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In an upstate New York TV blitz alleging that the media is “the most powerful and corrupt institution in America” seeking to “smear” GOP candidates and protect their own “chosen candidates,” a conservative Super PAC is asking voters to “send a message to the media bosses” who are corrupting American journalism and give them a “miserable election night” bydefeating Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
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In addition to focusing on Schumer as President Joe Biden’s “chief enabler”—complete with news footage of various Biden foreign and domestic policy fiascos—the strikingly vivid two-minute spot features an image of the far-left Democraticrepresentatives known as the “Squad,” led by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-NY), and charges: “Schumer made a corrupt bargain with left-wing extremists to not run a primary against him if he pushed far-left positions.”
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The ad then lists Schumer’s close ties to radical groups that he has “never had to denounce,” which seek to “defund the police” and “destroy the New York City Police Department.” It also targets Schumer’s “dark money alliance with notorious anti-American billionaire George Soros, who funded all the lawless prosecutors like Alvin Bragg” (a controversial soft-on-crime New York City district attorney). It also ties Schumer to opposition to school reform and parental rights, as well as the destruction of women’s sports and childhood education with “gender lunacy.”
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The ad, which launched on Thursday, August 25 on nightly news programs in the Buffalo, Rochester, and Syracuse markets,is set to run through next week.
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“Our ad is a template for all Republican candidates because every single Senate Democrat—Mark Kelly(D-AZ), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Maggie Hassan(D-NH), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NM)—agreed to vote with the far-left wing of the party so long as they didn’t have to face a primary,” said George Landrith, Chairman of Frontiers of Freedom Action(FFA),the group who ran the ad.
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“Any one of them, as the 50th Senator, could have stopped the Biden agenda—but they didn’t, because they put the wishes of the far left above the wishes oftheir constituents. They essentially said, ‘Don’t primary me, and I will vote your way,’” Landrith said.
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“Most people in these states still find it hard to believe these Senators became extremists,” Landrith continued,“but when you explain why they were so frightened of a well-financed primary challenge, they understand.”
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“The corrupt media’s firestorm of attacks on Republican candidates is coming in the fall, and the only way to stop it is to get ahead of it,” Landrith said,a theme echoed by an ad released by Governor Ron DeSantis (R-FL) this week, which attracted attention for taking aim at the corruption of the corporate media.
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The first minute of the New York ad focuses predominantly on the media for trying to “crush dissent” and hide corruption,after displaying headlines about media scandals and smears—including its handling of the China Virus leak, censorship of the Hunter Biden laptop story, promotion of the Russian collusion hoax, coverup for Hillary Clinton’s email scandals, and refusal to report on Biden’s blackmailing of the Ukrainian government. The ad also lists other political smears, like those against General Michael Flynn, students at Covington Catholic High School, and parents protesting anti-Americanism in their local schools.
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The FFA ad goes on to blame the media for electing Joe Biden “by letting him run “from his basement” and “covering up his incompetence and ill health.” The ad also deems him to be “the worst president in modern history,” and features videos of Biden falling up the stairs on Air Force One and taking directions from the Easter Bunny at a White House event with the headline “EASTER BUNNY RUNS WHITE HOUSE EVENT.”
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The spot then quickly switches to a photo of Schumer as “Biden’s chief enabler” and shows footage of a gleeful Biden and Schumer at a White House signing event for legislation that the GOP and most economistssay will drive inflation higher.
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“First, you have the networks and newspapers. Second, you have the left-wing extremists like Chuck Schumer who run the Democratic Party. We are saying they are one and the same entity,” Landrith charged.
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“Our ad changes the false media narrative from the supposed imperfections of GOP candidates to the massive national disadvantage of Democrats. Every single Senate Democrat is imperiled by their Biden identification, and especially by their corrupt bargain with the leftists that have taken over their party,” Landrith said.
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Landrith is also optimistic that by focusing on the media’s deliberate one-sidedness—from its partisan coverage of this month’s Mar-a-Lago raid to itshabitual protection of Democratic candidates and politicians—the ad could elicit turnout from moderate or independent voters concerned with media corruption and the radicalism of Schumer’s agenda. “It’s very important to control the word ‘extremist,’” he said.
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Additionally, the ad notes the Biden-Pelosi-Schumer attempt to push a radical takeover of elections—as well as efforts by other Democrats to alter the makeup of the U.S. Supreme Court, U.S. Senate, American citizenship, and the Electoral College—represents a“scorched-earth rule-or-ruin” attack on longstanding American democratic institutions.
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“The GOP has never gotten across to the people how those bills would have destroyed the secret ballot, putDepartment of Justice bureaucrats in charge of our elections, abolished citizenship rights, packed the Supreme Court into irrelevance, radically changed the U.S. Senate, and made a few states the only thing that mattered in presidential elections by abolishing the Electoral College,” said Landrith.
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The spot’s release comes nearly two months ahead of the November 8 midterm elections, as Democrats amp up their fight to retain their control of Congress. Though Schumer himself at the moment is not regarded as politically vulnerable going into the fall midterms, FFA notes that some segments of the New York population—particularly upstate New York—might be receptive to attacks on Schumer’s startling record of radicalism. Just as ad campaigns in last fall’s New Jersey gubernatorial race (another deep-blue state) yielded far closer results than initially anticipated, FFA hopes that it can help to replicate the close matchup with this week’s spot.
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“New Jersey could have a GOP Governor today if the D.C. establishment wasn’t so cautious,” Landrithstated. “Republicans need to stop playing defense and expand the Senate map.”
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As Election Day draws closer and Democrats continue to accelerate their attacks against Republican candidates, FFA’s ad could help to expose Schumer’s radical agenda in a way the mainstream media has failed to do. And should it succeed, FFA’s strategy could prove instrumental in holding Schumer and other far-left politicians across the nation accountable for the first time in recent memory.
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READ THE ORIGINAL AMAC EXCLUSIVE ARTICLE BY SEAMUS BRENNAN <<HERE>>
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August 25, WASHINGTON, DC – Asking New Yorkers to “send a message to the media bosses, to the networks and newspapers that are the most corrupt institutions in America” by defeating “their chosen candidate,” FRONTIERS OF FREEDOM ACTION, a Super PAC, has launched an upstate New York TV media blitz against U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY).
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The 120 second TV spot is playing in New York‘s four major upstate media markets (Buffalo, Syracuse and Rochester ) starting Thursday and continuing through Wednesday of next week. The ad features news headlines that its sponsors say backs up the allegations.
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“Every single allegation is backed up with on-screen news stories and headlines. We also have a fact sheet on our website,” said the group’s chairman George Landrith. “We cite specifics about why for the media bosses Schumer is their chosen candidate.”
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MAJOR UPSTATE PUSH: 2-MINUTE SPOT ON BUFFALO, SYRACUSE, ROCHESTER NIGHTLY NEWS
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Quotes from George Landrith:
“THE CORRUPT MEDIA’S FIRESTORM OF ATTACKS ON REPUBLICAN CANDIDATES IS COMING IN THE FALL AND THE ONLY WAY TO STOP IT IS TO GET AHEAD OF IT.”
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“THIS CHANGES THE MEDIA NARRATIVE FROM IMPERFECTIONS OF GOP CANDIDATES TO THE MASSIVE NATIONAL DISADVANTAGE OF DEMOCRATS BECAUSE OF THEIR FAR-LEFT LURCH AND AGENDA.”
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-EVERY SENATE DEMOCRAT IS IMPERILED BY THEIR BIDEN IDENTIFICATION AND THEIR CORRUPT BARGAIN WITH THE LEFTIST EXTREMISTS THAT HAVE TAKEN OVER THEIR PARTY —- “DON’T PRIMARY ME AND I WILL VOTE YOUR WAY”
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“– FIRST, YOU HAVE THE NETWORKS AND NEWSPAPERS. SECOND YOU HAVE THE LEFT-WING EXTREMISTS LIKE CHUCK SCHUMER WHO RUN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. WE ARE SAYING THEY ARE ONE AND THE SAME ENTITY,” says super PAC Chairman
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THE AD SAYS SCHUMER is —
“MEDIA’S CHOSEN CANDIDATE”
“BIDEN’S CHIEF ENABLER”
“MADE CORRUPT BARGAIN” WITH PROGESSIVE LEFT TO NOT TO RUN A PRIMARY AGAINST HIM
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“SCHUMER GETS FREE RIDE FROM MEDIA” SO NEVER HAS TO DENOUNCE EXTREMISTS WHO WANT TO DEFUND THE POLICE, DESTROY NEW YORK POLICE DEPARTMENT AND SUPPORT SOFT-ON-CRIME PROSECUTORS.
