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October 18, 2021

‘Losing Control of Inflation’

Rising prices have been the story of Joe Biden’s presidency, and more folks are sounding the alarm.

“We’re in more danger than we’ve been during my career of losing control of inflation in the U.S.” That’s not some right-wing GOP operative scoring political points on Joe Biden. It’s Larry Summers, Barack Obama’s National Economic Council director.

It seems like just yesterday that Biden insisted “no serious economist” was warning about “unchecked inflation.” It was July.

“Transitory” inflation, which is what Biden’s Federal Reserve has been calling it for months, isn’t so transitory. In fact, it has a rather long-term feel to it, especially with major issues with the supply chain that Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg is too busy to tackle. Some of those issues are caused by major shifts in the labor market, many of which can be traced back to Democrat policies.

How do we know what Team Biden actually thinks of inflation? Well, Social Security recipients just got a boost of 5.9%. That’s an eye-popping increase for a program that hasn’t seen that kind of increase since, you guessed it, the Jimmy Carter years. As political analyst David Harsanyi wryly observes, “So, apparently, the government believes the transitory period will extend at least into the next year.”

If senior citizens only get their news from CNN, they’ll thank Biden for the raise — which is exactly the government’s calculation. But if they’re up to speed on reality, they’ll know all too well that inflation is Biden’s way of taxing them. If only private employer wages could keep up with inflation.

Just remember this major expense for Social Security when (A) the nation’s biggest (earned) entitlement is already nearly exhausted and (B) when congressional Democrats are vigorously pushing massive new or expanded entitlements via trillions of dollars in new spending.

In what may be news to Democrats everywhere, Senator Rand Paul noted, “Money doesn’t grow on trees; money’s got to come from somewhere.”

“Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon,” said the great economist Milton Friedman in 1963. “And [inflation] can be produced only by a more rapid increase in the quantity of money than in output.” In other words, as the Fed pumps trillions of dollars into the economy, it’s chasing fewer goods and services thanks to supply chains and unemployment. The Keynesians in the White House think only of goosing the demand side without helping the supply side. The result is rampant inflation.

The inflation we’re told about in headlines is 5.4% for the year, but dozens of things that people buy with some frequency are up much more than that. Chicken is up 8%, eggs and pork 13%, and beef 18%. Tried to buy a car? Used cars are up 24%. Tried to rent a car? If you can find one, prices are up 43%. Gas is 42% higher for whatever car you’re stuck with driving.

Other than Social Security raises, how is Biden going to handle all this inflation? By focusing on … climate change. With as much as it will cost to heat your home this winter, a little global warming might be a welcome solution.

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