Our increasingly ugly inflation problem is a perfect illustration of the Biden administration’s uncanny ability to get everything everywhere wrong all at once.
The Biden administration’s first response to any problem is to pretend that it isn’t a problem. That’s how inflation went from a minor problem to a major one. Unwilling to take the necessary steps to rein in inflation early — pushing the Fed to raise interest rates and slowing down the torrent of money going out the Treasury’s doors — Biden and congressional Democrats at first insisted that inflation wasn’t a real problem: “Transitory,” they called it.
And then when inflation turned out not to be transitory, they thought they could just pin it on the Russians. Jen Psaki sniffed smugly at the “Putin price hike,” as though Americans were too stupid to understand that inflation at home had started long before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. That gambit fizzled, too.
When you don’t have any fresh ideas or real principles — and when your long-term goals are limited by the fact that the president, who was born during the Roosevelt administration, isn’t exactly buying any green bananas — then the easiest thing to do is to throw money at every problem.
Throwing money at things is how you make inflation worse.
Washington had already thrown a lot of money at the economy during the COVID-19 emergency, and, predictably, the emergency spending outlasted the emergency. By the time Biden was elected in 2020, Washington had thrown $2.6 trillion in budgetary resources at COVID and had authorized as much as $4 trillion in subsidized federal lending. That was new money amounting to about a third of GDP sloshing around the economy. Biden’s first priority was pushing out another $1 trillion in a phony infrastructure bill (that has little to do with actual infrastructure) and a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill, even though the Consumer Price Index was already rising steeply, according to the Federal Reserve.
Our inflation problem is only partly an issue of dovish monetary policy and reckless spending. There are problems in the real-world physical economy, too, those “supply-chain issues” we hear about. The Biden administration has done extraordinarily dumb things to make these worse, too, keeping in place the worst of the Trump administration’s anti-trade policies. That “Made in the USA” talk sounds good on the stump, but the truth is we need a lot that we don’t make at home and aren’t going to — including much of the steel and other vital inputs for the high-value manufacturing we actually do here.
The incredible fact is the Biden administration still had punitive tariffs on Ukrainian steel while it was seeking financial aid for the Ukrainians — it wasn’t until the Chamber of Commerce and conservative critics started making a stink that the administration changed its stance.
Biden has rejected obvious reforms such as waiving the Jones Act, which keeps goods — and fuel — from moving from one US port to another via ship. It has backed union efforts to prevent operators from improving the capacity and efficiency of our ports through automation, sacrificing that progress in favor of a make-work policy for the benefit of longshoremen. Nearly none of that “infrastructure” money has made its way to any project that would actually ease supply-chain issues.
Interfering with trade during a supply-chain crisis is how you make inflation worse.
The United States, Canada and Mexico together make up a formidable energy superpower. But it does not matter how much oil and gas you have if you cannot get it to refineries and then get the refined products to consumers. Biden killed the Keystone XL pipeline, and his EPA is standing on the neck of developing any new conventional energy infrastructure. As gasoline prices skyrocket, US refineries in the Gulf are sending much of their gasoline to Mexico to be sold, because there is no economic way to get it to the Northeast or the West Coast.
Biden is contemplating a trip to Saudi Arabia to beg OPEC to produce more oil —apparently, nobody has told him that Midland, Texas, is a hell of a lot closer.
Driving up energy prices for no good reason is how you make inflation worse.
Inflation is sometimes associated with a booming economy, but our economy shrank in the last quarter. Biden, who was in the Senate in the 1970s, is old enough to remember the word “stagflation,” which is what you get when you have a stagnant economy and inflation at the same time.
And it is what you get when you combine the wrong monetary policy with the wrong fiscal policy, the wrong trade policy, the wrong regulatory policy, and the wrong energy policy.
And that’s how you make inflation worse.
Obsession with reversal of Trump policies proving disastrous
On 30 September 1938, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain joined France and Italy in the Munich Agreement which pledged that these countries would not interfere with Germany’s annexation of the Sudeten section of Czechoslovakia, which was inhabited by ethnic Germans.
This treaty became known as the “Munich Betrayal” because it violated mutual defense treaties signed in 1924 and 1925 by France and Czechoslovakia. Subsequent events showed that this treaty simply allowed Adolph Hitler the additional time he needed to conquer Europe one victim at a time. Eventually, he turned on Britain as well. For those reasons, Neville Chamberlain’s name has become synonymous with “appeaser”, “coward” and “naïve”.
In 2022, Joseph Biden is facing a similar dilemma. Russia and China are both asserting the same claim that Hitler used as an excuse to begin his invasion of most of Europe, namely, the ethnic heritage of the target countries. To date, Biden, like Barack Obama, seems inclined to imitate Chamberlain rather than Churchill.
The irony is that Biden himself has created this dilemma. His predecessor had implemented a set of solutions aimed at avoiding the very problems Biden is now facing. Underlying all of these problems is the Bidens’ lack of understanding that many actions taken in governing the homeland have foreign policy consequences as well. Biden and his cohorts appear to be living in a little bubble.
The present situation in Europe is a case in point. Much to the satisfaction of the radical Left, the new President cancelled the Keystone Pipeline, then the Anwar Pipeline in Alaska, followed by declaring all federal lands and seas off limits to all new oil drilling and pipelines, effectively crippling the energy industry in America and, incidentally, eliminating the USA’s energy independence as well as our ability to export energy products to other countries, especially Europe, Japan and China.
In a spasm of righteousness, he also reversed America’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear materials production agreement as well as the other “green planet” agreements of the Obama administration. He also abandoned Israel and Afghanistan. And Germany got to keep the Nord Stream Pipeline. What he seemed to miss was the effect all this would have on Germany, NATO and Russia – with China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan in the wings.
Our adversaries are watching all this. They have also seen the invasion of foreigners through our southern border, the steep inflation of our economy, the deep division of our population, and the paralysis around the COVID 19 pandemic.
They decided to take advantage of all this and make their play for their own dreams of conquering new territory. Russia covets control of Ukraine now, with the rest of the former Soviet empire on its agenda. China, having already broken its treaty with the UK and taken control of Hong Kong, now wants to annex Taiwan on its way to replacing the USA as the dominant power in the Western Pacific. (USA interests are commercial trade relationships rather than territorial – including China.)
So, let’s connect the dots. The most urgent issue at the moment is Russia’s interest in Ukraine. Why is that a concern of the United States? That is a good question. The answer really goes back to 1945.
World War II ended when Nazi Germany found the eastern half of the country occupied by the Soviet Union and the other half by the Allies, led by the United States, which had saved Europe from the Nazis, aided by the UK and France.
The Americans wanted to stop fighting and go home. The Soviets, however, saw no reason not to extend their occupation and they had the army standing by to replace the Germans as the conquerors of the rest of Europe.
Actually, the Allies faced the distinct possibility of that happening if they did in fact go home. To avoid the possibility of the Soviet Union using its army to occupy the rest of Europe after the surrender, US President Roosevelt and UK Prime Minister Churchill were able to persuade their other ally, Soviet Leader Josef Stalin, to divide Germany into four zones: USA, Soviet Russia, UK, and France, thus leveraging their power which Stalin still needed to win the war. (That treaty was the controversial Potsdam Agreement.)
When the actual surrender came, then, General Dwight Eisenhower, as Supreme Allied Commander, authorized the Soviet occupation of what came to be called East Germany (for which he was criticized in some quarters).
This caution was further justified in 1948 when the Soviets blockaded Berlin. Only the outstanding performance of President Harry Truman’s US Army Air Force in the Berlin Airlift avoided another war. This incident led to the formation in 1949 of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) to protect Europe from the Soviet Union.