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“The media is always demanding GOP denounce extremists but will never hold Democrats like Schumer to that standard.”
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CHUCK SCHUMER IS POSTER BOY FOR DEMOCRATIC SENATE CANDIDATES IN BLUE STATES WHO SOLD THEIR POLITICAL SOULS TO THE LEFT TO AVOID A PRIMARY-ESTABLISHMENT
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BLUE STATE SENATORS COULDN’T RUN UNLESS THEY
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VOTED FOR BIDEN’S FAR LEFT AGENDA
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SCHUMER IS A GREAT BLUE STATE OPPORTUNITY FOR GOP
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“NEW JERSEY COULD HAVE A GOP REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR TODAY IF THE DC ESTABLISHMENT WASN’T SO CAUTIOUS”
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TV Spot says MEDIA IS AMERICA’S MOST CORRUPT INSTITUTION COVERED UP 1) China virus leak, 2) Hunter Biden laptop scandal, 3) illegal wrongdoing by Clinton and Biden, 4) FBI harassment of political dissenters, 5) never apologized for two years of its Russian collusion hoax, 6) promoted smears and civil rights violations against conservatives, 7) phony impeachments and show trials, 8) covered up Biden’s ill health and incompetence by letting him run from basement.
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SCHUMER AS BIDEN’s “CHIEF ENABLER”
HUGE SPENDING BILLS CAUSING SHATTERING INFLATION AND RECESSION.
SHUT DOWN PIPELINES, DROVE UP GAS PRICES
CAUSED FOOD SHORTAGES EVEN BABY FORMULA
AND OPPOSING SCHOOL REFORM.
SCHUMER RECKLESSLY THREATENED BY NAME SUPREME COURT JUSTICE KAVANUGH
SUPPORTS POLITICIANS WHO VIOLATED THEIR OWN LOCKDOWNS ABD DESTROYING BUSINESSES (Pelosi, DeBlasio, Cuomo, Newsom)
DESTROY WOMEN’S SPORTS AND CHILDHOOD EDUCATION WITH GENDER LUNACY (Pictures of Lia the swimmer and drag queens at kindergarten)
HIS “SCORCHED-EARTH” “RULE-OR -RUIN” ATTACK ON AMERICAN DEMOCRATIC INSTITUTIONS
WILL DESTROY –
THE SUPREME COURT
THE SACRED SECRET BALLOT (No voter ID, unlimited vote harvesting and mail-ins & DC bureaucrats’ takeover of elections)
CITIZENSHIP (Open borders)
US SENATE (Add new states, no filibuster)
ELECTORAL COLLEGE (Elections decided by a few counties in a few states)
IMPOSE ANTI-CATHOLIC RELIGIOUS TEST FOR FEDERAL OFFICE
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SCHUMER AS “CHOSEN CANDIDATE OF LIBERAL MEDIA BOSSES” MEANS GOP CAN TAP INTO “PEOPLE’S FURY” AT THE MOST POWERFUL AND CORRUPT POLITICAL FORCE IN AMERICA–MEDIA BOSSES WHO ARE “COVERING UP TRUTH ABOUT THEIR CHOSEN CANDIDATES”
“NO LONGER REPUBLICANS VS DEMOCRATS BUT MEDIA BOSSES VS. AMERICA.”
IDEOLOGUES AND POLITICAL HATERS
MOST OF ALL, SEND A MESSAGE TO THE MEDIA BOSSES
TO THE NETWORKS AND NEWSPAPERS THAT ARE THE MOST CORRUPT INSTITUTIONS IN AMERICA
THEY ARE THE OPPOSITION PARTY — THE 2022 ISSUE.
THEY WILL SMEAR ANY OPPONENT AND SHUT DOWN CAMPAIGN ADS (Conscience, Truth, Fair Play mean nothing)
THEY SEEK TO CRUSH DISSENT
SO GIVE THOSE WHO HAVE CORRUPTED JOURNALISM A MISERABLE ELECTION NIGHT
DEFEAT LIBERAL EXTREMIST CHUCK SCHUMER
MAKE THIS A WAVE ELECTION (“Nationalize” the election)
ELECT NO DEMS
NO LIBERAL EXTREMISTS
SEND A MESSAGE
National Democrats are no doubt pleased with themselves over the way they put another one over on the American people. The poorly named Inflation Reduction Act, now law, puts in place the framework they need to create their oft-wished-for progressive utopia.- Sponsored –
It will do many things. Bringing inflation down, unfortunately for us all, is not one of them. Under President Joe Biden’s leadership, the economy has disintegrated to the point prices are rising faster now than at any time since the 1970s.
The first thing to do, in a case like that, is to stop spending. The new Biden-backed law proposes more than $500 billion in new spending over ten years, offset by what supporters of the new law argue will be $700 billion in new revenues obtained through higher taxes and more rigorous random audits, which does exactly what most serious economists recommend against in such times as these.
We are in a recession, make no mistake about it. Revised data released Thursday by the U.S. Commerce Department show the economy shrank by 0.6 percent in the second quarter of 2022 which, while not quite the 0.9 percent originally reported is still a sign that things are slipping.
The overall inflation number may be down a bit too, but that’s because the price of gasoline is coming down — though not for the reasons the Biden administration would have you believe. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm credits production increases for the price drop but absurdly includes in her calculations the nearly one million barrels per day of oil being released from the national strategic petroleum reserves by the president.
For those who don’t follow the economics of energy, that’s not an increase in production: It’s double counting. Those oil sticks have already been produced. The reason the price is coming down is that demand is coming down because the global economy is cooling off. This chart prepared by the Committee to Unleash Prosperity’s E.J. Antoni shows what’s going on:
The prices of other essential goods like foodstuffs continue to rise at frightening rates, meaning inflation will be with us for some time to come despite the legislation just shepherded through Congress by Democrats Chuck Schumer of New York and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin. All the new spending and mandates they jammed into the bill, especially what’s there to push the transition to green energy, are going to distort prices in the energy market and make matters worse.
The White House may try to dismiss that as a GOP talking point lacking a factual basis. Let them try, considering it’s been confirmed by independent, non-partisan entities including the Congressional Budget Office and Joint Tax Committee, and by a Penn/Wharton study.
Taking advantage of the public’s concerns about inflation — a Rasmussen Reports national survey found it to be the No. 1 issue on the minds of the American people — Schumer and Manchin put together a bill that repackaged much of what had been included in Biden’s twice-rejected Build Back Better bill, giving the party’s progressive wing its biggest victory in years. Party leaders, including the president, plan to spend much of September traveling the country trumpeting its supposed benefits to woo disaffected liberals back into the party before voting begins. They’ll succeed, and the numbers coming out of Tuesday’s primary elections in New York and Florida, and elsewhere suggest they already are because too many people don’t understand what the bill does and many who do won’t tell the truth about it for fear of being dismissed or attacked.
Offered as support for this theory is the fact many Democrats — and the bill passed with only Democratic votes — have already pivoted away from talking about it as a measure to bring inflation under control. Instead, they’re singing its praises as a measure that does more to combat what they call the threat of climate change than any measure passed in decades and highlighting its ill-conceived plan to cap the price of some prescription drugs.
Both measures are likely to do more harm than good because they will produce consequences that were either overlooked or deliberately ignored as the bill was being drafted. One of their biggest boasts, for example, is the notion the green energy measures in the bill will bring the rate of U.S. carbon emission production down by 40 percent by the year 2030. If that were true, it would be a big deal.
What they omit from their press releases and speeches, however, is that those same emissions were already projected to decline by 30 percent by 2030, meaning the U.S. taxpayers are spending nearly $400 billion to bring the global mean temperature down by less than a full degree — but that’s only if the Chinese stop building plants that use coal to produce electricity, which they clearly are not going to do.
The price tag for this imperceptible, perhaps unachievable temperature change — again, thank you, China — is matched by the costs imposed on working families by new taxes on the energy sector. The GOP members of the House Ways and Means Committee estimate working families will be, from an economic standpoint, disproportionally harmed by provisions including a $25 billion crude oil tax and methane taxes that will drive up the price of gasoline and the cost of operating traditional home heating and cooling systems.
The taxes included in the bill will also take a big bite out of the paychecks of people at the lower end of the economy. The Joint Tax Committee estimates more than 92 percent of households with incomes under $200,000 will either see their taxes rise or get no benefit at all. Median-income families earning between $50,000 and $75,000 will be 33 percent more likely to get a tax hike than a tax cut. Families earning $75,000 to $100,000 will be four times more likely to get a tax hike and families earning more than that up to $200,000 will be more than 10 times more likely to see their taxes go up without any adjustment in marginal rates.
