Inflation statistics for April were released this morning, and they can't be what Democrats were hoping for. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "The all items index increased 8.3 percent for the 12 months ending [in] April, a smaller increase than the 8.5-percent figure for the period ending in March." The slight decrease, due to a 2.7-percent decline in energy prices, has been rendered meaningless by spiking national average gas prices over the past 10 days, which reached a new record high today of $4.404 per gallon.
As midterm elections loom ever closer, persistently high inflation signals trouble for the party in power. Their situation is so desperate that President Biden went on defense yesterday, even before the numbers were released. "I know you've got to be frustrated," he said. "I know. I can taste it." Taste it? I guess that's better than smelling, but what does inflation taste like? "I think the flavor is Tutti Frutti," said FRC President Tony Perkins. "He's trying to portray empathy, but he doesn't get it," said Senate Budget Committee member Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.). "When you don't fill up your own tank with gas, and you don't actually go to the grocery store... you're not relating."
But it doesn't take a taste test to tell Americans are fed up with uncontrolled inflation. According to a Trafalgar Group poll conducted in late April, "lowering inflation and fixing the economy" is the top concern for 38.5 percent of voters, leading among nearly every age, racial, and political subdivision, including Democrats. Even a CNN poll found that 50 percent named the economy as their top concern. In that poll, fully two-thirds disapproved of Biden's handling of the economy, and 55 percent of respondents said, "Joe Biden's policies have worsened economic conditions in the country," compared to only 19 percent who said his polices have improved conditions.
In his speech yesterday, President Biden proved he can read polls, but applying them is something different. He insisted inflation was his "top domestic priority" and promised to talk about solutions, but he "was very short on specifics," as Perkins said. "He was blaming everybody else, as he always does," Cramer added. "It was Vladimir Putin's fault. It was his predecessor's fault. Now, it's 'MAGA Republicans'' fault. Yet he forgets... when he became president, inflation was 1.5 or 1.6 percent."
Perkins suggested Biden is failing to fix the economy by interfering too much. "More government spending, higher taxes, and continued government regulation: how is that going to help supply and demand?" asked Perkins. "If you're in a position of government, you don't make anything. You just watch whatever other people make. It's really the private sector that drives the economy, but you can affect that by cutting regulations, cutting taxes so that people produce more. That's what brings the prices down." Cramer agreed that Biden has "got the supply, demand curves completely upside down." He "pushed through this $2 trillion giveaway program... which put fuel on the fire of inflation," while on the supply side he "squelches energy development."
On top of this, Cramer protested, Biden's "environmental policies run up straight against his economic policies." To reduce gas prices, "they want to push us all to electric vehicles," while slow-walking new drilling permits for cost-effective oil and gas. Biden signed a "$12,500 per electric vehicle" subsidy, said Cramer, but "he's shut down critical mineral mining" for their batteries. Cramer suggested administration officials "don't have a fundamental understanding of what motivates the private sector." When Jesus said, "do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing" (Matthew 6:3), he was condemning charitable acts done to earn men's praise, not endorsing government policies that contradict each other.
Cramer said Biden hurts the economy by his signals, even when they don't result in policy. "Where he doesn't have regulatory authority, he sends messages.... He proposes regulations that will probably never become final," Cramer complained, sending "messages to the investment community... 'don't invest here.' The previous administration that he loves to blame -- they didn't have this problem."
Democrats have rolled out a new favorite term, "MAGA Republicans," but Cramer suggested that's "a term of endearment" to those who know what it means. "We'd love to go back to the Make America Great Again days, when inflation was 1.4 percent," he said. When "the cost of gasoline, the cost of food, the cost of everything was less, where people were making more money, where the middle class was growing, ... when the nation was secure, before Russia dared to invade its neighbor, ... and the southern border was actually managed." Instead of fixing "the economy, stupid," President Biden has chosen to play "pin the blame on the GOP," but voters aren't buying it.