Posts Tagged ‘inflation’

By John Ruberry

Outside of sheer incompetence, a theme has emerged from the Joe Biden administration. When they need help, the White House calls on people they deem to be experts. 

Here’s a dirty secret of politics, or if your prefer, of advancing a preferred narrative. Anyone can find an “expert,” more on them in a bit, to support any opinion. It works in journalism too, the media wing of the Democrat Party.

When the discovery of the Hunter Biden laptop was revealed by the New York Post nearly two years ago–the mainstream media, social media, and of course the Biden campaign immediately moved to denounce it. The casus belli for journalists, Facebook, Twitter, and the like–Biden brought this up in a presidential debate–was that its emergence three weeks before Election Day in 2020 had “all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation,” according to 51 former national security experts, led by James Clapper, a director of National Intelligence under Barack Obama. Every one of these “experts” either lied, signed on to something they knew little about, or just simply wanted to do whatever it took to prevent the reelection of Donald J. Trump. 

Eighteen months later, the New York Times admitted Hunter’s laptop, which provided voluminous evidence of his influence peddling centered on his being the son of a powerful politician, was authentic. The 51 experts can expect subpoenas from the House Judiciary Committee next year, assuming the Republicans take control of the House. Every one of these “experts” should have their security clearances permanently revoked.

Biden of course won the election. As a result of his policies, such as cancelling the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, blocking new permits for drilling on federal land, gasoline prices soared and remain high. Although the economy was well into recovery mode two years ago, Biden signed into law the unfunded American Rescue Plan. Many experts at the time claimed it would not fuel inflation. They were wrong. Just as those national security “experts” were wrong on Hunter’s laptop. 

When inflation began its ascent, the White House cited 15 Nobel laureates in economics who said that Biden’s Build Back Better bill, enacted in late 2021, would not fuel inflation. They were wrong too. Inflation is now at levels not seen since the early 1980s. Last year Biden and other “experts” were saying inflation was “transitory.” Liberals reading this post will blame inflation on the War in Ukraine, you know, “Putin’s price hike.” Sure, the war likely has an effect on inflation, but the scourge was with us before Russia’s invasion Ukraine. 

Build Back Better was originally part of a much larger bill, the green energy stuff was split off and later discarded after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said he wouldn’t support it. Well, Build Back Better Part Two is back, laughably renamed the Inflation Reduction Act. And to bolster its support, the Biden White House has–are you ready?–called on experts, this time, four former Democratic Treasury secretaries and one Republican, who claim, among other things, that the Inflation Reduction Act will “fight inflation” One of those ex-Treasury secretaries is Larry Summers, who warned last year the Biden White House, “We’re taking very substantial risks on the inflation side.” 

A good journalist would track down Summers and ask him specifics on why this bill really will fight inflation.

Earlier I mentioned that journalists have a role in advancing political narratives. For example, at Forbes, Rhett Buttle offers a slobbering French kiss of propaganda, which is accompanied by this headline, “Experts Agree: The Inflation Reduction Act Accomplishes A Lot For Small Business And Working Families.” While late in the piece Buttle manages to write about the bill, “some who represent select corporate interests in Washington don’t completely agree” with the hype. But if Buttle was truly a journalist, he would have tracked down opponents of the Inflation Reduction Act and presented a balanced article.

Then again, real journalism is dead. Twenty years ago such a piece as the one written by Buttle would contain the sub-headline, “news analysis,” assuming a magazine like Forbes would even publish it. I took some journalism classes at the University of Illinois. If I turned in such an article for an assignment, a professor would have deservedly given me an “F,” enhanced by this underlined comment written in red ink, “This garbage reads like a press release.”

But Biden’s new batch of experts have spoken: The Inflation Reduction Act, which the Senate will vote on Sunday afternoon, will “fight inflation.”

Watch your wallet. Watch the cash in it lose its value.

Disclosure: This blog post should be classified as “news analysis.”

UPDATE 5:15pm EDT: The Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act passed the Senate.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

A few months ago, I praised Senator Joe Manchin for standing strong against the Democrats’ plans to fundamentally transform the United States into socialist third world hellhole.  With this article I am now singing a different story because just this past week Joe Manchin announced that he will now join forces with the Democrats in the destruction of the economy of the United States when he declared support for the ironically named Inflation Reduction Act.    