The ultimate concern of the NATO countries with Ukraine (not a member of NATO – although they want to join) is the same that Chamberlain faced in in 1938 with the Nazis, namely, that Russia will keep conquering one country after another until they control all the European countries – by far the major trading partners of the United States. Already, Russian President Vladimir Putin has added Georgia, Belarus, and Crimea and now he is threatening Ukraine (again). At some point in this scenario, World War III would start. Nevertheless, the objections to US involvement in Ukraine are already starting in America.
The force that stands in the way is NATO. It was formed for this purpose and has been successful for 72 years. The mainstay of this alliance on the European continent has been Germany, the most prosperous nation in Europe. However, Germany has a soft underbelly, namely its lack of sufficient sources of energy to support its population. This has become a critical concern of German authorities in recent years.
The closest source for 40% of the energy Germany needs is the new Nord Stream Pipeline which has been built under the Baltic Sea to link Russian oil directly to Germany. This creates a dependence of Europe’s largest and most prosperous nation on the European continent to the Russian Federation. This dependence gives Russia a potential weapon which can be used at any time to cripple the German economy as well as that of France.
The Trump administration dealt with this threat by succeeding in stopping the construction of the pipeline and substituting American energy for Russian energy, thus diffusing the entire issue. At the same time, President Trump strengthened NATO by requiring member nations to contribute their share of the cost of the Alliance and re-arming Poland and other nations bordering Russia one more time. Putin’s hands were tied by this strategy and the threat of war averted.
Joe Biden doesn’t’ have any of these levers. With childish delight he killed America’s energy industry, so that instead of supplying Europe with LNG, we are now pleading with Putin to sell us more of his supply. We have gone from seller to buyer. Biden has painted himself into a corner.
To add to his inept diplomacy, his administration has openly threatened Russia with an American cyber attack, not realizing apparently that American intelligence is unanimous in estimating that Russian cyber warfare capabilities exceed America’s. Russia is thought to possess EMP (electromagnetic pulse) technology which could cause a nuclear explosion powerful enough to cripple our entire electrical grid – a catastrophic weapon. The Americans have spent little on hardening our electrical grid, and our military spends more time on CRT briefings than on developing an offensive EMP weapon. So, Biden is playing with fire. We can only hope that we don’t get burned.
The bottom line is that there are consequences to every major action of an American president. To ignore these consequences is to disqualify oneself and one’s advisors from office.
Maybe impeachment isn’t such a bad idea after all. . .
Biden gets desperate
A wise man once said: “When the economy is bad, people blame the party in power. When the economy is good, people look at other issues.”
Well, the economy is bad. Nice-sounding growth, job, and wage numbers do not count for much when the American standard of living is in decline. Inflation has outpaced income gains since last year. It remains at a 40-year high. Gas costs more than four dollars per gallon—sometimes much more—in every state. Americans under 40 years old are experiencing consumer delays, shortages, and scarce necessities, including baby formula, for the first time in their lives. According to the Pew Research Center, 70 percent of Americans say that inflation is “a very big problem.”
It’s also a very big problem for the party in power. President Biden’s economic approval rating is 34 percent in the most recent CNN poll. His overall job approval rating is 41 percent in the FiveThirtyEight average of polls. Republicans have held a slight but durable lead in the congressional generic ballot since last October. The midterm election is less than six months away. To preserve their narrow majorities in Congress, Democrats need to change the trajectory of this campaign. Right now.
Their solution? Pretend that the election isn’t a referendum on Biden’s job performance but a choice between Biden and Donald Trump. Scare voters with references to the extremism of the right. Invoking Trump alone is not enough, however. Terry McAuliffe tried that approach during last year’s Virginia gubernatorial campaign and it flopped. McAuliffe lost. Running against Trump and the Make America Great Again (MAGA) movement doesn’t work when Trump is neither president nor on the ballot. Democrats have convinced themselves that victory in the fall requires something scarier than MAGA. It requires Ultra-MAGA.
On May 10 Biden contrasted his policies with the “Ultra-MAGA Agenda.” Haven’t heard of it? According to Biden, it’s the brainchild of Senator Rick Scott of Florida, head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. (In his remarks, Biden erroneously said Scott hails from Wisconsin.) Back in February, Scott released a policy document that remains controversial within the Republican Party and that few Republican candidates have endorsed in full.
Biden isn’t subtle. He wants to use Scott’s proposals as an electoral cudgel, just as Barack Obama campaigned against Paul Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity” in 2012. Hence Biden’s description of “the ultra-MAGA plan put forward by congressional Republicans to raise taxes on working families; lower the incomes of American workers; threaten the sacred programs American count on like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; and give break after break to big corporations and billionaires.” Biden says that his foes are not ordinary Republicans. They are not run-of-the-mill Trump voters. They are “Ultra-MAGA Republicans.”
Someone has been spending too much time in focus groups. The Biden administration and congressional Democrats must think that the prefix “ultra” makes a noun sound spooky. But the president and his underlings will have to specify who really counts as an Ultra-MAGA Republican, what the Ultra-MAGA agenda entails, and when “ultra” should be capitalized before voters stop worrying about rising prices, violent crime, insecure borders, and craziness in schools. In its current usage, “ultra-MAGA” comes across as comical. It’s a hackneyed slogan. Some people may even find it appealing.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters the other day that “ultra-MAGA” is the president’s coinage for Republicans who support Rick Scott’s plan, Justice Samuel Alito’s draft opinion returning abortion law to the states, and Governor Ron DeSantis’s (R., Fla.) fight with Disney. “And so,” said Psaki, “to him, adding a little ‘ultra’ to it, gives it a little extra pop.”
A little extra pop? What is Psaki talking about—a new flavor of Pringles?
The Democrats are unable or incapable of running on their accomplishments. Their economic agenda is discredited among voters grappling with inflation. Their traditional advantage on education has narrowed because of parental fury at school closures, mask rules, confusing COVID guidance, and politically correct school boards. They have fallen back on scaremongering and name-calling.
Not for the first time. Nor for the last. Expect the alarm bells to ring louder as autumn approaches. By Election Day, Biden will have moved from “Ultra-MAGA” to “Mega-MAGA,” “Super-Duper MAGA,” “MAGA Deluxe XXL,” and, in homage to his love of ice cream, “All-Out Triple Scoop Chunky Monkey MAGA with Extra Deplorables.” Voters will respond as they usually do when Biden speaks. They will ignore him.
Despite pushing Congress to approve an additional $33 billion in lethal aid to Ukraine amidst its ongoing effort to repel Russian invaders and drive them from their homeland, U.S. voters still regard President Joe Biden as a weaker leader than any of his predecessors.
The polling firm Rasmussen Reports queried 1,000 U.S. voters likely to cast ballots in the next election about their feelings regarding Biden’s leadership. Only 24 percent of those who responded said they found him to be a “stronger commander-in-chief” than those who preceded him in office.
The public’s view of Biden’s ability to handle pressing issues of national security was undoubtfully shaped unfavorably by the sudden, chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan that took enemies and allies alike by surprise.
In the ensuing chaos, people who had worked with the United States forces and those who had partnered with the Americans on national building projects under George W. Bush and Barack Obama found themselves left behind, unable to get out of the country now that the various provinces and capital city of Kabul had come under the control of the Taliban.
The findings in the latest poll, Rasmussen Reports said, were largely unchanged from November 2021, before the Russians launched their unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. In that survey, 57 percent of respondents said Biden was weaker than his predecessors.
Supporter for Biden has been steadily declining since he came into office. His job approval rating in various polls, which started above 60 percent, has dropped into the low 40s and threatens to go even lower as the election nears, due in the main to the perception the current administration has done a poor job controlling inflation and has shown little concern for its impact on the working men and women who used to make up the bulwark of the Democratic Party’s winning electoral coalition.