That, in case there was any doubt, makes a lie out of Joe Biden’s oft-repeated promises that no one making less than $400,000 will see the amount they pay in taxes go up by as much as one thin dime. Meanwhile, the percentage of $1 million-plus households that will get a tax cut — 19.4 percent — is twice as high as any other income group, followed by those households where the annual income is between $500,000 and $1 million.
The impact on the price of prescription drugs is being equally distorted. Capping the price of current drugs will impede the discovery of new ones. Those that are created and make it to market will do so at higher prices than might have been the case had House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s price control scheme not been adopted. As a result, Americans will be spending more at the pharmacy and on health insurance premiums, something that is again unnecessary and inflationary.
The Inflation Reduction Act, about which you will hear much over the next few weeks though perhaps not under that name, will accelerate the increase in inflation, not bring it down. Consumer prices are headed skywards, even if the price of gasoline continues to come down. In sum, it makes living in America less affordable in the future than it was when Joe Biden took office. That’s not what people expected would happen. They have the right to know why it will.
President Joe Biden is expected to announce $10,000 of student loan “forgiveness” for low- and middle-income Americans earning less than $125,000 on Wednesday. While the move is ostensibly to give lower-income Americans a lift in Biden’s recession, a closer look at the numbers shows it will disproportionately aid those who are better off.
According to an analysis of Biden’s plan from the University of Pennsylvania out Tuesday, such a wide-ranging bailout will come with a price tag of $300-$980 billion for American taxpayers. Furthermore, the university calculated, “Between 69 and 73 percent of the debt forgiven accrues to households in the top 60 percent of the income distribution.”https://6d58ce0d7a048c3f08548369ea10f680.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
The school’s conclusion is supported by prior data analyzed by the liberal Brookings Institution in 2020 as Democrats vying for the presidential nomination touted similar loan forgiveness as central to their platforms.
According to Brookings, “the highest-income 40 percent of households (those with incomes above $74,000) owe almost 60 percent of the outstanding education debt and make almost three-quarters of the payments.”
“The lowest-income 40 percent of households hold just under 20 percent of the outstanding debt and make only 10 percent of the payments,” the Washington D.C. think tank published along with the chart below:
Meanwhile, students who took the loans are far better equipped to pay them off than many other American taxpayers. A typical worker with a bachelor’s degree is likely to earn nearly $1 million more over their career lifetime than the same person with just a high school diploma.
“About 75 percent of student loan borrowers took loans to go to two- or four-year colleges; they account for about half of all student loan debt outstanding,” the Brookings Institute reported in January 2020. “The remaining 25 percent of borrowers went to graduate school; they account for the other half of the debt outstanding.”
At the same time, the White House’s unilateral plans are legally questionable at best. In January last year, the Department of Education released an eight-page memo stating that the agency lacks the statutory authority to “cancel, compromise, discharge, or forgive, on a blanket or mass basis, principal balances of student loans, and/or materially modify the repayment amounts or terms thereof.”
In other words, without congressional approval, Biden’s decision to wipe out a minimum of $300 billion in student debt at the stroke of a pen is unconstitutional, according to the department.
White House touts report that says Americans will see no change in inflation due to the bill until late 2023
The $433 billion Inflation Reduction Act will have no meaningful impact on consumer costs, according to the economist President Joe Biden cites most often.
By the end of 2031, the latest Democratic reconciliation bill would shave just .33 percent from the Consumer Price Index, the traditional inflation metric, according to a report from Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi. The current CPI is 9.1 percent, the highest in over 40 years.
Zandi and his coauthors say the Inflation Reduction Act will only “nudge the economy and inflation in the right direction.” And that conclusion strains the definition of “nudge.” Americans will see no change in inflation due to the bill, the report states, until the third quarter of 2023—a .01 percent decrease.
Zandi’s analysis is often shared by the White House or the president himself. During a February 2021 speech, Biden cited Zandi’s work twice while pitching his economic agenda. In July of last year, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) called on lawmakers to read Zandi’s favorable report on the bipartisan infrastructure bill.
But Zandi’s latest findings have not deterred the White House. Both Chief of Staff Ron Klain and Deputy Press Secretary Andrew Bates retweeted a CNN reporter’s tweet that quotes the report as saying the bill will “meaningfully address climate change and [reduce] the government’s budget deficits.”
The White House’s celebration of the report signals how desperate they are to pass a budget reconciliation package before the midterm elections. Initially named “Build Back Better,” the bill has seen a number of rebranding attempts as voters increasingly sour on Biden’s presidency over the economic concerns.
Zandi and his coauthors conclude that the inflation reduction bill lowers consumer costs for some medications, something the White House highlighted, although they decline to specify the total savings. Moreover, the deflationary benefits from lower health costs, the authors write, do not kick in until “mid-decade.”
“Moreover, large corporations will attempt to pass through some of their higher tax bill to consumers in higher prices for their wares,” the authors write, although they add that this may be difficult “in competitive markets.”
The immediate impact of the bill may also slow growth as well, the authors find. Starting in late 2023 for over a year, according to data in the report, the bill will slightly shave off expected GDP growth. Despite those data, the authors say the Inflation Reduction Act will add “an estimated 0.2 percent” to GDP by the end of 2031.
The Inflation Reduction Act contains $433 billion in spending and purports to raise $750 billion in revenue from higher taxes and lower Medicare prescription drug costs. A report from the nonpartisan Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation found that, despite White House claims, Americans making below $400,000 a year would see higher taxes.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), who led negotiations on the bill, grew defensive when asked by Fox News about tax provisions in the bill and whether the bill will meaningfully address inflation.
“I know people who don’t like the president and don’t like Democrats might be upset,” Manchin said. “It is not whether you like the president or you like Democrats. Do you like America? Do you want to fight inflation? This bill does it.”
It’s a remarkable feat—something not just anyone could accomplish. Yet in just a few short months, President Joe Biden managed to turn the recovery around. It’s not clear how he did it, but the boom for which he liked to take credit is officially over.
Of course, the White House doesn’t want to say that. It would be politically bad to acknowledge the situation that now exists. To avoid that, senior presidential aides and Cabinet secretaries like the Treasury Department’s Janet Yellen have been forced to turn rhetorical cartwheels while trying to explain that it isn’t really what the data tell us it is.
Team Biden has masterfully avoided the invocation of the word usually employed after two consecutive quarters of what the economists call “negative growth.” Call it what you want—some good alternative phrases like “economic Joe-down” and “Joe-cession” have already seeped into the conversation—the economic numbers don’t help Biden’s cause right now.
His unpopularity isn’t new news. A recent CNN poll found that 75% of Democrats who plan to vote in 2024 hope to have someone other than Biden for whom to cast their ballots. State by state, Biden’s favorable/unfavorable ratings are underwater in more than 45—including such liberal bastions as Massachusetts and even his home state of Delaware, where he’s down by seven.
Why is he so unpopular? Real wages are falling, income is down, and prices are up. That’s fact, not opinion or carefully structured analysis. Biden may think there’s plenty of good news out there, that it “doesn’t sound like a recession to me,” but it sure feels like a recession to the American people.
It would seem all that is good for the GOP’s prospects to pick up control of the U.S. House and Senate come election time—and by wide margins. The anti-Biden tide is going to swamp some boats that expect to ride the storm out—as happened in 1978, 1980, 1994, and 2010, when unpopular policies pushed by the occupant of the White House cost the president’s party seats it should not have lost.
How, then, with the Democrats seemingly in their worst political shape in nearly 50 years, does one explain a spate of recent polls like the one released last Tuesday in USA Today, showing them with a four-point lead—44% to 40%—over the GOP on the congressional generic ballot? Especially, that is, after the Republicans have been nearly double-digit dominant on the question of “Which party do you want to control Congress after the next election?” for many months now.
It doesn’t make sense—especially, as Rasmussen Reports said last Monday, with just 23% of likely U.S. voters thinking the country is headed in the right direction. The reason for the bump producing this apparent reversal of the Democrats’ political fortunes may have something to do with statistical manipulation. Pollster John McLaughlin told this publication that the USA Today poll had the two major parties “in equilibrium at 31%,” but because it sampled registered voters and not those considered likely to vote, “it waters down the GOP generic vote” considerably. “A lot of [the Democratic] respondents will not vote,” he added.
