Biden Has No Plan to Fight Inflation

Welcome to the pages of the Journal, Mr. President. I trust that your recent comment on your inflation plan is the first of many contributions to this paper. I’ll admit I’m jealous: you’ve been given 1,122 words to tell your story. We smaller lights get less than 820.

Let me start with similarities. You began your article by admitting that “Americans are concerned” about the economy. I agree. Just like most of the others. In May, the Gallup Economic Confidence Index hit its lowest level since early 2009, just before the end of the Great Recession.

They boasted about how good things are, claiming their “economic and vaccination plans” were the reason. Let me suggest another perspective: They have a RealClearPolitics average of 35.5% approval rating for dealing with the economy because (a) things are not so good for many ordinary families; (b) voters know that jobs and growth are returning primarily because the pandemic shutdowns are ending, not because of your actions; and (c) it was your predecessor who made sure we had vaccines in record time.

It was wise to promise that “fighting inflation” is your top economic priority. But in your next paragraph, you pass the buck by saying that the Federal Reserve has “a primary responsibility” for fighting inflation. You might think this could take the blame off you if things don’t improve before the midterms, but it really just sounds petty.

They have promised to take “every practical step” to bring down inflation, but have then revived previous promises and achievements. For example, you said you would fix supply chains. Haven’t you been working on it since you took office? You’ve been promoting infrastructure spending, but didn’t Democrats and Republicans pass a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill last November?

Other “practical steps” sounded similarly familiar, such as “clean energy tax credits and investments,” drug price controls, and “child and elder care” programs. Oh, that’s right, they were in your Build Back Better plan that the Democrat-controlled Congress didn’t approve last year! Also, spending more will not reduce inflation. Instead, every dollar Washington would pay for your initiatives over a decade — realistic estimates for Build Back Better are $570 billion for green energy, $752 billion for childcare and universal preschoolers, and $8 billion for elderly care — would likely be inflation boost.

It was probably just bad timing, but your column appeared online on the same day as a lengthy Washington Post article about how you, along with other policymakers, “failed to recognize the mounting crisis of inflation.” In February 2021, you called for more spending when critics warned your $1.9 trillion American bailout would accelerate inflation. Even after your finance minister admitted in June that inflation could hit 3% by the end of 2021, in July you called it “temporary” and in August your advisers dismissed inflation fears. saying “One month doesn’t make a trend.” By December, inflation was 6.8%, a 40-year high. When a Democratic president loses the Washington Post, he’s in trouble. They are.

In your column you said you reduced the deficit by $1.7 trillion this year. I have addressed this claim before, and your comment requires me to do so again. The deficit has shrunk, but not because of your actions. That was because Congress blocked your extraordinarily expensive Build Back Better plan and failed to provide another massive Covid relief package like twice in 2020 because circumstances had changed. When you previously made similar calls for deficit reduction, the Committee on Federal Budget Responsibility called you “out of place,” while the CBO pointed out that your deficit in 2021 was the second-largest since 1945, in part due to massive new spending was due to which you have enforced. and a CNN fact-checker said they were “distorting reality.”

Your proposals to “reduce the deficit even further” are also unattractive. They would raise taxes on US corporations, eliminate their advantage over foreign competitors, expand IRS audits, and increase taxes on billionaires. Yet even progressives admit there are only 664 of them. That’s not nearly enough to pay for your spending spree.

I wasn’t thrilled with your final twist. They urged “open and honest discussion” between Democrats and Republicans, but only after warning of an alleged GOP plan to raise taxes and hollow out social programs. This is a proposal from a single senator that was politely ignored by all other Republicans. The Post has already awarded you three Pinocchios (“major factual error”) for that claim.

It was wise to take your case to a newspaper whose editorial page often criticizes you. However, your challenge in winning voters is not that you have not explained your views and your policies, but that you must demonstrate greater competence. What Democrats will discover this November is that you can’t talk (or write) your way out of a mess, Mr. President. Ultimately, a CEO wins or loses public trust based on their record. As for inflation, yours is miserable. And your comment is not a plan either.

Mr. Rove helped organize the American Crossroads political action committee and is the author of The Triumph of William McKinley (Simon & Schuster, 2015).

Wonderland: White House now says US economy is ‘in transition’ You got that part right. Images: Getty Images/The Universal Archive via AP Composite: Mark Kelly

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