Shockingly, two-thirds of those responding to the survey who are current or former members of the U.S. military – 64 percent – agreed Biden was a weaker leader than those who came before him. Though only a small part of the survey – 15 percent – their educated opinion on such matters is not something the current administration should ignore going forward.
According to the Rasmussen analysis, not even half of the Democrats who answered the survey conducted online and by telephone would say Biden was “stronger.” Just 41 percent of those in the president’s party agreed with that position, as did 8 percent of Republicans and 21 percent of independents polled. A whopping 84 percent of likely GOP voters said Biden “is a weaker commander in chief compared to most recent presidents,” as did 26 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of unaffiliated voters.
When it comes to dealing with other world leaders, 60 percent of all likely voters found Biden to be “less aggressive than most recent presidents in pushing what’s best for America.” Only 23 percent said he was more aggressive, while just 12 percent said he was “about the same” in pushing for America’s interests.
Those finding Biden “less aggressive” included 80 percent of Republicans, 37 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of unaffiliated voters.
The survey of 1,000 U.S. Likely Voters was conducted on April 24-25, 2022, by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.
The Biden administration is over. Sure, he has another two years plus in the White House and might even win a second term (if he runs and if the GOP nominates an unelectable candidate), but he’s lost the ability to set the agenda for the country, and he’s not getting it back.
Some people argue he’s been derailed by events which, as former British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan famously said presented the biggest challenge to any administration, but that’s not true. Biden and his people have exhibited a degree of organizational incompetence and a tin ear for the public sentiment on key issues.
Emblematic of all this is special climate envoy John F. Kerry, a former Secretary of State and the 2004 Democratic nominee for president. He cheerfully travels the world in private jets to receive awards for his work combatting global warming, is caught flying maskless on commercial flights despite his own administration’s transportation masking mandate and reacts to the Russian invasion of Ukraine by voicing concerns it will distract from the effort to move the economy of the West away from its reliance on fossil fuels.
Kerry’s also dismissive of the job losses and economic dislocations that would occur if, as the Biden administration is pushing for, the U.S. economy were to transition from one dependent on fossil fuels to one where renewables were the dominant energy source. He called that an “opportunity” rather than a major crisis for millions of working-class families and employees in the energy sector. Maybe they can just learn to code or grow Belgian endive.
It’s hard to imagine anyone more out of touch with the hoi polloi than that. Unfortunately for us all, Kerry is just the tip of a very large iceberg of party leaders and policymakers indifferent to the needs of hard-working Americans trying to find their way back to prosperity and economic security in the face of rising interest rates and record inflation.
Biden doesn’t have a plan to deal with any of it. He says he does, but that’s posturing. The White House announced with great fanfare nearly a month ago that the president has authorized the release of fuel stocks held in the nation’s strategic petroleum reserves to blunt the spike in the price of gasoline he blamed on Putin.
To set the record straight, gas prices were rising before Putin launched his attack. Energy prices are going up because of Biden’s policies, not global events. Yet the contracts to get the oil in the SPR to market were only completed Thursday. Good thing there wasn’t a real emergency like a nation hostile to the United States or a terrorist group seizing or disabling the Suez Canal.
As for inflation across the economy, the New York Federal Reserve Bank has shown that inflation took off appreciably in 2021, the first year Biden was in office. Even former Obama-Biden Economic Advisor Jason Furman said the inflation now reducing the purchasing power of working Americans is not transitory as the White House originally tried to claim but will instead continue due to increased demand created, as the RNC recently pointed out, by excess savings built by the Democrats’ endless government checks from their $2 trillion so-called COVID stimulus.
All this is costing Biden, as is his failure to push the Build Back Better legislation through Congress or to achieve any progress on the other critical campaign promises he made to the voters who chose to back him in the primary over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders or in the general election against former President Donald Trump.
Much of this is borne out in the latest Gallup Poll, which shows the president to be “stuck” – to use the word employed by the venerable polling firm – in an unpopular place. “During Joe Biden’s fifth quarter in office, which began on January 20 and ended on April 19, an average of 41.3 percent of U.S. adults approved of the job he was doing as president. The latest average is essentially unchanged from the 41.7 percent in his fourth quarter but significantly lower than his first three quarterly averages.”
To put this in perspective, Biden’s latest rating “is lower than that of any prior elected president,” Gallup said, save for Trump, who nonetheless is consistently polling ahead of the current president in polls testing how each would fare in a potential 2024 rematch.
Between then and now, of course, is the 2022 midterm election. Forecasters are predicting the GOP will win control outright, not just of the U.S. House of Representatives but Congress as a whole, further burying Biden’s ability to set the agenda.
Gallup’s analysis of the latest numbers confirms this, saying the president’s low job approval numbers – which are unlikely to improve before the election and it would be ahistorical if they did – stand as “a significant threat to the Democratic Party’s chances of maintaining its slim majorities” in Congress after November. “Typically, unpopular presidents’ parties have lost seats in midterm elections, with the number of seats lost usually much higher for presidents with job approval ratings below 50 percent.”
If the GOP wins control of Congress, it may prove to be the president’s political salvation. Just as Bill Clinton was helped immeasurably by his party’s losing control of the legislative branch in 1994 to Newt Gingrich and the Contract with America Congress, Biden may find it easier to moderate his positions and engage in successful negotiations to get legislation to his desk if he no longer must concern himself with the ability of “The Squad” and other extreme progressives like Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren to tank any bill them deem to be insufficiently socialist-leaning all by themselves.
Like Clinton, Biden would look like the moderate he claimed to be in the campaign by agreeing to Republican efforts to bring in budgets that look balanced, rein in the rate of increase in federal spending, get inflation under control, require work once again in exchange for welfare payments, continue real criminal justice reform, make it easier to start and fund charter schools and do other things that have appeal to suburban voters and working Americans.
If Biden and his staff are smart enough to realize this is how to play the hand the voters are about to deal them, then he becomes a much stronger candidate for a second term – just not on the terms he and others close to him might like. If they go into 2024 forcing the American electorate to choose between heading left or heading right, Biden – or whoever the Democratic nominee is – will almost certainly lose.
Want proof that President Joe Biden’s open border policies are deadly? A Texas National Guard soldier tragically drowned in the Rio Grande River this week while trying to rescue illegal border crossers from the water.
“I can tell you that it has been very dangerous in this stretch of the river this week,” Fox News’s Bill Melugin reported. “We’ve seen three migrants drown this week alone.”
That news comes just weeks after a migrant woman died while trying to scale the U.S.-Mexico border wall.
It’s difficult to calculate just how many tragedies have occurred at the U.S.-Mexico border since the Biden administration issued an unofficial gag order to cut off the press from accessing data held by federal officials but open border policies have long proved deadly. In 2021, at least 650 migrants died during their attempts to illegally cross the U.S.-Mexico border. Many of them succumbed to heat exposure and drowning but others were killed by feuding Mexican cartels.
If the United States’ drug crisis, which is fueled by drug trafficking at the Southern border, wasn’t enough, the rise in deaths among illegal border crossers and now Americans proves that Biden’s open border policies are hurting people.
When Biden assumed office, he moved to eradicate many of the Trump administration’s border security policies such as the “Remain in Mexico” policy which required asylum seekers to await court decisions in Mexico, and immediately halted construction on the border wall. Now, Biden is working to dismantle Title 42, a policy designed to expedite the expulsion of illegal border crossers during the Covid-19 pandemic, and which border agencies were barely enforcing anyway.
Aside from the Biden administration’s official work to dismantle parameter protections, the president and his team essentially welcomed illegal immigrants into the U.S. by telling them they could come to the U.S. once an Obama-era catch and release system was reinstated.
The administration’s weak border rhetoric and policy changes opened the door for many previously hesitant aliens to illegally cross the border without the same level of fear of retribution they felt under the previous administration. Multiple illegal immigrants have admitted as much.