He may be right. A Rasmussen Reports poll of likely voters released on Friday found Republicans with a five-point lead on the generic ballot. That’s the upside. The downside is the voters may be souring on the GOP—and these new polls may be right, because the GOP is failing to offer voters an appealing alternative to the Biden agenda.
American elections are usually binary: this candidate or that one. Third-party candidates rarely win, and rarely have an impact. Most people pick either the Democrat or the Republican when they pull the lever. And right now, the GOP seems headed to a majority by default. They’ll win because they’re not “them”—Democrats. Biden and the progressives have overreached, something even the USA Today poll showed. They aren’t winning converts to their cause; they’re losing them.
If the GOP wants to lock down its hoped-for majority down, it needs to explain to its whole coalition of voters—the independents open to voting Republican, the moderates, the free marketeers, the social conservatives, and others—what the party’s plan is to get the economy moving, secure America’s borders and position in the world, and bring back the nation’s spirit. And the GOP must do so without driving its likely voter blocs into separate corners.
It’s a tall order that party leaders seem reluctant to embrace. They have about 100 days to come up with a plan to bring all these parts together and help voters make up their minds. In doing so, if that’s what they intend, they need to remember former House Majority Leader Dick Armey’s axiom: “When we act like us, we win. When we act like them, we lose.”
A range of world actors and events share the blame for the run-up in prices.
If you, unlike Michigan Democratic senator Debbie Stabenow, have bought gasoline lately, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen a sticker on the gas pump with a picture of President Biden saying, “I did that.” Typically, those stickers are placed by customers, not gas station owners, and for that reason, I’m against them: they violate the owners’ property rights.
But I’m more interested here in the substantive question: did Joe Biden “do that”? My answer is “somewhat.” It wasn’t Biden alone. The Federal Reserve had some role, and the recovery from the pandemic had a large role. But the many actions Biden took before Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and some of his actions afterwards have certainly caused the price of oil and gasoline to rise. Biden didn’t do all of “that.” Other governments have contributed to the problem, and various US government restrictions in the oil and gasoline markets have also contributed.
More important, many of Biden’s actions, unless reversed, will contribute to high oil and gasoline prices in the future. We shouldn’t be surprised. After all, he and his employees John Kerry, special presidential envoy for climate, and Jennifer Granholm, secretary of energy, explicitly want a diminished role for fossil fuels in the near future. If future oil production falls, then, for a given demand for oil, oil prices will rise.
We need to separate two categories of gasoline price increases: increases due to inflation and increases due to actions specific to the oil and gasoline markets.
Between January 2021, when Biden took office, and May 2022, the consumer price index (CPI), which is the usual measure of the inflation rate, rose by 11.7 percent. So, if gasoline prices had simply kept pace with the CPI, they would now be 11.7 percent higher than in January 2021. In January 2021, the average retail price of gasoline in the United States was $2.42. By the week of June 13, 2022, it had reached a whopping $5.11 per gallon. That’s up by $2.69. The 111 percent increase is, of course, much bigger than the increase in the CPI. Clearly, other factors besides inflation have caused gasoline prices to rise.
The major entity responsible for inflation is the Federal Reserve. In the 1960s, Milton Friedman famously stated that “inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.” What he meant is that any persistent inflation that we have observed has been preceded by an increase in the money supply. That’s why a standard line that people have used is that inflation is due to too much money chasing too few goods.
There are several measures of the money supply. The one that monetary economists use most is M2, which includes M1 plus time deposits under $100,000 and shares in retail money market funds. M1, in turn, consists of currency and coins held by the non-bank public, checkable deposits, and savings deposits. In February 2020, just before the pandemic-induced lockdowns, M2 was $15.46 trillion. By April 2022, it had reached $21.73 trillion, an increase of 40.6 percent. Of course, we didn’t get close to a 40 percent inflation rate. The main reason is that Americans’ demand to hold money increased dramatically early in the pandemic. With fewer goods and services for people to buy, they (we) hoarded money. Now, with the pandemic largely behind us, our demand for money is slowly falling.
But why did the money supply increase so much? A major factor was the huge increases in pandemic-related federal government spending, during both the Trump and the Biden administrations. The CARES Act, which President Trump signed in March 2020, increased government spending by $2.2 trillion. To put that in perspective, total federal spending in FY 2019 was $4.45 trillion. And FY 2019 was not exactly a low-spending year, except in retrospect. Nor was Trump done. In late December 2020, he signed another spending bill that included $900 billion in further pandemic-related spending. Those spending increases weren’t enough for President Biden. In early March 2021, Biden signed a further $1.9 trillion pandemic-related spending bill.
All three of these spending measures massively increased the federal budget deficits for FY 2020, FY 2021, and FY 2022. That meant that the federal government had to borrow additional trillions of dollars. The Federal Reserve “monetized” a large part of that additional debt by buying federal government bonds that had first been sold to the public. According to Veronique de Rugy, of the $6 trillion in new federal debt issued during the pandemic, the Federal Reserve monetized $2.7 trillion, or 45 percent. That’s how the money supply increased.
So, if we’re going to blame the entities that caused inflation, they are, in order, the Federal Reserve, Donald Trump, and Joe Biden. On the plus side, we should give huge credit to Joe Manchin, the Democratic senator from West Virginia, for standing strong against Biden’s further huge spending increase, misleadingly labeled “Build Back Better.”
The Oil Market
But the major cause of gasoline price increases, as the earlier data show, has not been inflation. The other causes are specific to the oil and gasoline markets.
Start with oil. The biggest factor in the increase in gasoline prices since January 2021 is the increase in the price of oil. Between January 2021 and May 2022, the price of West Texas Intermediate oil (a standard measure of prices) increased from $52.00 per barrel to $109.55, an increase of 111 percent. There are 42 gallons per barrel of oil. The $57.55 increase in the price of oil, the major input in gasoline, accounts for $1.37, or over half, of the $2.69 increase in the price of gasoline.
Before we turn to other factors that account for the gasoline price increase, let’s first consider who or what is responsible for the increase in the world price of oil. The major factor is the increase in worldwide demand as we make our way out of the economic collapse of 2020. We can’t have data on demand because demand is always a schedule: it gives the amount demanded at each price and all we observe at a point in time is the price and the quantity consumed. But here’s how we know that demand increased. Between the first quarter of 2021 and the fourth quarter of 2021, worldwide consumption rose from 93.9 million barrels per day (mbd) to 99.2 mbd. When both the consumption of oil and the price of oil rise, that necessarily means that demand increased.
Besides increases in demand, what factors have led to higher oil prices, especially in the past few months?
One factor is Biden’s and many European governments’ response in the oil market to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine. They have colluded to keep Russian oil off the market. The Russian government has responded by selling oil to China and India that it would have sold mainly to European consumers. This could be just a game of musical chairs, with the qualification that the number of chairs equals the number of players. In such a case, the overall effect on the world oil market would be small. But the collusive agreement seems to be holding up. Why do I say that? Because the prices that Russia is charging China and India are deeply discounted from world prices. If the collusion had broken down, the prices would be close to equal. The EU and Biden have effectively segmented the world oil market. Chinese and Indian consumers move down their demand curve at the lower prices they pay, buying more than they would have, and we other consumers are bidding over a diminished supply. So, the EU and Biden have definitely contributed to the higher price of oil since the Russian invasion.
Interestingly, Biden admits that his and the EU’s actions have increased oil prices. In a June 22, 2022, speech, Biden stated:
We cut off Russian oil into the United States, and our partners in Europe did the same, knowing that we would see higher gas prices.
Longer term, Biden will contribute to higher oil prices regardless of what happens with Russia and Ukraine. The reason is that he has signaled in many ways his hostility to US production of oil and natural gas. The American Energy Alliance has listed “100 Ways Biden and the Democrats Have Made It Harder to Produce Oil and Gas.” As with most such lists, some of the items seem minor. But the shocking thing is how many appear to be substantial. They include an executive order imposing a moratorium on new oil and gas leases on government lands and a proposed rule by the Securities and Exchange Commission that would require public companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions. No oil company decision maker could miss the overall negative tenor of the list. I recommend a quick perusal of the list of 100.
Interestingly, one of Biden’s cabinet members recently admitted her hostility to long-term production of oil and natural gas. In a June 15 interview with CNN’s John Berman, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm admitted that she and Biden want oil companies to produce more oil this year but not produce more in five to ten years. The video is priceless. You can tell by the look on Berman’s face and by his tone that he is skeptical that oil companies can be motivated to bear a lot of startup costs just to produce more oil for only a year or two.
