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Douglas Andrews / May 13, 2021

Is Joe Channeling Jimmy?

Our current president’s awful policies bear a strong resemblance to those of an inept Democrat of yore.

Did you hear the one about the guy who was nabbed at the border for trying to smuggle 50 sheets of plywood inside a shipment of cocaine?

We’ll show ourselves out.

Still, the best humor is always rooted in a kernel of truth, and that’s certainly the case with the inflation we’ve seen of late — from gas to beef to lumber. As our Nate Jackson pointed out today, “While both parties went on a spending binge last year that goosed inflation numbers, Joe Biden aims to be the Six Trillion Dollar Man with his runaway federal spending proposals. Instead of slowing down on spending as the economy recovers, Biden insists ‘it’s working’ and therefore we need more of it.”

Right. All we need is more cowbell.

Inflation, though, is just part of our predicament in Joe Biden’s America. Those who lived through the late ‘70s likely remember another hapless Democrat, President Jimmy Carter, addressing the nation during the summer of '79 about its “crisis of confidence,” about its discord and discontent. “It’s clear that the true problems of our nation are much deeper, deeper than gasoline lines or energy shortages. Deeper, even, than inflation or recession. … The threat is nearly invisible in ordinary ways. It is a crisis of confidence. It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will.”

It was a clever bit of misdirection; an attempt to tell the American people that economic recession, runaway inflation, high unemployment, and long gas lines were merely distracting us from our search for meaning. It was ultimately dubbed “The Malaise Speech,” although Carter never uttered that word. Ronald Reagan did. And it stuck.

Just a week ago, any comparison between Jimmy Carter and Joe Biden would’ve seemed a stretch. A week ago, we were poised for another strong jobs report, and the Dow had closed above 34,500. Today? Not so stretchy at all.

As the Daily Wire’s Joseph Curl writes, “With long gas lines across the country, sky-high inflation, and rising unemployment, Carter decided to blame Americans for the country’s woes. … Things in America seem to be moving along the same path nowadays. The parallels are by no means perfect, but the optics are certainly similar.”

Unemployment is indeed up, and that’s in large part due to our government paying people not to work. Not so, though, says Biden, or maybe kinda sorta. You figure it out: “I know there’s been a lot of discussion since Friday — since Friday’s report that people are being paid to stay home rather than go to work,” said the president on Monday. “Well, we don’t see much evidence of that. That is a major factor — we don’t see that — that — look, it’s easy to say — the line has been, because of the generous unemployment benefits, that it’s a major factor in labor shortages.”

Got it?

As for gas, this week’s cyberattack caused a shortage and a spike in prices, but the average cost of a gallon was $2.36 before Biden took office, and it’s now nearly $3.00 — unless you live in woebegone California, where the average cost is $4.11 a gallon.

Are these comparisons to Carter unfair? One observer clearly thinks so. “I see that everybody is comparing Joe Biden to Jimmy Carter,” noted former President Donald Trump yesterday. “It would seem to me that is very unfair to Jimmy Carter. Jimmy mishandled crisis after crisis, but Biden has CREATED crisis after crisis.”

He’s got a point.

To be sure, we’re nowhere near Carteresque levels of bone-crushing inflation. Yet. And Biden’s economic ineptitude hasn’t yet inspired a brand-new word such as Carter’s “stagflation,” which combines the miserable troika of persistently high inflation, high unemployment, and economic stagnation.

But if Scranton Joe starts donning cardigan sweaters and talking about a crisis of confidence, we can then start to be afraid. Very afraid.

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