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Team Biden might be purposefully crushing the middle class

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Vladimir Lenin supposedly once said, “The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.”

There’s some doubt as to whether this line is genuine; regardless, it seems like a pretty good description of what the Biden administration is doing to America’s middle class. 

Inflation is running rampant. The Producer Price Index, the most useful measure of general inflation, is up a whopping 16.3% from April 2021, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

That means that roughly $1 out of every $6 that people earn has been lost to inflation in a single year. Or to put it another way, 80 minutes’ earnings out of every eight-hour day have been eaten up.

This is predictable, of course. Team Biden took an already-bloated federal budget and supersized it with spending last year, printing money hand-over-fist to fund a massive array of pork-filled programs, many if not most of which guided billions of dollars into the pockets of Democratic Party supporters.

Americans are experiencing sky-high gas prices.
AFP via Getty Images

President Joe Biden dismissed inflation worries at the time, saying that Milton Friedman — the famed inflation-fighting economist — no longer runs the show. Well, the late economist certainly didn’t run Biden’s show, but his observation that inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon was borne out in spades as prices took off.

And it was a double whammy. Inflation comes when you have too much money chasing too few goods. The spending part provided the excess money, but the Biden team was right there helping to ensure fewer goods, too.

Gas prices going up? Not only was Biden’s spending program stimulating inflation, but at the same time Biden policies were reducing the amount of gasoline, diesel and heating oil those dollars could buy. Biden went wild canceling pipelines, ending gas and oil leases, imposing stricter environmental rules and — in cooperation with big institutional investors — choking off the finances of people trying to produce new fuel supplies.

Elon Musk
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has criticized President Joe Biden’s approach to fossil fuels.
Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

As Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) observed, “There has been a comprehensive hostility to the energy sector by this administration.” And how.

Even electric-car king Elon Musk has been mocking the Biden administration’s fixation on ending fossil fuels. The realities of physics and the marketplace mean that replacing gasoline vehicles with electric cars isn’t going to happen soon, no matter how big a squeeze Team Biden puts on Americans.

And what a squeeze it is. Even in Knoxville, where gas prices tend to be lower, I’ve paid more than $5 a gallon for gas. In other parts of the country, it’s selling for more than $7. Diesel — needed to move goods whose prices are already going up because of inflation — is even more expensive, adding costs to everything in what’s left of our supply-chain network. And there’s no relief in sight.

Baby formula
American mothers are facing a baby formula shortage.
AFP via Getty Images

Natasha Kaneva, a J.P. Morgan researcher, predicts a “cruel summer” with gas prices averaging more than $6 a gallon by August. Team Biden likes this, because it will encourage people to drive less and to buy electric cars.

More expensive oil, coupled with the Ukraine war, also means more expensive fertilizer and thus more expensive food. Biden official Samantha Power thinks this is useful because it will encourage farmers to move from artificial fertilizers to things like compost and manure, which she calls “transitions that would have been in the interest of farmers to make eventually anyway.”

Someone needs to tell Power that Sri Lanka tried to “transition” to organic fertilizers and wrecked its economy, leaving its people hungry. Is that what she has in mind for Americans?

Then there’s the baby-formula shortage, which is not the result of a natural disaster or war but an overreaching Food and Drug Administration order that shut down a huge swath of domestic production (which FDA and other federal policies had already limited to a handful of big players), with little or no thought to the consequences. Now the Biden team, in a sort of reverse Berlin Airlift, is flying in pallets of formula from Europe, which may look good on TV but does little to address the problem.

So does the Biden administration actually want to see middle-class Americans reduced to poverty and privation? Or is it just too stupid to foresee the obvious consequences of its own action? At this point, I’m not even sure which is worse.

But with the midterms coming, no amount of talk about gun control, abortion or other Democratic hot-button issues is going to distract Americans from what’s happening to their pocketbooks. Good.

Glenn Harlan Reynolds is a professor of law at the University of Tennessee and founder of the InstaPundit.com blog.



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