That’s why illegal immigration under Biden has skyrocketed and is only expected to get worse.
In March alone, border officials apprehended at least 221,303 migrants trying to illegally cross the border. That puts border officials on track to make more than two million arrests by the end of the 2022 fiscal year and endure even more tragic migrant and American deaths than last year.
I really am flummoxed by the ineptitude of President Joe Biden and his chief of staff, Ron Klain. Biden has been a Washington politician for half a century, including eight years as vice president and before that a senior senator. Klain is a consummate Washington insider, having worked for Janet Reno, Al Gore, Biden and others.
How are they this inept?
Last summer, the border got swamped with migrants. They sent Vice President Kamala Harris south of the border and the situation never improved. Activists accused border patrol agents of whipping refugees with horsewhips. The White House condemned the act. But an investigation recently revealed no immigrants were whipped. White House staff have declined to apologize for believing the allegation.
Many border patrol agents are Hispanic. The criticisms of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the border patrol by the left are criticisms of Hispanic voters and their families — a constituency the Democrats are losing. But the White House seems openly hostile to both.
Now, having seen what monsoon of migrants the summer brought last year, the Biden administration is preparing for the expiration of Title 42. The pandemic is receding. Title 42 can be deployed as a health care power so long as the pandemic is at the forefront. It allows the surgeon general to keep people from entering the United States due to a health care crisis. With a receding pandemic, Title 42 has to go away. It’s only a matter of time before some enterprising Trump judge scraps it to exacerbate the political problems for Biden.
Here’s the thing: How are we in April of 2022 in a midterm election and the White House clearly has no plan to deal with the surge of illegal immigrants and expiration of Title 42? Their own polling shows this issue is pushing Hispanic voters to the GOP and they’ve got nothing. They have had plenty of time to prepare and did nothing to prepare.
How are they this inept?
The Biden administration was caught flat-footed on Ukraine too. They knew the Russians would invade. They chose to provide Ukraine help but have constantly scaled back their original offers. The administration has slow-walked intelligence to Ukraine, putting the Republicans in a more pro-Ukraine position than Biden. Biden has accused Russia of genocide and then taken no actions equal to the accusation. Just last week, the United States promised helicopters on a Thursday and walked back the promise that same Friday.
How are they this inept?
Then there is the mask issue. They could have let it expire a few weeks ago and taken the credit. Instead, a federal judge in Florida threw it out. Then Joe Biden himself said people should have the choice whether they want to wear a mask or not. Less than six hours later, his administration decided to appeal to get the mask mandate reinstated. But they are not going to ask for its immediate reinstatement. Instead, they’re going to ask for the authority to be able to reimpose it in the future.
So, in other words, Biden could have canceled the mask mandate a few weeks ago, rendered the court case moot, preserved the power to reimpose it and taken credit for its end. But Biden and Klain did not. Instead, they will now ask a court to preserve power for the organization that insists you not eat raw cookie dough and cook your steak to an internal temperature of 145 F.
How are they this inept?
Between the border, Ukraine and the masks, they really have no plans for governing. They have just decided to perpetuate the status quo of their own making in the hope that something shakes out. They are careening from crisis to crisis, two clowns in bumper cars colliding with crises of their own creation.
The best they have going now are their pundit partisans lamenting that really Biden is a victim of circumstance unable to control anything. And that is not much of a defense.
Some might say this is all part of some elaborate plan, but the Republicans are about to wipe them out. That is most assuredly not part of the plan. How are they this inept?
For at least a decade, American progressives have been waging war on the nation’s energy sector. They’re all in on wind and solar and are using scare tactics, tax breaks, and government preferences to push a Green Agenda that leaves zero room for oil, coal, or natural gas.
That’s the real Biden policy, fulfilling a vow he made in September 2019: “I guarantee you, we are going to end fossil fuel.” And for the past 15 months, the president has done his best to keep that commitment.
Such grandiose plans come at a price. Biden’s anti-fossil energy positions are causing tremendous political harm to himself and his party. Prices are up. His approval is down. His solution? Pass the buck, as the White House did recently when it called the spike in energy costs “Putin’s Price Hike.”
The people aren’t buying. Only 27 percent of voters in a recent Winston Group survey agreed America must “reduce reliance on oil and gas even if it means higher costs because that is the only way to ensure a transition to alternative energy.” By more than two to one they believe, the nation should continue to rely on oil and gas to meet current energy demands while “transitioning over to alternative energy” sources.
America’s current energy needs conflict with the Biden Administration’s climate policy priorities, but that doesn’t stop progressives from arguing the need for more green energy and less traditional fuels. Even when the average national price at the pump is well over $4 a gallon.
Energy costs are the main driver of inflation. In 2021, they were up 29 percent over the previous year. The price of gasoline surged, fuel oil costs jumped 41 percent, and overall yearly inflation hit an alarming 7 percent. The Biden people haven’t got a clue. In early March White House Press Secretary Jenn Psaki incorrectly claimed the administration’s energy policy was not to blame for increased prices. When pressed, she argued “The Keystone Pipeline was not processing oil through the system. That does not solve any problems. That’s a misdiagnosis or maybe a misdiagnosis of what needs to happen.”
It’s Psaki who made the “misdiagnosis.” An operational Keystone XL would have augmented the capacity of an existing pipeline running from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin, delivering 830,000 additional barrels of oil a day.
Biden’s vilification of the oil and natural gas industry at a time when it’s needed to keep the economy and the country going is not new. Since its earliest days, his administration has pushed the cost of conventional fuels up through the Keystone XL Pipeline cancellation and the moratorium on new oil and gas leases on federal lands. Republican Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana recently released a study identifying more than 80 specific actions the Biden Administration has taken on energy-related matters that have helped boost the price at the pump. In Banks’ words, “President Biden has waged an unprecedented, government-wide assault on our nation’s ability to produce cheap, reliable energy.”
That’s why Americans have seen a steady increase in energy prices, not the invasion of Ukraine. Biden’s moratorium on federal leases is another problem. Many current leases are tied up in litigation. New leases on federal land were brought to a halt. The administration’s refusal to renew the Interior Department’s five-year offshore leasing plan, set to expire at the end of June has imposed a further strain on production. If the plan is not renewed, expect overall fuel production to drop by the tune of 500,000 fewer barrels of oil and gas produced per day from 2022 to 2040.
The United States Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook 2022 predicts petroleum and natural gas will be the most used fuels in the U.S. through the year 2050. That’s reality – unless the government intervenes by imposing mandates that restrict or ration the production and use of fossil fuels.
That’s a problem domestically and internationally. Having the ability to turn the spigot on here at home, means there’s no need to reach out to hostile countries with offers to alleviate economic sanctions placed on them over their disregard for human rights and the threats they pose to the United States in exchange for access to their oil reserves. That’s a fool’s bargain – but one America’s current leadership is telegraphing it is ready to make.
Even without the war in Ukraine, people have realized we need abundant, reliable oil and gas “made in America.” Going to other countries is not the answer, nor is making an expensive, lengthy, transition to renewable sources that compromises our economic strength and national security.
We must increase oil and gas production in the U.S. now. We have the resources – we need the administration to get out of the way of developing them.
The president's $5.8 trillion budget shows he wants more of the same government spending that is already sending prices through the roof.
“My dad had an expression,” said President Joe Biden as he announced his budget plan for FY 2023. “Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget, and I’ll tell you what you value.”
So at the very moment that we’re experiencing the highest inflation in 40 years, what does Biden value? The same sort of government spending that is already sending prices through the roof.
You’d figure that with Covid receding, debt rising, and a tidal wave of unfunded liabilities staring us right in the kisser, Biden would take the opportunity to radically reset the federal government’s balance sheet. Instead, his budget plan could be titled Rearranging Deck Chairs on the Titanic.
