Joe Biden’s ‘beyond tone-deaf’ inflation party

Joe Biden’s ‘beyond tone-deaf’ inflation party

Posted For: MugsMalone

Byron York

JOE BIDEN’S ‘BEYOND TONE-DEAF’ INFLATION PARTY. Tuesday was a really bad day for the economy. Amid hopes that inflation might be abating, the Commerce Department reported that prices remain persistently high, and what is known as the “core inflation” rate actually rose in August.

This is from the Wall Street Journal: “The consumer price index rose 8.3% in August from the same month a year ago, down from 8.5% in July and from 9.1% in June, which was the highest inflation rate in four decades. … So-called core CPI, which excludes energy and food prices, increased 6.3% in August from a year earlier, up markedly from the 5.9% rate in both June and July — a signal that broad price pressures strengthened. … Investors and policymakers follow core inflation closely as a reflection of broad, underlying inflation and as a predictor of future inflation.”

It was a particularly bad day for Americans who need to eat in order to live. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the price of dairy products was up 16.2% over last year. The price of meat, poultry, fish, and eggs was up 10.6%. Cereals and bakery products up 16.4%. Fruits and vegetables up 9.4%. Nonalcoholic beverages up 13.4%. And other grocery items up 16.7%.

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As a result of the bad inflation news, Wall Street melted down. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 1,276 points, down 3.94%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq fell 5.16%. People looked at their battered 401(k) balances and groaned. And then they asked: When will this end? How bad will things get?

As all this was happening, President Joe Biden was throwing a party at the White House. A big outdoor bash with hundreds of guests and happiness all ’round. The purpose was to celebrate the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act, the climate and healthcare spending bill that Democrats passed last month. It will not reduce inflation, but Democrats decided to call it the Inflation Reduction Act to give the impression that they are acting on the public’s No. 1 concern.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) was there, as was Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Both were in high spirits, smiling, laughing, joking, happy to be there. “What a thrill it is to be here to celebrate this life-changing legislation, the Inflation Reduction Act,” Pelosi said. “Inflation Reduction Act — so beautifully named.”

“So beautifully named.” That was Pelosi’s way of doubling down against critics who pointed out that the bill will not reduce inflation. You think we’re going to run away from the name just because it’s misleading? Not a chance. In fact, it’s a beautiful name. Former President Donald Trump would say things like that — pronounce something “beautiful” and double down on supporting it when critics attacked. Pelosi does it, too.

When Biden was introduced, he came out with Vice President Kamala Harris and a woman named Lovette Jacobs, who the White House identified as a “5th year International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 103 electrical apprentice and member of the Electrical Workers Minority Caucus & Women’s Caucus.” With Biden, there’s always a union involved, and the president declared, as he often does, that the new bill will create “good-paying union jobs.” And then those union workers will pay dues, part of which will be sent to the Democratic Party in the form of political contributions.

But here’s the thing: On the day that inflation proved beyond any doubt that it is a terrible problem likely to plague people for a long time to come, on this day that Democrats were celebrating a bill they called the Inflation Reduction Act, Biden said not a word about the day’s news about inflation. He just claimed the bill would reduce inflation, even as his own Bureau of Labor Statistics sent out more bad news.

It was all, as Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) said on Fox Business, “beyond tone-deaf.” But the day was important beyond its awkwardness. In fact, Tuesday might mark a turning point of sorts in the fight for control of Washington.

For more than a month, we have heard about growing optimism among Democrats. Perhaps they will not lose big in the midterm elections, as everyone thought. Maybe they’ll do much better and perhaps even keep control of the Senate or House or both — that was the daily message.

Democrats thought they had three things going for them. First, they assumed inflation would go down and thus diminish in importance to voters. Second, they thought they could use the Supreme Court’s abortion decision against Republican opponents. And third, they hoped to make Trump, unpopular with many voters, a key focus of the campaign in light of his recent legal troubles.

But what happened on Tuesday was that, even as Biden and top Democrats were partying, inflation and the economy, as issues, came roaring back. The Democratic happy talk became a lot less happy as it became clear that inflation is, and remains, the public’s most worrisome problem — even if the partiers on the White House lawn did not want to admit it.

For a deeper dive into many of the topics covered in the Daily Memo, please listen to my podcast, The Byron York Show — available on the Ricochet Audio Network and everywhere else podcasts can be found. You can use this link to subscribe.

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