goods, all of those prices will go up,” he said. “Airline tickets could go up. The price of anything delivered via truck, goods to the grocery store will see an increase. And services that rely on gasoline, whether that be things like Uber and Lyft and Instacart, you may see fuel surcharges tacked on those services in the coming days and weeks as well, as gas prices are likely to stay high.”
Takei’s comments echoed sentiments first espoused by President Joe Biden. At a press conference shortly after the news that Russia had invaded Ukraine, Biden admitted that the sanctions levied on the Russian economy would have an adverse effect on American consumers. “As I said last week, defending freedom will have costs for us as well, here at home,” Biden said. “We need to be honest about that.” Yet Biden halted construction of the Keystone XL pipeline on his first day in office, and has suspended new leases for oil and gas drilling on federal lands while a pending legal challenge works its way through federal courts. That has prompted calls from Congressional Republicans and even Democratic West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, to revitalize domestic oil production.