The president wants to spend $5.8 trillion, which would include jacking spending on defense, education, and police. He talks about levying a controversial—and probably unconstitutional—wealth tax on billionaires to help pay for it all but still expects a budget deficit of $1.2 trillion (see Table S1 in Summary Tables)! If you’re going to tax unrealized capital gains, President Biden, at least spend it on something pretty!
It’s debt-financed spending that helps spur inflation in the first place. Rather than cutting spending and reforming entitlements, the government borrows and prints money so it can keep giving more goodies to its favored citizens. You get more dollars chasing the same amount of goods, and that leads to price hikes.
Meanwhile, at least a dozen states—including such far-flung places as California, Georgia, Hawaii, and Maine—are thinking about giving residents money to spend on things like gas, the price of which has gone through the roof. “Direct relief will address the issue that we all are struggling to address,” says California Gov. Gavin Newsom. “That’s the issue of gas prices, not only here in our state, but of course, all across this country.”
Is he serious? Doling out tax dollars to alleviate the pain of inflation is like drinking a beer in the morning to ease your hangover. It’s only setting up the next binge.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has announced a series of interest rate hikes to help tame inflation, but in a recent speech, he made no mention of the increase in the money supply measured by M2, which has risen by a record 41 percent in two years, or of the Federal Reserve’s holding of U.S. debt, which has jumped $3.5 trillion over the same time period.
Powell’s interest rate hikes will be small enough that it’s unclear whether they will have much impact. Back in the 1980s, Fed Chairman Paul Volcker allowed the fed funds rate to more than double in less than two years’ time to over 20 percent, which helped kill inflation but also caused the most severe recession since the Great Depression.
According to recent conservative estimates from the Congressional Budget Office, as the federal budget grows, the cost of paying interest on the debt will keep increasing until it accounts for about 24 cents of every dollar spent by 2050. And that’s assuming interest rates will remain historically low.
So even moderate increases in the fed funds rate would push the cost of servicing the debt much higher, causing the government to borrow more money and kicking us into a vicious cycle of economic despair.
Biden can talk a good game about “returning our fiscal house to order,” but it’s clear he doesn’t understand why prices are going up—and that his policies will keep them high for the foreseeable future. That might cost Democrats control of the House and the Senate in the fall and perhaps Biden the White House in 2024.
That will be too bad for him and his party. But his unwillingness to confront massive spending and debt is going to cost all of us a lot more than that.
The president has an unerring instinct to make problems worse
“This is a wartime bridge to increase oil supply into production,” President Biden said during his announcement Thursday that he would release more barrels of oil from the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve than at any point in American history. His decision was also a concession. None of the policies Biden has enacted throughout his short presidency have alleviated the problems they were meant to solve. Quite the opposite: In practically every case, Biden has made things worse.
Energy? Killing the Keystone pipeline was one of the first things Biden did when he took office. In February, Biden delayed approval of new oil and gas leases. He continues to blame the increase in gas prices on Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, even though prices began to rise early in Biden’s term. Biden scapegoats oil companies for sitting on profits, while he could be doing everything in his power to ramp up domestic production of available fuel sources—including nuclear.
The fallout from Putin’s war was bound to make energy scarce and thus more valuable. Biden could have lessened the pain on the American consumer by pursuing an all-of-the-above energy dominance policy from the start, and by reducing the size of the American Rescue Plan so that it didn’t contribute to inflation. He chose to ignore the warnings of economists such as former Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers and followed his advisers who incorrectly predicted that inflation would be temporary. By turning to the Strategic Reserve, Biden is promoting a temporary fix while the long-term solutions are plain to see. He’s relied on similar gimmicks before. They haven’t worked.
Consider Biden’s immigration policy. He spent his early days as president tearing up President Trump’s agreements with Mexico and several Central American countries that forced asylum-seekers to stay in third-party nations while U.S. judges decided on their claims. The rush for the border was swift and ongoing. This week, Biden is expected to reverse a rule Trump enforced during the coronavirus pandemic that allowed border agents to repatriate illegal immigrants swiftly because of the public health emergency. Homeland Security officials tell the New York Times that because of Biden’s decision they are planning on unauthorized crossings to double from an already high level. Republicans must be giddy with anticipation at the coming headlines.
Immigration and the border were the first places where you saw erosion in Biden’s job approval numbers last spring. Now he’s about to do something that will undermine border security and his political standing, and for no discernible reason. The pandemic is not over. Border crossings aren’t falling. We know that Biden’s decision will attract additional illegal immigrants. Nothing about this policy makes sense.
Biden doesn’t make sense. His Europe trip was a substantive success but a stylistic failure. The Western alliance is holding. But the president gaffed his way across Eastern Europe—saying the West would respond “in kind” to a Russian chemical attack, denying the deterrent value of sanctions when his subordinates have said precisely the opposite, telling U.S. troops that they would see the horrors of war in Ukraine firsthand, then raising the possibility that America’s strategic goal is regime change in Russia. Then, when Fox’s Peter Doocy soberly asked him about these inadvisable statements, Biden denied that he had said anything problematic.
I happen to believe that the world would be a safer place if Vladimir Putin were out of power—that indeed one possible consequence of a Russian defeat in Ukraine is Putin’s demise. I also believe that presidents shouldn’t sound like me. They need to watch their public statements because, as we were reminded throughout the Trump administration, words matter. Biden’s sentiment in Warsaw was correct. His sense of timing was wrong. After all, you never get in trouble for what you don’t say. Biden’s problem is that he rarely lets his actions speak louder than his words. And the words are garbled.
People notice. They don’t like what they hear, they can’t stand what they see. The public verdict on Biden is grim. He has not benefited from a rally-around-the-flag effect. His approval rating continues to fall. He’s at 41 percent approval in the FiveThirtyEight average of polls. He fell under 40 percent approval in this week’s Marist poll. Republicans continue to lead the congressional generic ballot. Democrats recognize that the electoral battlefield has widened. Biden is running out of time to improve his standing. And he hasn’t demonstrated an ability to bounce back as president.
Biden entered office at a time of national emergency. He benefited from the public’s desire to see Donald Trump off the airwaves for the first time in years. He oversaw the successful implementation of the vaccination program Trump had started. The resilience of the American economy helped him too.
Then the situation went sideways. Biden’s problems started on the southern border, ramped up with the Delta variant of coronavirus, accelerated with inflation, spread with the debacle in Afghanistan, and haven’t abated since. His rallying of the West in support of Ukraine is laudable, but he still hasn’t done enough to help the Ukrainians and he keeps stumbling on his own message. His commitments to the left wing of his party keep him from embracing the center. And damaging leaks about the federal investigation into his son’s finances only will mount if Republicans take Congress in November.
Biden’s reliance on the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is telling. This is a presidency that is running out of gas.
The administration wants to double the funding for a federal program that has failed in its aim to close achievement gaps between low-income and higher-income students.
This week, President Joe Biden released his $5.8 trillion budget proposal for 2023 which included a plan to more than double Title I education funds for low-income students. Biden’s 2022 budget proposal included the same plan to double federal Title I spending, but in the end, Congress only approved a 6% increase, about $19 billion less than what the administration requested.
While Congress is equally unlikely to pursue the president’s proposal this year, it’s important to note why doubling down on Title I funding would be such a flawed strategy. Research consistently shows the program, intended to provide federal funding for schools with higher percentages of children from low-income homes, has failed in its aim to close achievement gaps between low-income and higher-income students since its inception in 1965 as part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. For example, a study by researchers at George Mason University concluded:
“Given the modest evidence on academic gains and gaps closure attributable to Title I, and considering that the program costs about $15 billion per year, we conclude that Title I compensatory program has been largely ineffective in accomplishing its goal of closing the achievement gaps between disadvantaged and non-disadvantaged students.”