But you don’t have to go with tone or facial expression. Berman laid out the problem beautifully:
But that’s the problem for these companies. These companies are saying, you know, “you’re asking me to do more now, invest more now, when in fact five or ten years from now we don’t think that demand will be there, and the administration doesn’t even necessarily want it to be there.”
You might think that because oil prices are determined in a world market, US government actions that discourage domestic US production don’t matter much. But that’s not true. Because oil demand worldwide is fairly inelastic, small changes in supply can cause large changes in price.
As noted above, the increased price of oil between January 2021 and May 2022 accounts for $1.37 of the $2.69 increase in the price of gasoline. What about the remaining $1.32 of the increase? The problem is that the increased demand for gasoline is pushing against a very inelastic refining supply. Here’s how Debnil Chowdhury and Susan D. Bell put it in “Restart or remain shuttered—why rationalized US refineries will not come to the rescue” (IHS Markit, June 24), after noting the amount of refinery capacity that has been sidelined by storms or other incidents:
General market sentiment, our medium-term outlook included, is that the current high-margin environment [for refineries] will be fleeting. Recouping recommissioning costs will be difficult unless these strong margins are sustained beyond 2023. Refiners are unlikely to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in recommissioning costs for only one or two years of strong returns.
Getting permission to build a refinery in the United States is not easy. While the US Energy Information Administration lists thirteen US refineries that have been built since 1978, none of these has the capacity to refine more than 84,000 barrels per day. Compare that to the Marathon Oil refinery in Garyville, Louisiana, built in 1976, which has the capacity to refine 578,000 barrels per day. Oil company executives would have to think long and hard before applying for permission to build a new refinery or putting serious resources into expanding a refinery. You can bet that all of them heard, loud and clear, Granholm’s statement about not wanting so much oil in five or ten years.
As I noted earlier, I’m not a fan of violating the property rights of gasoline station owners and so I would never put an uninvited sticker on a gasoline pump. But if I were to do so, the sticker would have a picture of Joe Biden saying, “I did some of that, and I’ll do more.”
Americans are experiencing an energy crisis with gasoline and diesel fuel at historically high prices. President Biden has been releasing a million barrels a day from the nation’s strategic oil reserve and it is now at its lowest level in decades. Likewise, it is unsettling to watch the President travel abroad begging for oil rich nations to produce more oil. Another typically hot summer is driving up energy demands for electricity and adding to the feeling that this energy crisis is real and isn’t merely a function of high gas prices.
All of this is happening while the Administration is arguing that we should be driving electric vehicles. But as even Elon Musk, the number one producer of electric vehicles in the U.S. has pointed out, there simply isn’t enough electricity nor can our electrical grid handle the demand of millions of electric vehicles plugged in every night to recharge.
One of the problems with complex issues is that policymakers often suggest absurdly harmful solutions that won’t work in real life. America’s current energy woes cannot actually be solved by a sudden switch to electric vehicles. Nor can the problem be solved by depleting the strategic oil reserve. But oddly enough these are not the most absurd policy suggestions. Some of the proposed solutions are even more misguided.
For example, some have suggested that we repeal the Jones Act, which requires ships operating within the United States between two or more U.S. ports to be American ships with American crews. They seem to think that allowing foreign ships with unvetted and unknown foreign crews to sail up and down America’s 25,000 miles of inland water ways will somehow solve our energy problems, a policy prescription that borders on the insane or at least the inane.
When pressed, they use the energy crisis and argue that liquefied natural gas (LNG) could be shipped more cheaply in the United States via foreign vessels as the American fleet isn’t currently prepared to ship massive quantities of LNG (which requires a specialized fleet). But here’s the problem with this policy prescription — pipelines are by far the cheapest and safest way to transport natural gas and petroleum products across the United States. So, if you’re worried about the expense of transporting LNG, you should support the construction of more pipelines, not the repeal of the Jones Act.
If you repeal the Jones Act, all you would gain a relatively expensive way to transport LNG that would also pose more risks and dangers. In exchange, you would also lose all the benefits of the Jones Act.
The Jones Act is a critical part of our military readiness and ability to supply our military. Former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Paul Selva said, “I am an ardent supporter of the Jones Act. [The Act] supports a viable ship building industry, cuts cost and produces 2,500 qualified mariners. Why would we tamper with that?” Admiral Paul Zunkunft also said, “You take Jones Act away, the first thing to go is these shipyards and then the mariners…. If we don’t have a U.S. fleet or U.S. shipyard to constitute that fleet how do we prevail?”
But the Jones Act isn’t just important to our military strength, it actually helps border security and homeland security as well. The law allows the primary focus of our security efforts to be on the outer perimeter of our country and the American ships and American crews who are both vetted and trained become the eyes and ears on America’s inland water ways. The taxpayer doesn’t have to pay them or pay for their boat to do that. They do all of that while they’re doing their normal job.
As Michael Herbert, former Chief of the Customs & Border Protection’s Jones Act Division of Enforcement said, “We use the Jones Act as a virtual wall. Without the Jones Act in place, our inland waterways would be inundated with foreign flagged vessels.”
The truth is — if we were to repeal the Jones Act, any foreign ship, with an unknown and unvetted crew, carrying unknown cargo, equipment, and even weapons, could sail up the Mississippi and along America’s vast inland water ways, gaining access to America’s heartland.
Once you know the facts, it is clear that those suggesting we repeal the Jones Act — whether they realize it or not — are really suggesting that we allow Chinese, Russian, North Korean, and Iranian ships and crews, which would likely be carrying spies and covert operatives, to deploy inside America’s heartland with high-tech listening devices and tools of sabotage. They are also suggesting that America’s military capacity be significantly weakened and undermined.
Given that pipelines are both cheaper and safer, and don’t undermine our national security, or bring foreign powers into our heartland, they would be a far better solution to transporting LNG and petroleum products. It is time to put an end to the senseless talk of repealing the Jones Act.
As the Biden administration readies its fifth extension of federal student loan repayments, voter concerns over surging inflation take a back seat to the needs of Democrats’ donor class in the run up to the midterm elections.
The current student loan moratorium is set to expire on August 31, leaving the Democrats with the prospect of student loan payments resuming just two months out from an election. Democrats are almost certain to extend the moratorium again.
The student loan “pause” begin in March 2020. Yes, two-and-a-half years ago.
This policy has been a disaster: costing taxpayers nearly $135 billion while primarily benefiting the elite and contributing to the highest inflation in 40 years.
Recently a group of 180 left-of-center organizations signed a letter urging President Biden to extend the moratorium on student loan repayments. They insisted that the moratorium be extended until the administration fulfills its promise to cancel student loan debt.
This letter is filled with delusional, out-of-touch arguments that perfectly illustrate the Left’s understanding of the student loan issue.
The primary assertion by these groups is in the letter’s one bolded line: “People with student debt cannot be required to make payments toward loans your administration has promised to cancel.”
Ironically, the Left is arguing that a politician’s “promise” while on the campaign trail should be more binding than the contractual agreement borrowers signed promising to pay back their debts.
The signers also describe the moratorium and cancellation as a way to relieve the financial pressure of inflation on Americans, especially “economically vulnerable” people, people of color, and women. This, of course, is just part of the Left’s strategy to frame every policy goal of theirs as “justice” for the destitute and oppressed. This kind of framing for the student loan issue is especially shameless, though, as the student loan moratorium primarily benefits white, wealthy elites while worsening inflation for low and middle-income Americans.
About 75 percent of student loan repayments come from the top 40 percent of earners. The bottom 20 percent of earners only pay 2 percent of monthly student loan payments. As the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget points out, the effects of the student loan moratorium is even more skewed toward elites than a blanket cancellation, as graduate student loans tend to have higher interest rates than undergraduate loans.
The Brookings Institution, whose scholars generally support student loan cancellation, described those who would benefit most from student debt forgiveness as “higher income, better educated, and more likely to be white.”
Adam Looney, a former economic advisor to President Obama, explained that, “Measured appropriately… loan forgiveness is regressive whether measured by income, educational attainment, or wealth. Across-the-board forgiveness is therefore a costly and ineffective way to reduce economic gaps by race or socioeconomic status.”
This is not very surprising. As one might assume, many low-income Americans chose not to go to a four-year, private university. Many paid their way through community college or a public university/college, went to trade school, joined the military to pay for their education, or went straight into the workforce after high school. For these Americans, the moratorium and cancellation proposals are slaps in the face. If student loan debt is cancelled, their sacrifices and hard work was futile.
Further, the letter’s assertion that student loan handouts could help ease the financial pressure of inflation on Americans is especially misguided. About 45 million Americans, or 17 percent of the adult population, have federal student loan debt. While this limited group of Americans, who already skew higher-income, may experience relief, every American is facing crippling inflation.