First, the bill proposes $433 billion in new spending programs, including $369 billion for “energy security and climate change” and $64 billion (at least) for more Obamacare subsidies.

Given the fact that energy prices have been soaring ever since Biden entered the Oval Office and declared war on American energy production, doubling down on green energy policies by throwing another $369 billion in subsidies for renewable energy is an unwise decision.  It will have no effect on bringing down the price of energy for the vast majority of Americans, which is one of the key drivers of inflation throughout the economy.

Inflation is commonly defined as too much money chasing too few goods and services.  When the federal government increases spending, the money supply increases.  When the money supply increases, the value of each dollar in circulation decreases.  Hence, inflation.  This is not rocket science.

Second, the bill calls for $739 billion in new taxes, including a 15-percent hike in the corporate minimum tax.  But here’s the thing: corporations do not pay taxes; people do.  When the government raises taxes on corporations, people end up footing the bill via higher prices, lower wages, less availability of goods and services, and reduced research and development.

In other words, increasing taxes on corporations compounds inflationary pressures because it deters production; therefore, we get less in goods and services.

This pile of refuse will also cripple the economy of the United States by raising taxes, despite the protestations of the factually challenged Democrats who wrote this bill, which is nothing more than a lighter version of the Green New Deal.

The Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation found that taxes would jump by $16.7 billion on American taxpayers making less than $200,000 in 2023 and raise another $14.1 billion on taxpayers who make between $200,000 and $500,000.

During the 10-year window, the average tax rate would go up for most income categories, the Senate GOP said, citing the data from the joint committee. And by 2031, new energy credits and subsidies would have people earning less than $400,000 pay as much as two-thirds of the additional tax revenue collected that year, the release said.

“Americans are already experiencing the consequences of Democrats’ reckless economic policies. The mislabeled ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ will do nothing to bring the economy out of stagnation and recession, but it will raise billions of dollars in taxes on Americans making less than $400,000,” said Sen. Mike Crapo, an Idaho Republican who sits on the Senate Finance Committee as a ranking member, and who requested the analysis.

As always, the Democrats can only claim the Inflation Redaction will be beneficial to the economy of the United Stated by playing fast and loose with the truth.

Democrats are at it again using budget gimmicks and fake sunsets to create savings on paper – just like they did in the $5 trillion Build Back Broke bill that passed the House last year – while in reality delivering more spending, more inflation, and more debt. In total, the Democrats’ current inflationary reconciliation bill will spend $728 billion and add $114 billion in new debt. It will dump more fuel on the inflation fire while layering on top billions in new taxes that will hit middle class families and U.S manufacturers. One has to ask a simple question, how will this do anything to help lower prices?

Joe Manchin appears to be delusional when he announced support for this farce.

I always wanted to do something I could for my country, and this is all about my country,” Manchin outlined. “It’s not about my politics or someone else’s politics or my friends on the Republican side or my friends on the Democrat side or whoever is upset with me. It had nothing to do about any of us. This is about what can we do for the country.”

He continued, “And right now, inflation is the greatest threat that we have. It’s hurting every West Virginian, I can assure you, at the gas pump, at the food store, and their energy bills, and just their daily lives. And if we have a chance — and I’ve said this all along — if I ever had a chance to have an energy policy that was balanced and we could basically make sure we were producing more energy for what we have rather than going around the world asking other people to produce for us, shouldn’t we do that? That’s something we all wanted, and that’s what we got out of this. It’s a great bill.”

Photo by Yassine Khalfalli on Unsplash

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – I am no economist and so would have poor skills in predicting where this incredible inflation will end, but man, it has got to end somewhere.

When I retired from teaching a year and a half ago, my pension was comfortable. Now? It doesn’t go nearly as far as it did then. That’s why when my church needed a part-time receptionist in the office, I took it on. I figured the extra money would ease the pain. And then, when they asked me to add another day and work four days a week, I agreed to that, too.  Picking up that extra four or five days a month looked good. Now I’m thinking I need to ramp up my paid writing sideline a bit and earn even more.