The ineffectiveness should come as no surprise to those familiar with how Title I works. After Biden proposed the 2022 Title I windfall last year, my colleague Christian Barnard and I highlighted just a few of the program’s faults in National Review:
“The current formulas are riddled with complexity, including political provisions that have nothing to do with students’ needs. For example, states are guaranteed a minimum amount of funding even if their share of Title I–eligible students doesn’t warrant it. As a result, Title I dollars are delivered like buckshot, ranging from Idaho getting $984 per eligible student in 2020 to Vermont getting $2,590 per eligible student — 163 percent more per pupil than Idaho. Title I spending needs to be fixed, not increased.”
Keep in mind that President Biden’s Title I proposal comes at a time when many public schools are already flush with cash, thanks to $190 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funding that is supposed to prioritize students in high-poverty school districts. Not only that, but public schools are also facing sharp enrollment declines, meaning the budget proposal calls for spending more money on fewer kids when K-12 spending is already at record levels.
Policymakers should be skeptical of continuing to pour more money into a broken federal program. Instead, they should pursue reforms that make Title I dollars flexible, so they support giving families more opportunities and the ability to customize their education. For example, Congress could update the program’s allocation rules and ensure the aid follows students to their public or private school of choice.
Lawmakers could also overhaul the program’s complex web of formulas and non-transparent compliance rules that contribute to school districts’ ineffective spending of the federal funding.
There are a lot of needed reforms to reduce achievement gaps and improve outcomes for low-income students, but pouring more money into Title I isn’t one of them.
The White House's latest attempt to scapegoat rising prices ignores everything that happened before the past three weeks.
Ten months ago, Jeremy Siegel issued a dire warning about the trajectory of prices.
“The money supply since the beginning of the pandemic, so a little over a year, has gone up almost 30 percent. Now, that money is not going to disappear. That money is going to find its way into spending and into higher prices,” Siegel, a professor of finance at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, told CNBC during an interview on May 14. “Over the next two, three years we could easily have 20 percent inflation with this increase in the money supply.”
He was hardly the only one sounding the alarm. A few months earlier, before Congress approved President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, several prominent economists had warned that the stimulus bill—the third major one passed since the outbreak of COVID-19 just a year earlier—was too big and threatened to overheat the economy.
Among the critics were people like Lawrence Summers, who served as Treasury Secretary during the Obama administration. “There is a chance that macroeconomic stimulus on a scale closer to World War II levels than normal recession levels will set off inflationary pressures of a kind we have not seen in a generation,” Summers warned in a Washington Post op-ed in February 2021. “Administration officials’ dismissal of even the possibility of inflation, and the difficulties in mobilizing congressional support for tax increases or spending cuts, there is the risk of inflation expectations rising sharply.”
“I think we do not need to spend $1.9 trillion…and we should have a smaller program,” Olivier Blanchard, the former chairman of the International Monetary Fund, wrote on Twitter in response to Summers’ op-ed. Biden’s plan to shovel another $1.9 trillion into the economy was coming on top of unprecedented fiscal stimulus and high personal savings rates (due to the pandemic). Americans were already poised to spend a lot more money chasing the same amount of goods as the pandemic waned, and the increase in demand would require impossible levels of output to match. “Strong inflation” would be the natural result, he warned.
“This would not be overheating,” he wrote. “It would be starting a fire.”
By July, a few months after the American Rescue Plan passed, economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal said Americans should be bracing for levels of inflation not seen in more than 20 years. That dire prediction was an underestimation.
This history matters because the White House’s latest attempt to explain away inflation rates that have hit their highest levels in 40 years is to blame Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the war he has started in Ukraine, for the whole mess. After the Labor Department released new data last week showing that inflation had jumped to 7.9 percent over the past year, the White House responded with a statement claiming that “today’s inflation report is a reminder that Americans’ budgets are being stretched by price increases and families are starting to feel the impacts of Putin’s price hike.”
The argument is that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—and the global response to it, which has included cutting off purchases of Russian oil and gas—are pushing prices higher throughout the economy. “Make no mistake, the current spike in gas prices is largely the fault of Vladimir Putin and has nothing to do with the American Rescue Plan,” Biden said Friday.
It’s true that gas prices have spiked dramatically in the weeks since Russian troops invaded Ukraine. But Biden’s attempt to pin a year of steadily rising prices on the events of the past few weeks makes little sense.
For one thing, last week’s report from the Labor Department showing that inflation had hit 7.9 percent looked at prices from February 2021 through February 2022. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, so the White House is asking you to ignore 361 days of data in order to focus on what happened during the last four.
It’s certainly possible that the war in Ukraine—and the disruptions it has caused to global fuel and food supply chains—will put more upward pressure on prices. But that information won’t be visible in the government’s official data until the next consumer price index report is released in early April.
What about Biden’s more narrow claim: that rising gas prices are largely to blame for inflation. It’s true that higher gas prices will push other prices higher as a result—because higher fuel prices make it more expensive to ship anything from place to place. And the White House is correct that energy prices are rising faster than prices overall. Overall energy prices are up 25.6 percent since last year, and gasoline prices are up 38 percent, according to the Labor Department’s most recent data (which, again, captures prices through the end of February).
But if that’s all Putin’s fault, how do you explain the fact that energy prices—and gasoline prices, specifically—had been rising faster than just about anything else for much of the past year? In November, the Labor Department reported that energy prices were up 33 percent and gasoline prices up 58 percent over the previous year. In August, those numbers were 25 percent and 42 percent, respectively. What’s happening here seems to run a lot deeper than the events of the past few weeks.
“Yes, Putin’s invasion is making a huge difference. But demand for gasoline surged much earlier when consumers, with money in the bank and uninterested in flying because of COVID-19 concerns, put family cars on the road in the midst of the great COVID shutdown, making the number of miles traveled in spring 2021 rise to new heights,” wrote Bruce Yandle, former executive director of the Federal Trade Commission and economist at the Mercatus Center, last week in Reason.
Finally, this brings us back around to the economists who were warning last year that Biden’s stimulus bill would be a recipe for high inflation. It’s unlikely that Siegel, Summers, and the rest had a crystal ball that could predict Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
What they were predicting—and, indeed, what we are now seeing—was persistently rising prices due to an excessive amount of money being dumped into the economy. Any attempt by the Biden administration to explain inflation that doesn’t include a hard look at its own policies is simply dishonest.
Having watched Democrat politicians aspiring to project the appearance of FDR-like progressive reformists into their domestic and foreign policies, a discerning person must necessarily hark back to the well known Bible story about the first couple’s removal from the heavenly paradise. Overwhelmed by the supposed cruelty of their Creator and feeling miserably alone, the Tempter Serpent promised them another way of creating their earthly paradise. Seemingly robbed of any other rational alternative, the mythical Adam and Eve followed the false deity. Tragically for their descendents, this earthly paradise still has not been found. What human history has produced thus far have been a series of undivine and tragic comedies, which have unfailingly ended up in the bottomless black holes of the reincarnated past.
While Presidents Putin and Xi have been busy undermining the domestic stability and international standing of the United States of America, America’s present duo of executive leaders, President Biden as well as Vice President Harris, have been laboring under establishing the perfectly equitable society at home and abroad, in which the pseudo-spiritual triumvirate of racial division, economic decline and energy dependence are the rule and not the exception. In this manner, they and their undemocratic party have presented the American people and the rest of the world with a closed political regime, in which the counterfactual idea of pacifistic-multicultural brotherhood of mankind does not correspond to the domestic and international realities.
