[guest post by JVW]
UPDATE: As Paul Montagu and DCSCA have pointed out, the Biden Administration also had their vaccine mandates for private employers smacked down by the Supreme Court today. As Paul Montagu writes, it is a big victory for federalism and an important loss for allowing unelected appointees and a federal bureaucracy to impose far-reaching regulations without the assent of Congress.
— Original Post —
The numbers are in, and they ought to be embarrassing to the Biden Administration who spent the past year insisting that its spending orgies would actually tame rather than exacerbate the rise in inflation:
Inflation plowed ahead at its fastest 12-month pace in nearly 40 years during December, according to a closely watched gauge the Labor Department released Wednesday.
The consumer price index, a metric that measures costs across dozens of items, increased 7%, according to the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. On a monthly basis, CPI rose 0.5%.
Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting the gauge to increase 7% on an annual basis and 0.4% from November.
The annual move was the fastest increase since June 1982 and comes amid a shortage of goods and workers and on the heels of unprecedented cash flowing through the U.S. economy from Congress and the Federal Reserve.
Even left-wing media outlets get that inflation is disastrous, and though they are loath to admit it, they are staring to understand the effect that pouring trillions of imaginary dollars into the economy over the past eighteen months has had in driving up prices. Naturally, the concern among the left isn’t so much for how rampant inflation affects working-class and poor families, it’s for how it might help Republicans and hurt Democrats in this November’s elections.
At National Review, Charles C. W. Cooke views the latest inflation news as proof positive that Joe Manchin was absolutely right in opposing Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.
The last year has been the tale of two Joes. There has been Joe Biden, whose core position on inflation has been that it wouldn’t dare interfere with his presidency. In July, Biden insisted that “there’s nobody suggesting there’s unchecked inflation on the way — no serious economist — that’s totally different.” In December, when inflation could no longer be denied, Biden alternated between insisting that inflation was about to go away and pretending that his plan to spend another $3.5 trillion would somehow prevent it from getting worse. Today, the White House is sounding equally schizophrenic. Inflation is peaking, says Jen Psaki, confidently. Oh, and also, it’s not real.
And then there has been Joe Manchin, who has not only seen inflation coming, but has clearly articulated the link between its pending arrival and our excessive government spending. In September of last year, Manchin explained that he wasn’t thrilled by the prospect of adding trillions more in spending to the World War II–sized figure that the federal government has approved since March of 2020, given the risks that such spending would pose. “Suggesting that spending trillions more will not have an impact on inflation,” he wrote, “ignores the everyday reality that America’s families continue to pay an unavoidable inflation tax.” In November, Manchin was even clearer. “I, for one,” he vowed, “won’t support a multitrillion-dollar bill without greater clarity about why Congress chooses to ignore the serious effects inflation and debt have on our economy and existing government programs.” “Elected leaders,” Manchin concluded, “continue to ignore exploding inflation, that our national debt continues to grow, and interest payments on the debt will start to rapidly increase when the FED has to start raising interest rates to try to slow down runaway inflation.”
Joe Manchin was right.
Mr. Cooke goes on to remind us that the Biden Administration, far from being chagrined at their woebegone economic forecasting, is doubling down on it. Roll Call reports that not only is the administration going to continue to agitate for at least $1.5 trillion in a new BBB bill, they are also going to push for yet another round of COVID “relief” spending to be distributed to schools (the federal government has to date spent at least $190 billion on COVID relief for education, which works out to be almost $1.5 million for each the nation’s 131,000 schools, or $14 million for each of the 13,500 school districts) and perhaps also used to fight the virus overseas. This despite the fact that Senate Republicans claim that over 70 percent of the funds already allocated still haven’t been spent. Even committed media progressives like Chris Hayes at MSNBC are left (bad pun there) wondering why education suddenly needs a new infusion of cash.
I feel like there’s a weird memory-holing of the fact last spring Congress distributed $123 billion dollars to K-12 schools for Covid preparedness. That’s nearly $1 million *per school*. So big q is: what was that used for?
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) January 5, 2022
This is just part-and-parcel of what happens when a feeble-minded old man who gives the impression of taking orders from — rather than giving orders to — his staff is put in a position for which he was always clearly unqualified and is sadly no longer even remotely capable of managing. Biden’s own blinkered view of history and tragic need to be considered worthy of a career which somehow seems to have just fallen into his lap leads him to flights of fancy which bear no relation to reality’s ugly interludes. As Charles Cooke points out, a administration which came into power with a very narrow House majority and an evenly-split Senate somehow thought it would ram through FDR-style sweeping legislation. That they have been as successful has they have in their first year has been a great misfortune to the American people, but at this point it would seem that their luck has finally run out. At least let us hope so.
CODA: Looks like Sen. Krysten Sinema has put in the nails in the coffin of the Democrats’ plan to change filibuster rules to ram through their voting nationalization bill. This follows Sen. Manchin’s declaration that any changes to the filibuster require the assent of 2/3 of the Senate.