The consumer price index increased by 9.1 percent on an annualized basis in June, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), setting yet another 40-year high for the sixth time under President Biden.
A primary cause of inflation is the government’s reckless spending. The federal government is flooding the economy with so much money that demand is growing too fast for production to keep up. The moratorium on student loan repayments has been incredibly expensive: so far, it has costed taxpayers $135 billion, and continues to cost them an additional $5 billion each month.
While the Left has attempted to frame the student loan issue as one pertaining to “racial and economic justice,” it is simply a handout to the liberal elite. Lawmakers cannot allow the Left to worsen inflation for average Americans under these false pretenses.
Central banks’ only real option for tackling inflation is to reduce demand – an approach that implies a significant drag on global growth. But even as interest rates rise, a recession can be avoided if policymakers recognize the large role that supply-side measures must play in restoring price stability.
Central banks’ efforts to contain high and rising inflation are fueling growth headwinds and threatening to tip the global economy into recession. But the proximate cause of today’s inflationary pressures is a large, broad-based, and persistent imbalance between supply and demand. Higher interest rates will dampen demand, but supply-side measures must also play a large role in inflation-taming strategies.
Over the past year or so, the rollback of pandemic-containment policies has spurred a simultaneous surge in demand and contraction in supply. While this was to be expected, supply has proved surprisingly inelastic. In labor markets, for example, shortages have become the norm, leading to canceled flights, disrupted supply chains, restaurant closures, and challenges to health-care delivery.
These shortages appear to be at least partly the result of a pandemic-driven shift in preferences. Many types of workers are seeking greater flexibility – including hybrid or work-from-home options – or otherwise improved working conditions. Health-care workers, in particular, report feeling burned out by their jobs.
If this is true, the inflation picture must include an adjustment in relative labor costs. To bring markets back into balance, wage and income increases will be needed, even for jobs for which there was previously an ample supply of workers.
This transition will generate some inflationary pressure. Yes, nominal prices and wages have limited downward flexibility. But at a time of excess demand, firms generally try to pass on higher costs via price increases – and they often get away with it, at least for a while.
Lingering blockages associated with the pandemic, especially in China, which remains committed to its zero-COVID policy, are also fueling inflation. But these blockages will eventually subside, as will short- to medium-term capacity constraints caused by shifts in the composition of demand (in terms of both products and geography), though some will persist for a while. Capacity – whether in ports or semiconductors – takes time to build.
But today’s inflation has deeper roots. Over the past several decades, the activation of massive amounts of underutilized labor and productive capacity in emerging economies has generated deflationary pressures. With those resources having now been significantly depleted, the relative prices of many goods are set to rise.
Moreover, there is a global push to diversify and, in some cases, localize demand and supply chains – a response to the increasing frequency of severe shocks and rising geopolitical tensions. A more resilient global economy is a more expensive one, and prices will reflect that.
The war in Ukraine has not only accelerated this supply-chain transformation, but also has caused energy and food prices to skyrocket, further exacerbating inflation, especially in lower-income countries. In the case of fossil fuels, a prior pattern of underinvestment in capacity at multiple points along the supply chain has compounded the problem.
But there is even more to the story. More than 75% of the world’s GDP is produced in countries with aging populations. Old-age dependency ratios are rising, and in some countries, the workforce is shrinking. Productivity gains could counter the contraction of labor supply relative to demand, but after nearly two decades of falling productivity growth, such gains are not forthcoming.
So, inflation is rising fast, and central banks are under pressure to take drastic action. But their only real option is to reduce demand, by raising interest rates and withdrawing liquidity. These measures have already spurred a massive repricing of assets, including currencies, and they threaten to push global growth below potential, with lower-income economies suffering disproportionately, and to reduce investment in the energy transition.
There is another way: supply-side measures. Trade and investment have long enabled supply to expand rapidly in response to growing global demand. But, for nearly two decades – and especially in the last few years – proliferating trade barriers have been adding friction to this process. Creeping protectionism must be reversed, with US President Joe Biden removing the tariffs imposed by his predecessor, Donald Trump, and Europe accelerating the integration of its services markets.
At the same time, efforts must be made to improve productivity. Digital technologies will be crucial here. While the pandemic helped to accelerate the digital transformation, many sectors – including the public sector – are lagging, and concerns about the effects of automation on employment persist.
But in a supply-constrained world characterized by persistent labor shortages, productivity-boosting digital technologies, together with higher wages for workers, would go a long way toward improving the balance between supply and demand. For example, artificial-intelligence-based tools can perform a wide range of functions, from screening luggage more efficiently at airports to analyzing medical imaging to detect cancers. Beyond digital technologies, regulatory regimes can be streamlined and improved, in order to reduce supply-side bottlenecks.
Such an agenda must be applied to both the public and private sectors. At the international level, efforts to facilitate trade, address supply-chain rigidities, and close data gaps will be essential. Otherwise, central banks will be left to deal with inflation alone – with dire consequences for the entire global economy.
The nation’s plunge into inflation-fueled economic doldrums may be linked to the lack of practical, real-world business experience of many of President Joe Biden’s top officials, a report released Thursday suggests.- Sponsored –
“The United States has the highest inflation rate in four decades. The stock market sell-off has liquidated $10 trillion of wealth. Retirement savings are dwindling. Consumer, small business, and investor confidence are shrinking. There’s widespread concern that America is at best teetering on the edge of a recession and may already be in one. And, in terms of growth, the economy has flatlined,” said The Committee to Unleash Prosperity’s Stephen Moore, principal co-author of Not Ready for Prime Time Players.
A majority of key appointees, the report said, have zero years of business experience.
“Instead of having the best minds in America working on these problems, the president is relying on political and policy stooges who couldn’t make a garden grow, let alone the U.S. GDP,” Moore, an economist, said.
Aside from the president, who earned a law degree from Syracuse University in 1968, was elected to the New Castle County Council in 1970 and was elected to the United States Senate in 1972 when he was just 29 years old – Vice President Kamala Harris, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellin, Council of Economic Advisors Chairman Cecilia Rouse and Shalanda Young, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, have no previous private sector experience.
The report draws attention to some of the concerns limited prior private sector experience may cause regarding the ability of administration officials to make informed policy decisions. Pete Buttigieg, the former South Bend, Indiana mayor and unsuccessful 2020 Democratic presidential candidate who is now U.S. Transportation Secretary, the authors wrote, “now has oversight over a $1 trillion industry and is the official in charge of dealing with intricate supply chain issues at our ports and other vital parts of our transportation infrastructure. Yet he has virtually no experience in transportation or logistics.”
In formulating their conclusions, the authors of the report looked at 68 top officials in the Biden administration, starting with the president. The list of those whose employment history was examined includes cabinet members, regulatory officials and senior White House aides. Others in key economic policy positions who lack any identifiable business experience include Attorney General Merrick Garland, Climate Change Ambassador John F. Kerry, HUD Secretary Marica Fudge, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Jessica Rosenworcel, Federal Trade Commission Chairman Lina Khan, Deputy Assistant to the President for Labor and the Economy Seth Harris, Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy Daniel Nornung and Jonathan Kanter, the Assistant U.S. Attorney General for Antitrust.
The report also found:
This is in stark contrast to the Trump administration, which was populated by many senior policymakers with experience in the business world including the president, who spent 45 years in the private sector before choosing to run for office. The average business experience of the members of the Trump Cabinet was 13 years and the median for years of experience was eight.
The study was undertaken, the authors said, to address what it called “growing concerns” that top decision-makers in Congress and the Biden administration lack the basic skill sets and business/management experience and acumen to either oversee a $6 trillion federal government or to regulate the various sectors of the national economy.
“It’s easy to understand why we have the highest inflation in forty years, the economy may have already put America into a recession. Despite the White House claims like record job ‘creation,’ a sizable majority of the country now believes, according to the latest polls, that America is on the wrong track. The people making economic policy have never worked in the real world,” said Moore, who co-authored the study with the committee’s Jon Decker, “Americans are hurting and we need to change course immediately.”
Moore’s analysis is backed by a New York Times/Siena poll released Monday that shockingly showed nearly 80 percent of the American voters surveyed thought the nation was headed in the wrong direction. Just 27 percent of Democrats and a mere 5 percent of Republicans said things were on the right track, putting the numbers at their lowest since the near collapse of the U.S. economy at the end of the Bush administration helped put Barack Obama in the White House.
The “takeaway” from the study, the authors wrote, is the need to consider the qualifications of those making policy as it pertains to their ability to solve the nation’s economic troubles, which are growing more severe by the day.
