By Steve Cortes for RealClearPolitics
The Biden Blue Christmas is heading this way. So far, his tenure in the White House has been marked by successive, self-created scandals, especially at the southern border and the totally botched exit from Afghanistan. But the most lasting, broadest policy blunder of all is the Biden economic crisis that will culminate in a holiday season of shortages, frustration, and economic malaise.
The latest data points showcase the severity of inflation’s surge, with last week’s Core PCE (personal consumption expenditure index) reaching the highest level in 30 years. That number validates the earlier consumer price index readings of June through August at 5.3% or above, the highest inflation levels since 2008.
Compare that pricing spike with the end of the Trump term, when the 45th president handed off to Joe Biden a tame inflation rate of only 1.4% for January 2021. In fact, even as America aggressively reopened from pandemic restrictions in mid-2020, Trump engineered an economic recovery with inflation at 1.4% or lower for the last six months of his administration.
What caused the sudden and massive spike in prices? It was the gargantuan amount of reckless borrowing and radical spending initiated by the new president. Once Biden took office, encouraged by a complicit corporate media, he used his razor-thin Democrat majorities on Capitol Hill to take a government that was already borrowing and spending too much, and put the fiscal profligacy on steroids.
These spending orgies included massive incentives for Americans to not work, including hugely juiced jobless benefits and a sustained moratorium on paying rents. Unsurprisingly, this policy mix has resulted in a stubbornly low workforce participation rate. That lack of workers, in turn, has stymied and slowed the broader recovery, and amplified the systemic supply-chain breakdowns that plague the economy.
Even the biased Washington Post just admitted this dearth of workers as a cause of the disruptions, conceding that “there aren’t enough truckers or warehouse workers.” So, paying millions of people to stay home for months on end has lasting ramifications? Go figure.
Because of Biden’s radical agenda, we face a broken budget with the massive inflationary effects, plus dangerous supply shocks in an economy that runs on just-in-time inventories. Making matters even worse, Biden’s unconstitutional and unscientific mandate to force vaccinations upon the vast majority of American workers as a condition of employment will push even more workers to the sidelines.
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What will be the results of America’s clogged ports and inability to move materials? In the coming weeks and months, shortages of key products will exacerbate, likely culminating in scarcity of vital consumer goods right into the critical Christmas shopping season.
Because of Joe Biden, there is a strong chance that many items Americans want and need will simply not be available. As for those products that will be in stock, prices will shock customers, a spike many consumer giants such as Costco and Nike have already warned will last into year-end.
Adding to these economic obstacles, working-class citizens face a cruel winter of immensely higher home heating costs. For example, propane is used by millions of Americans to warm their homes, and prices have nearly tripled since Biden was elected.
The outlook is not much better for natural gas, because those prices are up a stunning 89% since Biden was elected. That price increase should particularly gall Americans since Donald Trump had transformed our country into the Saudi Arabia of natural gas and an energy superpower overall.
That inheritance has been squandered by Joe Biden and his misbegotten war on U.S energy. As usual with leftist policies, people of modest incomes will literally pay the price as temperatures drop in the coming weeks.
American citizens have awakened to these economic realities, as shown in several key surveys. Biden began his tenure with considerable favorability. For example, he boasted a nearly 20 percentage-point positive ratio of approval vs. disapproval, as reflected by the RealClearPolitics polling average.
That high regard had reversed all the way into negative territory in August, and Biden remains underwater on that key sentiment metric.
The sputtering economy clearly compels much of this polling collapse, as a scant 17% of Americans strongly approve of his handling of jobs and economy, while twice that many strongly disapprove at 34%, per the latest Economist/YouGov poll.
Biden’s ineptitude on the economy further drives an overall sudden reversal to broad pessimism, as 54% of citizens now believe the country is on the wrong track vs. only 41% reporting we are headed in the right direction, per Harvard CAPS/Harris polling. For context, as recently as July that number was almost the reverse, with 53% then reporting our country on the right track.
Citizens sense the decline as they live the reality of expensive fill-ups and scarce goods. Sadly, the economic die is cast for the coming holiday season. It will be a Biden Blue Christmas.
But, if hope is to spring eternal come 2022, then congressional Republicans need the guts and gumption now to halt the Biden agenda and apply a fiscal tourniquet to stop the inflation surge. They can do it with the debt ceiling.
When the Dems come begging for help, pleading for an increase, the proper GOP response must be to look Joe, Nancy, and Chuck in the eye, smile — and firmly say “no.”
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