The Trump era saw countless news stories quoting unnamed officials speaking disapprovingly of their boss “on the condition of anonymity.” Because of record-level inflation that will persist through the midterm elections, Biden is beginning to receive similar treatment by reporters citing “people close to the White House.”
Biden’s strategy so far has been to blame a nation with the GDP of Italy for price hikes in the nation he leads, a nation that hosts the largest government on Planet Earth. That’s a highly relevant fact, somehow often ignored.
That is, the same Biden administration that blamed Putin back in April for gas price hikes and today blames the Russian leader for higher prices on everything else, is the same one that pushed for raising America’s debt ceiling past $30 trillion in December.
While the White House has reluctantly acknowledged that price hikes began well before the Russia-Ukraine conflict, it is a trap to think the Administration is opposed to higher prices and inflation as such. These are merely politically inconvenient given looming midterms, so shifting blame has taken on some urgency.
Bluntly, progressives with whom Biden’s trafficks and vets his policies not only remain unswayed on undermining fossil energy supplies and increasing prices to coerce “transformation,” they intend that government perform an increasing share of the ordinary duties of able-bodied adults, and seek a universal basic income. Modern monetary theory, to which many on the left subscribe, presents no apparent limiting factor on “investments” in climate change mitigation, infrastructure, health care, and the custodial/UBI administrative state.
So make no mistake: in no sense has Biden backed off his costly “build back better” agenda. It is expensive on purpose, even as the administration claims it is aimed at “lowering costs and lowering the deficit.” There is nothing cheap and cost-cutting about transforming much of American life away from limited government and toward centralization.
At the tail end of a health and economic crisis being exploited globally (not just in the U.S.) to pursue unrelated “reset” aims, optics impel the administration to attribute record inflation to “Putin’s price hike and a war in which the United States is ostensibly not a combatant. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre did it again this week, with minimal pushback.
What got us to this burgeoning chaos is less the pandemic than two years of extremes in irresponsible bipartisan reactions to it. These began with the 2020 Families First Coronavirus Response Act’s family-leave mandates imposed when business survival as such was on the line. Next in line were the CARES Act’s massive business bailouts, fiscal stimulus injections, financial market interventions, preferences and subsidization, housing market disruptions via eviction moratoria. There was even more, capped with the attendant abuse and fraud accompanying the rapid release of multiple trillions of dollars. State and local lockdowns given license by the Centers for Disease Control and enabled by federal funding topped everything off, along with a steadfast refusal to permanently root out unneeded federal regulations.
The problem now, though is different. Arrogant spending pursuits and regulatory recklessness are corrupting, inflationary and a contributor to today’s supply chain disruptions; yet politicians like Biden continue escalating beyond the initial emergency rationales.
Unaffordable and rash interventions continued throughout 2021 with Biden’s—not Putin’s—costly American Rescue Plan and an expensive, inflationary and hyper-regulatory Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that Biden takes credit for and touts almost daily. Invoking “Putin’s price hike,” Biden in 2022 runs the ball touting new spending he claims will “Build a Better America with … investments in rural communities” and his unimaginative stand-alone EV charging stations.
Biden’s National Economic Council Director Brian Deese this week not only called for Congress to fund hundreds of billions of spending on yet another major bill (the Bipartisan Innovation Act) to allegedly promote innovation, technology and outcompete China, Deese also lamented that “we still don’t have a dedicated supply chain … office within the federal government that is funded adequately to actually take on, map, and aggressively go at these challenges.” Imagine what would be done with a new federal office of general supply planning in the wake of the interventions underway today.
Related to all the aformenented scapegoating and lack of self-reflection and assumption of responsibility, Biden repeatedly blames industry concentration for pricing and supply problems, but ignores the federal goverenment’s own massive procurement and contracting monopsony powers. The effects of those ignored little details range from the disruption of baby formula supplies via government purchases and supplier preferences, to the morphing of the Department of Defense into perhaps the largest and most interventionist “regulatory” agency of all.
But the problem goes even beyond these—and greatly so. Even now, rather than provide any indication whatsoever of reining in any federal excesses, Biden is pushing unilateral and inflationary executive action in at least four epic “Whole-of-Government” (that’s Biden’s term, but seems to go back to Britain’s Tony Blair) spending and regulatory campaigns.
Biden’s new open-ended federal pursuits encompass “Equity,” “Climate Crisis,” “Competition Policy,” and even “Long Covid.” Those are not and will not be the last, but all will make conducting business harder and prices even higher. Speaking of America’s Defense functions being drafted into the services of such regulatory conceits, even remarks to the U.S. Coast Guard today found Biden pushing his secular religion climate agenda and the Guardsmen pawns’ role in it.
We have reached the point at which, to address ongoing spending and regulatory extremism, emergency passage of an “Abuse-of-Crisis Prevention Act” is necessary. Biden of course would never sign such legislation, but the wheels need to be set in motion by others at the federal level. We’ve seen enough by now: Intolerable political predations and subsequent exploitations accompanied not just the recent pandemic, but also featured heavily after the 9/11 crisis with the creation of a Department of Homeland Security that has since turned on Americans and escalated surveillance of them, as well as the financial bailouts of 2008 that saw no consequences for the very federal agencies that caused the destabilization in the first place with their deliberate socialization of risk.
Holding authorities from local police to presidents accountable has become a central fixture in today’s political debate, but primarily when their actions cut against progressives’ ideals. On the flipside, progressives also cause harm and do wrong, and should answer for it “red flag law”-style. Specific, living, breathing government officials need to be held accountable for the devastation their interventions and “flash policy” interventions cause. The response to Covid and the more recent artificially generated scarcities in basic energy and food staples are examples crying out for discipline of some kind, as well as steps to ensure their like does not happen again.
Rather than facing unprecedented inflation, Americans should be scaling new heights of prosperity and enjoying ever cheaper goods after having abandoned what even Biden called “forever wars” upon the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Public policy should have us wallowing in savings and intergenerational prosperity instead of suffering anew with inflation and intergenerational debt.
Unfortunately we find ourselves at a point where Biden’s own 2022 State of the Union Address did not merely double down but trillioned down on new spending and regulation. Biden’s Whole-of-Government interventionist pursuits represent the primary inflationary threats of today—and tomorrow.
Speaking of the new 118th Congress being seated after the aforementioned midterms, a series of hearings in multiple committees therein must get to the bottom of the myriad spending, regulatory and crisis abuses of recent years and rectify matters before the next inevitable economic shock pounces upon the scene. There even should be new committees erected in both the House and Senate devoted exclusively to disciplining the abuse of crisis and gutting the bloated federal government and its administrative agencies.
Otherwise, tomorrow’s leadership will attempt to exploit crisis again, and in the pandemonium that follows, blame some outside party for supply disruptions and price hikes.
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