“Surely, we want our political class to have a diversity of backgrounds. We want lawyers, grassroots activists, those with political and policy experience, scientists, health experts, and academics with required specialties,” Moore and Decker wrote. “But we also want people who have experience running large operations with hundreds and thousands of employees and who understand logistics.”
“We need people at the top rungs of government who have experience dealing with large-scale crises (as we experienced during COVID), and also at least some familiarity with the everyday struggles that businesses have with the government,” they write before concluding “The Biden administration has made ’diversity’ a major goal of its administration. But the one area that is sorely missing in this diversity goal is in attracting talented and experienced men and women from the field of small business, commerce, and finance. When it comes to the government: Ignorance is not bliss.”
Enough of one that they have decided it’s good policy, and better political optics, to bully gas station owners over how much they charge at the pump. The president’s Twitter team published this gem over the long holiday weekend:
My message to the companies running gas stations and setting prices at the pump is simple: this is a time of war and global peril.
Bring down the price you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you’re paying for the product. And do it now.
Setting aside the notion that an American president feels the need to harangue the franchise owner on the corner…the economic illiteracy on display in Mr. Biden’s tweet is inexcusable.
It would be generous and kind to blame the communications staff for this. But the buck stops with Joe, so the blame is all his. As such Mr. Biden deserves the strong corrective he gets from, among others, The Wall Street Journal:
More than a quarter of gas stations have closed since the 1990s because they couldn’t make the economics work. If retailers were to sell fuel at cost, most would go out of business. Perhaps those owned by large refiners would survive, but they’d be accused of predatory pricing by Mr. Biden’s antitrust cops.
The President’s economic ignorance isn’t a one-off. In recent months he has accused oil and gas companies of price gouging and demanded that they increase production even while his Administration threatens to put them out of business. Mr. Biden doesn’t understand that businesses make long-term decisions based on demand expectations and policy signals. Jeff Bezos called the President’s weekend tweet “either straight ahead misdirection or a deep misunderstanding of basic market dynamics.” They aren’t mutually exclusive.
Indeed, the Biden team’s misdirection is just a manifestation of its misunderstanding…of market function, prices, incentives, regulation and so on.
And if you think the gas station episode was bad, buckle-up, because Team Biden is about to face a cascade of troubles thanks to one of his oldest political backers…Big Labor:
…the labor contract for 29 West Coast ports, which covers 22,000 dockworkers, lapsed over the weekend.
For now, talks continue; the two sides are reportedly fighting over port managers’ desire to automate more operations, as major ports in Europe and Asia have already done. But if a work stoppage or slowdown results, it could wreak havoc on the country’s already-fragile supply chains, with potentially catastrophic consequences for inflation and the economy.
Also, of course, for Democrats’ chances in the midterms.
This isn’t some remote risk. The last time this contract was being renegotiated, starting in 2014, talks broke down and work slowdowns led to expensive shipping delays. The Obama administration had to intervene. Labor disruptions (strikes, lockouts, slowdowns) also occurred during West Coast port contract negotiations in 2002, 2008 and 2012.
Does Biden side with his old allies in the labor movement? Or does his professed determination to fight inflation convince him to convince them to get back to work?
Given Biden’s grasp of economics, we should prepare for the worst.
Biden's Energy Department said move would 'support American consumers' and combat 'Putin's price hike'
The Biden administration sold roughly one million barrels from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to a Chinese state-controlled gas giant that continues to purchase Russian oil, a move the Energy Department said would “support American consumers” and combat “Putin’s price hike.”
Biden’s Energy Department in April announced the sale of 950,000 Strategic Petroleum Reserve barrels to Unipec, the trading arm of the China Petrochemical Corporation. That company, which is commonly known as Sinopec, is wholly owned by the Chinese government. The Biden administration claimed the move would “address the pain Americans are feeling at the pump” and “help lower energy costs.” More than five million barrels of oil released from the U.S. emergency reserves, however, were sent overseas last month, according to a Wednesday Reuters report. At least one shipment of American crude went to China, the report said.
The Biden administration also claimed the Unipec sale would “support American consumers and the global economy in response to Vladimir Putin’s war of choice against Ukraine” and combat “Putin’s price hike.” But as the war rages on, Unipec has continued to purchase Russian oil. In May, for example, the company “significantly increased the number of hired tankers to ship a key crude from eastern Russia,” Bloomberg reported. That decision came roughly one month after Unipec said it would purchase “no more Russian oil going forward” once “shipments that have arrived in March and due to arrive in April” were fulfilled.
The White House did not return a request for comment. Its decision to sell barrels from the country’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to a Chinese conglomerate comes as the American public increasingly sours on Biden’s energy policies. According to a January Gallup poll, roughly three in four Americans are not satisfied with the federal government’s national energy policy, the highest level in roughly two decades.
Power the Future founder Daniel Turner admonished Biden for selling “raw materials to the Communist Chinese for them to use as they want.”
“We were assured Biden was releasing this oil to America so it could be refined for gasoline to drive down prices at the pump. So right off the bat, they’re just lying to the American people,” Turner told the Washington Free Beacon. “What they’re saying they did and what they did are not remotely related.”
Turner also said the decision highlights the Biden family’s “relationship with China.” Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, is tied to Sinopec. In 2015, a private equity firm he cofounded bought a $1.7 billion stake in Sinopec Marketing. Sinopec went on to enter negotiations to purchase Gazprom in March, one month after the Biden administration sanctioned the Russian gas giant.
Biden campaigned heavily against the oil and gas industry in 2020, promising to “end fossil fuel.” He went on to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline and implement a moratorium on new gas leases on federal land during his first month in office. Biden’s energy secretary, meanwhile, is working with left-wing activists who want to eliminate fossil fuels, and in late October, House Oversight and Reform Committee Democrats pushed top oil executives to produce less gas due to climate change.
Gas prices have since soared to record highs. In mid June, the national average for a gallon of gas surpassed $5 for the first time ever. Still, the White House has assured Americans that they need to pay high gas prices to support the “liberal world order.”
“What do you say to those families that say, ‘Listen, we can’t afford to pay $4.85 a gallon for months, if not years?'” CNN anchor Victor Blackwell asked Biden economic adviser Brian Deese in late June. “This is about the future of the liberal world order and we have to stand firm,” Deese responded.
The Biden presidency is a disappointment to Americans. That goes for people who voted for him—who thought he’d do a better job—and people who, even as they voted against him, did not believe he could make as much of a hash of things as he has.
The list of problems is long and growing longer. More COVID-19 cases than there were under Donald Trump. Inflation like we haven’t seen since the Carter years. Rapidly rising interest rates. Shortages. The debacle in Afghanistan. War in Ukraine. It’s no wonder a growing majority of Americans say the country is headed in the wrong direction.
According to a new Associated Press-NORC survey, 85 percent of American adults—including more than 7 in 10 Democrats—say the country is not on the right track. Almost two-thirds—60 percent—blame the president for that, with just 39 percent of those participating in the survey saying they approve of his overall presidential leadership. As if that were not bad enough, 69 percent of those surveyed, including 43 percent of the Democrats who responded, rated his handling of the economy “poor.”
Democrats need to face facts. If the president’s age is not an argument against his seeking a second term, his poll numbers are. Support for him has dropped to his predecessor’s level. Trump, at least, benefited from a highly motivated, energized bloc of diehard supporters upon whom he could always count. Biden was always a compromise choice about whom no one was truly enthusiastic.
As of now, the president’s numbers are more likely to get worse than they are to get better. It is much easier, as a friend of mine likes to observe, for his approval rating to fall deeper into the 30s than to get back above 50 percent. This is good news for the Republicans, because it makes it increasingly likely the GOP will win back control of one or both congressional chambers in November, all but guaranteeing the Biden agenda, such as it is, will grind to a full stop.
That may not put the Republicans in charge of the government, but it would effectively make Biden a “lame duck.” He won’t be able to get anything major through and won’t have anything on which to campaign for a second term. Recognizing that, GOP leaders need to be extremely strategic in deciding who they want to run in 2024.
The likely choice, most polls say, is Donald Trump. He’d be the easy winner—in a race against Biden. But what if the Democrats nominate someone else? What if Trump decides not to run? What then? It’s a puzzle, and one that’s not easily solved.
Biden has set the bar so low that it would not be too hard to find a better president among the list of potential GOP nominees—which extends well beyond the list currently being bandied about. The challenge is to find the best president, the one who will right the ship of state the current administration sent headlong into a typhoon.