Now, the “War in Ukraine” somehow has been linked by President Biden’s idiotic State of the Union Speech with his ruinous Build Back Better domestic political agenda. Rephrasing his essentially failed Marxist program to an equally fallaciously sounding Build a Better America, he blamed his predecessor for all the ills of America. Specifically, he has also blamed former President Trump for the Russian invasion and stated that the United States of America will not undertake any game-changer action to counter the illegal territorial grab by President Putin.
To add insult to injury, he assured the Iranian people that his sympathies lie with them and counterintuitively, he told the Ukranians that as far as he is concerned they do not deserve the same brotherly love as the Iranians do. Never mind that the Islamic Republic of Iran is a terrorist state that has threatened the peace and stability of the greater Middle East since 1979, President Biden agreed to remove the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) from the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations, to withdraw sanctions on Iranian terror masters as well as missile and WMD proliferators and ignore most of the nuclear safeguards. Moreover, when the deal is signed, and without congressional oversight, the Islamic Republic of Iran will automatically receive $90 billion in sanctions relief. Finally, Iran will receive at least $50-55 billion annually in the coming years from oil and gas sales because of the end of sanctions of its energy sector. In addition to enabling the Mullahcracy to build and acquire new and more sophisticated weapons, Tehran will be in the position to expand geostrategically with the help of Russia and China, threatening America’s allies, such as Israel, the GCC countries and beyond.
The upcoming deal will also entitle Russia and China to label Israel and its allies in the UN as aggressors, if they decide to prevent Tehran from acquiring nuclear bombs. More importantly, the American delegation in Vienna lacks any coherent strategy. Led by Robert Malley, who is well known for his extremist pro-Iran views, has also surrendered the conduct of negotiations between the White House and Tehran to the Russian Ambassador Mikhail Ulyanov by appointing him a “mediator” between the United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
As far as President Biden’s pseudo-foreign policy is concerned, it is an insolvable contradiction between being restricted by the requirements of individual freedom and national liberty on the one hand, and the Marxist destruction of the natural relationships of societies, states as well as alliances under the banner of absolute equality and multiculturalism that, in turn, fatally atomizes the world at large, on the other. Instead of American exceptionalism, President Biden has adopted the Marxist cum Bolshevik idea of international relations, in which the contradictory compromise between state centralism and the romantic but unworkable Slavic notion of the primitive Mir communities coalesce. The right to national sovereignty and free agency in international relations have been replaced by the naked despotism of the rulers’ de jour. Russia’s war on Ukraine and President Putin’s uncompromising inhumanity are the newest examples of President Biden’s anti-factual and antisocial psychopathology.
His responses to Russia’s wholesale invasion of Ukraine have also mirrored his demented mind’s sick ideas that do not correspond to the realities of the raging war. While President Putin has initially played the enlightened and Westernized Russian leader, domestically he has instituted cruel repression. When he gave his now infamous speech at the Munich Security Conference on February 10, 2007, President Putin stated: “NATO expansion does not have any relation with the modernization of the Alliance itself, or with ensuring security in Europe. On the contrary, it represents a serious provocation that reduces the level of mutual trust.” Then came an ominous warning: “No one can feel that international law is like a stone wall that will protect them,” meaning the United States of America and its allies. Finally, he intoned thus: “I consider the unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible in today’s world…. Russia is a country with a history that spans more than a thousand years and has practically always used the privilege to carry out an independent foreign policy.”
For all practical purposes, President Putin’s speech was a declaration of war mainly on the United States of America. The response of the Obama Administration, in which President Biden was the Vice President, was “reset,” represented by the language handicapped Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whose qualifications for the job did not go beyond having been married to a former president. Naturally, the “reset’ was the product of totally incompetent minds. President Obama, Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Clinton did not grasp that for President Putin the end of the cold war that was preceded by the collapse of the Soviet Union was an unacceptable occurrence, and a monster that must be defeated at any cost.
Driven by hatred and fear of the monster, he has begun a ferocious persecution of all former Soviet republics. Up until the invasion of Ukraine, President Putin’s entire foreign policy seemed to be a perpetual preparation for the decisive military confrontation with the West. On March 16, 2022, addressing his cabinet, President Putin compared the West to Nazi Germany, declaring that they have been banding together against Russia the same way Nazi Germany did in the 1930s. In the same vein he has said that Russians must “protect themselves from the Western fifth column.”
To wit, neither President Obama nor President Biden has understood that President Putin does not aspire to becoming a democratic leader. The republican form of government with its democratic structures and individual liberty are completely foreign to his whole upbringing, professional background and limited intellect. All these were committed to the sphere of influence of the devilish West.
Thus, instead of responding in kind and defining his own red line, President Biden has never understood the significance of the internal psychology of the fall of the Soviet Union within Russia. In spite of the superficial mimicking of certain Western phenomena, Russia has remained despotic and backward, and thus differing radically in her political culture and institutions from the West, and has been separated from Europe by Ukraine. Corresponding to this untenable situation, is the condition of the Russian economy and its finances. Instead of a lengthy analysis, suffice it to say that Russia’s GDP in 2020 fell from $1,687.45 billion to $1,483.50 billion – a drop of 12.09%. Inflation, unemployment and national debt have risen correspondingly. 2021 and 2022 have been even more disastrous.
With the wholesale invasion of Ukraine, Russia will be bankrupt very soon. Thus, sanctions are the correct measures. However, more needs to be done. President Putin must be presented with an ultimatum – withdraw immediately or face the full might of NATO. President Putin must understand that might does not make right under international law. Moreover, no peace without a complete withdrawal from all the territories seized by Russia since 1992 from Moldova, Georgia and Ukraine, including Crimea. Finally, complete reparations must be paid by Russia for all the war damages that it caused to those states. To acknowledge these demands is the precondition for Russia’s readmission to the community of nations. Otherwise, the two principles of sovereignty and self-determination would be sacrificed on the altar of Russia’s military despotism.
The same fallacious notion of “equity” is the driving force behind President Biden’s China policy. In his demented mind, the international dominance of the United States of America must be brought down and ultimately depressed for the sake of not frightening the People’s Republic of China, which might render the latter more aggressive. It must be so because historically America has claimed to be exceptional and, therefore, has behaved arrogantly toward the rest of the world. Only through the cooperation of America and China could the world tame anarchy and chaos and permanently avoid a nuclear catastrophe. According to him, passivity and pacifism are the only solutions for America to survive. In reality, however, his impotent foreign policy would result in the total collapse of Western civilization. Weakness would invite aggression and unopposed aggression would lead to regression as well as global decomposition of the smaller states. The end result of such a “progression” would be the end of mankind as the world has known it.
President Joe Biden has a problem with numbers. He can’t make them add up and it’s not clear that he knows what they mean. He’s so devoted to his progressive narrative that he becomes confused when the data doesn’t support the conclusions he and his economic team want to reach.
This leads him to say all kinds of wacky things about taxes and prices and spending and inflation that are undermining the American public’s confidence in the U.S. economy. It is possible, as has been proved more than once over the last 25 years, to talk us into a recession. And, with the Atlanta Fed projecting zero growth for the first quarter of 2022, the president and his team may be doing just that.
Consider Biden’s remarks in his most recent State of the Union Address. As a way of pumping up the enthusiasm over his plan to fight inflation and rebuild the American economy following the lockdowns, he criticized the pro-growth tax cuts enacted under his predecessor. “Unlike the $2 trillion tax cut passed in the previous administration that benefited the top 1 percent of Americans,” he said, his American Rescue Plan “helped working people – and left no one behind.”
That, to put it mildly, is an exaggeration of the worst order. The Trump tax cuts benefited the top 1 percent of income earners because they benefited everyone who pays federal income taxes. The only people they didn’t help directly were the roughly 50 percent of Americans who don’t make enough money to pay income tax to Uncle Sam.