We just returned from a trip to Iowa where my husband’s family lives. From Louisiana, we usually spend about $200 to $250 in gas there and back each year. This year it was literally double, costing us right at $100 every time we filled up. On top of that, rising food prices are causing pain at the grocery store, too. Across the nation, more and more people are looking for supplemental income. According to the Washington Post, “the percentage of employed people working multiple jobs in the United States has steadily increased since March 2020 from 4 percent in April 2020 to 4.8 percent in June 2022…”.  That percentage seems somewhat low to me.

In Iowa, where we just spent a week, we were in the south-central region. I know there are very liberal pockets in Iowa, but there are plenty of conservatives, too, and we met a lot of them. I saw one lady in the grocery store wearing a t-shirt that said, “Buck Joe Fiden.” Uh, okay. I saw a lot of Trump flags, and I saw zero Biden signs although I know there are Biden supporters there.

The chatter I heard at baseball games, in the stores, and in the shops were all full of angst at the state of the economy. My husband’s family is a farming family with a generational farm. The cost of fuel to run tractors and trucks is just crippling and many farmers will not make it because of this. It is devastating in the Midwest.

Like I said, I’m not sure where all this will end up, or who will be left standing when it’s over, if it is ever over, but I, for one, am working double time to get debts paid off and sock something back before everything implodes. I have one friend, an older lady who has seen some things in her day, who is selling off assets and putting up cash. She is downsizing, selling off jewelry with no sentimental meaning, putting up cold cash whenever she can. “I’m scared,” she told me. “I’ve never seen it like this, and I’m scared.” She is not usually this reactive.

She’s not wrong.

Photo by Krzysztof Hepner on Unsplash

By: Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT – When I read an article about rising food costs and see something like “Milk is 13% more expensive than last spring, and beef prices are up 16% over last year,” those numbers are vague to me. They don’t process. I can look at 13% and 16% and know those are pretty good price jumps, but the impact of rising food prices is much more obvious when you look at individual items.

For example, one of the things we purchase is cat litter. Six months ago, we were paying $3.56 for a 5 lb. bag; now, the same bag is just over $5.  I sometimes purchase these little individual cups of Del Monte grapefruit for grab and go breakfast. Six months ago, it was right at $1 for one of these; now it’s $1.53. I guess that is still a low cost for breakfast, but it’s indicative of a much larger problem.

These rising prices are affecting everything you put in your shopping cart. A store manager recently told me that the rising costs stem from having to pay more for materials, for inks to print labels, to the higher cost of producing the product you are actually buying, and the transportation to get it to your store. Even labor shortages contribute to higher costs.

Part of the problem is all of that stimulus money which has to be reabsorbed back into the system; more money floating around means rising prices. Another factor is soaring fertilizer prices, the effects of which will continue to make food costs rise worldwide.

Bottom line is that even to a non-economist person like me, we can see that prices of literally everything we buy are soaring and there seems to be no end to it.

More than once lately I have wished for a big vegetable garden; sadly, I don’t have enough sun in my yard to even grow a tomato plant.

Because my husband is retired military, we have access to the commissary which has traditionally offered lower prices for many items, but now this is one area where shortages are quite evident, and shelves are bare. Prices seem to be about in line with prices everywhere else now. While there is still some savings to be had on certain items there, the bottom line is that comparison shopping is becoming an art form.

We have been watching sale flyers for the grocery stores and stocking up on shelf-stable items when we can. If coffee is on sale, we stock up. I find I’m buying fewer snack items (not a bad thing!) that before and I’m stretching leftovers and being more mindful about waste.

It makes me worry about the working poor – and maybe I’m in that group! – who don’t qualify for government assistance but who isn’t wealthy either. Between rising gas prices, rising food prices, and overall inflation, we will all be on tighter budgets for some time to come.

Clipping coupons has never been my thing; I either forget them or resent having to by a dozen of something just to save a quarter, but maybe I need to take another look!

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport and at Medium; she is the author of Cane River Bohemia: Cammie Henry and her Circle at Melrose Plantation. Follow her on Instagram @patbecker25 and Twitter @paustin110.