The GOP needs a nominee who doesn’t just say he or she will put America’s interests first and is on the right side on critical issues like economic growth, taxes and spending, guns, abortion, and school choice, but who has demonstrated leadership on those issues. Someone who has a dynamic vision of the future most all Americans can embrace with enthusiasm.READ MORE
These people do exist. The best candidates to be “the best president” are out there now, in the U.S. Senate and running the red states. In the next campaign, their records will be what matters most. What a candidate says he wants to do needs to be measured against what he’s accomplished—or at least tried to accomplish. That goes for candidates’ record building the party as well. Did they help expand the party and its representation in Congress and the state legislatures? How many Senate, House, and gubernatorial candidates did they help? How much money did they help raise for others compared to how much they raised to fuel their own ambitions? Do they adhere to Reagan’s 11th Commandment (“thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican”), or do they resort to sharp elbows and cutting remarks against foes who should be considered friends? In short, what kind of leader do Republicans want for the next four, and perhaps eight, years?
The answer is not obvious, even for those who’ve already decided to back Trump again. He accomplished much. It’s fair to say he delivered on his promise to “Make America Great Again”—at least before the lockdowns started. His commitment to keeping his word on judges is directly responsible for the overturning of the constitutionally suspect 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which was bad law no matter which side of the issue you were on.
Trump was right for his time—but is he right for the future? He’ll get a chance to make his case after November if he chooses to run. Whether he does or doesn’t, the others who want the job will get the same chance. The Republicans who are tasked with choosing the candidate in 2024 need to keep their options open and think seriously about who can best get the country where it needs to go. If they want to win, they need to make the candidates come to them.
Biden's drift and weakness
“Which way am I going?” asked President Biden when he ended Thursday’s press conference at the NATO summit in Madrid. He began to exit stage right, before someone redirected him toward stage left. This combination of ignorance and indecision was not new. Throughout his 18 months as president, Biden has been confused, uncertain, sluggish. He behaves as if he is guided by unseen forces. He moves on a course set by hidden captains.
People notice. Every time I speak to a conservative audience, I am asked who is really in charge in the White House. My answer has been that the president is in command. After all, institutions take on the character of their leaders. If all the White House has to offer is excuses, if decisions are made either slowly or randomly, if the communications team and the president and vice president seem to live on different planets, if incompetence and mismanagement appear throughout the government, it is because the chief executive allows it. No conspiracy is required to explain the ineptitude. This is Joe Biden we are talking about.
Lately, though, I have been having second thoughts. Not that Barack Obama or Ron Klain or Dr. Jill are running the show in secret. What I have been wondering, instead, is whether anyone is leading the government at all. There is no power, either overt or covert, in or behind the throne. The throne is empty.
Think of the economy, the border, and Ukraine. From time to time, Biden addresses these issues. He may even answer questions about them. The White House sends out press releases describing its latest initiatives. Vice President Harris or the second gentleman pops up somewhere to talk about all the good she and he are doing.
Yet each of these elements—the president, his staff, his spokesperson, his vice president, his policy—comes across as disconnected, discombobulated, as if each inhabits a separate sphere of activity. Whether because of Biden’s age, or his weekend trips to Delaware, or years of remote work, or lower-level staff turnover, or a painstakingly slow decision-making process, or ideological stubbornness, or a lack of a strategic plan, this administration drifts from crisis to crisis, and from one bad headline to the next. And nothing improves.
The June 29 Reuters/Ipsos poll has Biden’s job approval rating at 38 percent. By far, Americans say the economy, unemployment, and jobs are the most important problems facing the country. What is Biden’s plan? He blames Vladimir Putin and the energy industry for high gas prices. He says it’s the Federal Reserve’s job to reduce inflation. He asks Middle East autocrats to pump more oil rather than easing the burden on domestic fossil fuel production. He wants more spending, more tax hikes, more regulation. Will Congress give him what he wants? Okay, you can stop laughing.
The result: America slouches toward stagflation because the alternative—reducing (non-China) tariffs, suspending “Buy American” provisions, reversing his entire energy policy, dropping his tax plans, committing to spending cuts—is unacceptable to the president.
Earlier this week, authorities found at least 50 dead people in a tractor-trailer on the side of a road in El Paso, Texas. The victims were illegal immigrants who had paid human traffickers to bring them to the United States. This ghastly discovery was a reminder of illegal immigration’s human toll, and of the inadequacy of Biden’s migration policies. One reporter asked White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre for her response to Republican critics. “The fact of the matter is the border is closed,” Jean-Pierre said, “which is in part why you see people trying to make this dangerous journey using smuggling networks.”
Closed? Unauthorized crossings hit another milestone in May, when Border Patrol encountered some 239,000 individuals. At that time, however, authorities could expel illegal migrants under public health regulation Title 42. The status of the Remain in Mexico program was unclear. Biden, of course, wants to end Title 42, and the Supreme Court ruled on June 30 that he has the authority to shut down Remain in Mexico. If you think the border is “closed” now, just wait.
Biden could explain to the nation why it is in our interest to admit as many asylum-seekers as possible, even if a rise in illegal entries and in cross-border human and drug trafficking is the consequence. Or he could admit that his policies are responsible for a humanitarian disaster and withdraw his earlier executive orders. Or he could use whatever political capital he has left to pass an immigration reform bill that combines legal pathways to entry with workplace enforcement. But he won’t do anything. Why? Because he is either satisfied with the situation or simply overwhelmed by it. Neither option is reassuring. And the problem grows worse.
Where Biden is most engaged is Ukraine. He warned against the invasion, rallied NATO against Russia, encouraged Sweden and Finland to join the Western alliance, and committed America to supply Ukraine with aid and weapons. “The generic point is that we’re supplying them with the capacity—and the overwhelming courage they’ve demonstrated—that, in fact, they can continue to resist the Russian aggression,” Biden told reporters Thursday. “And so, I don’t know what—how it’s going to end, but it will not end with a Russian defeat of Ukraine in Ukraine.”
Shouldn’t the leader of the Free World have some idea of how this brutal conflict might end? The war has taken a horrible human toll. Its effects on energy and food markets have been devastating. The goal should be to end the war.
How? Not by giving Putin what he wants. By giving Ukraine what it needs to push Russia back to the pre-war line of control. A Russia on defense is more likely to sue for peace.
Biden makes this prospect more difficult by limiting the systems we provide to Ukraine, by dribbling them out over time, and by insisting that we won’t provide Ukraine with weapons that could strike targets inside Russia. From the start of the war, Biden has been more interested in signaling to Russia what he won’t do than in causing Putin to fear what he might do. His self-constraint extends the fighting rather than shortens it and provides Russia the space for its slow roll through eastern and southern Ukraine. The war has become another disaster that Biden allows to play out in the background, in between bike rides and scoops of ice cream from Starkey’s.
American aid to Ukraine is just and necessary. Since 1947, the policy of the United States has been to “support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures.” But Biden won’t be able to sustain the domestic support for American involvement in a years-long war of attrition. He needs to match his actions with his words and drop his inhibitions on the aid we provide the Ukrainians. And he could do so while launching a peace initiative, thereby restoring coercive diplomacy as a tool of American foreign policy.
Coulda, woulda, shoulda. Decisive leadership is not Joe Biden’s calling card. And so, the crises continue to mount. And Americans are left with feelings of aimlessness and fear.
Democrats denounce fuel tax suspension
On the campaign trail in 2008, Obama said of the tax suspension, “We’re arguing over a gimmick that would save you half a tank of gas over the course of the entire summer so that everyone in Washington can pat themselves on the back and say they did something. Well, let me tell you, this isn’t an idea designed to get you through the summer, it’s designed to get them through an election.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) in April said gas tax holidays are “good PR,” but shared the concern that there is “no guarantee that the reduction in the federal tax would be passed on to the consumer.”
Rep. Peter DeFazio, (D., Ore.), the chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, agreed.
“Suspending the 18.4 cents per gallon federal gas tax is not going to give consumers significant relief—if any at all,” DeFazio said in February, adding that the move may have negative effects. “Suspending the tax will blow a $26 billion hole in the highway trust fund this year and cause further delay in rebuilding our decrepit infrastructure and the tens of thousands of jobs that investment would have provided.”
Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) also foresees road blocks for infrastructure projects. He said the suspension “just doesn’t make sense,” adding, “People want their bridges and their roads, and we have an infrastructure bill we just passed this summer, and they want to take that all away.”
The Free Beacon reported Monday that Biden is the least popular president in more than a century. Democrats are on the fence about his viability for a second term and bracing for a tumultuous midterm season.