Some people, including Mr. Biden, think that’s unfair. Then again these are the same people who confuse tax avoidance – which is the lawful attempt to minimize one’s tax payment – with tax evasion. The latter, which is the practice of not paying taxes legitimately owed, is illegal. If the president and his congressional allies like Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., had their way the former might become illegal any time now too. But that’s a matter for another day.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act Biden derides as only benefiting the wealthy increased the incentive for those “of means” and those who wished to someday be “of means” to make more frequent and more valuable capital investments expecting, as was shown to be the case before the pandemic-inspired lockdowns jiggered the system, that greater financial risk produced greater financial rewards.
This created an environment in which almost every American was a winner. The economy grew, jobs were created, and unemployment sank like a stone among the demographics that garner the most media attention like single women, young African-Americans and Latinos. Productivity rose and with it, as most analysts reported, so did wages.
Biden doesn’t get that. He still believes that for the rich or powerful to do well, the poor and struggle must suffer. It’s an outmoded way of thinking that most people thought died out with the Soviet Union but, as Putin’s invasion of Ukraine reminds us, some threats just never go away.
He’s got it all cocked up on energy too. Asked Thursday about rising prices at the pump, Biden blamed the war in Ukraine and the sanctions that have been imposed on Russia for the spike. That has something to do with it to be sure. The bigger cause is the way the president used what former House Majority Leader and Ph.D. economist Dick Armey calls “the invisible foot of government” to kick America’s energy independence to the curb.
The price of gasoline is rising because America’s energy sector cannot increase production to levels sufficient to meet the demand for gasoline at less than $3 per gallon. To put it another way, Biden broke the spigot by suspending oil leases, restricting exploration, reinstating economically counterproductive regulations, killing the Keystone XL pipeline and doing whatever else he and his brain trust could to conceive to force consumers to speed up their adoption of wind and solar power.
How’s that worked out? Well, since he’s come into office the average American family have seen their annual energy costs increase, by some estimates, by more than $1,000, gas prices have reached the highest level ever recorded – above $4 per gallon on average in 38 states – and congressional Democrats are once again talking about instituting a special tax on “excess” energy company profits that can be paid out to low-income individuals and families to help them deal with higher prices. To call that madness is an insult to the insane.
When asked what he plans to do, the best answer Biden could come up with was to suggest there wasn’t much he could do about it right now. Then he talked about oil companies and production increases and investments as though he understood it all. Here’s what he told the members of the Democratic National Committee Thursday night:
“We are increasing oil production with a [sic] record productivity. By the end of the year, we will have produced more oil than any time in the last number of years. … The CEOs of major oil companies have said they’ll increase investment and production… My message is: It’s time — in this time of war, it’s not a time of profit. It’s time for reinvesting in America. And they hear it. You know, there’s a — there’s an impediment to production in the United States, and it’s called ‘the bankers on Wall Street.’ And this crisis is another indication of why we need to get off dependency on fossil fuels.”
That may be confusing to follow so, to translate, in the president’s view: 1) Energy companies are bad because they profit when prices rise because the politicians have created a global crisis of the 1st order; 2) We have plenty of oil but business isn’t producing it so they can make more money; 3) The big bad bankers on Wall Street are behind it all; and, 4) We need to go green.
As they say, there’s nothing like letting the facts get in the way of a good narrative.
Biden forgot to mention a lot, including how the national average price of gas was already up by $1.14 before Russia invaded Ukraine because of the anti-fossil energy initiatives his administration had taken or announced plans to take — like the Biden SEC’s effort to force public traded companies to disclose the potential economic impact to their business from global warming and greenhouse gas production.
From the largest Cabinet Department to the smallest independent agency, the Biden administration is waging a regulatory war on fossil fuels that touches every sector of the economy. And all the president can say is “What? Who? Me?” A convenient memory lapse assisted by a fundamental misunderstanding of economics is killing off the American energy renaissance.
Thousands are dying from Russian missiles and bombs in the suburbs of Ukraine.
In response, the Biden Administration’s climate-change envoy, multimillionaire and private-jet-owning John Kerry, laments that Russian President Vladimir Putin might no longer remain his partner in reducing global warming.
“You’re going to lose people’s focus,” Kerry frets. “You’re going to lose big-country attention because they will be diverted, and I think it could have a damaging impact.”
Did the global moralist Kerry mean by “impact” the over 650 Russian missiles that impacted Ukrainian buildings and tore apart children?
Are Russian soldiers losing their green “focus”? When Putin threatens nuclear war is he merely “diverted”? Would letting off a few nukes be “damaging” to the human environment?
Climate-change moralists love humanity so much in the abstract that they must shut down its life-giving gas, coal, and oil in the concrete. And they value humans so little that they don’t worry in the here and now that ensuing fuel shortages and exorbitant costs cause wars, spike inflation, and threaten people’s ability to travel or keep warm.
The Biden Administration stopped all gas and oil production in the ANWR region of Alaska. It ended all new federal leases for drilling. It is canceling major new pipelines. It is leveraging lending agencies not to finance oil and gas drilling.
It helped force the cancellation of the EastMed pipeline that would have brought much-needed natural gas to southern Europe. And it has in just a year managed to turn the greatest oil and gas producer in the history of the world into a pathetic global fossil-fuel beggar.
Now gas is heading to well over $5 a gallon. In over-regulated blue states, it will likely hit $7.
The result is left-wing terror that the voters in the coming midterm election might rightly blame Democrats for hamstringing the American ability to travel, keep warm in winter and cool in summer, and buy affordable food.
But how will the Biden Administration square the circle of its own ideological war against oil and natural gas versus handing the advantage to our oil- and gas-producing enemies, as Russia invades Ukraine?
Or put another way, when selfish theory hits deadly reality, who loses? Answer: the American people.
President Joe Biden lifted U.S. sanctions on the Russian-German Nord Stream 2 pipeline designed to provide green Germany with loathsome, but life-saving, natural gas.
But first Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline in the United States. He has no problem with pipelines per se, just American ones.
While Biden doesn’t like the idea of Germany burning carbon fuel, or Putin reaping enormous profits from Berlin’s self-created dependency, or Germans importing liquified natural gas from America, Biden also does not like the idea of forcing German families to turn off their thermostats in mid-winter when there is Russian-fed war not far from Germany’s borders.
Here at home, Biden gets even crazier. As our enemies around the world reap huge profits from record high oil and gas prices, did Biden ask Alaska, North Dakota, or Texas to ramp up production?
In other words, did he ask Americans to save fellow cash-strapped Americans from a self-created energy crisis, in the way he assured the Germans that during war reality trumps theory?
Not at all.
Instead, Biden came up with the most lunatic idea in recent diplomatic history of begging autocratic and hostile regimes the world over to pump more oil to lower America’s gas prices.
For years, America has sanctioned the oil-rich Venezuelan dictatorship, a narco-terrorist state that wars on its own people and its neighbors. Now Biden is begging strongman Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to pump the supposedly dirty fuels America has in even greater abundance but finds it too icky to produce.
Biden also has beseeched the once sanctioned, terrorist Iranian government. He wants Tehran to help us out by upping the very oil and gas production that America has tried to curtail for years. In return, Iran is demanding a new “Iran Deal” that will soon ensure the now petro-rich theocracy the acquisition of nuclear weapons.
On the eve of the Russian invasion, Biden begged Putin to pump even more oil to supplement its current Russian imports to the United States.
Did Putin see that surreal request as yet another sign of American appeasement that might greenlight his upcoming planned invasion? In Russian eyes, was it more proof of American weakness and craziness after the humiliating flight from Afghanistan?
Biden has blasted the human rights record of Saudi Arabia’s royal family. Now he is begging the monarchy to pump more of its despised carbon-spewing oil to make up for what his administration shut down at home. Is that why the Saudi royals refused to take his call?
The moral of Biden’s oil madness?
Elite ideology divorced from reality impoverishes people and can get them killed.