Inflation – the highest in 40 years – is now a “ho mum” soundbite, as midterms fast approach. Sidelined by Democrat-leaning media, inflation is replaced by calling Republicans “extremist,” touting Ukraine’s gains, a .01 percent drop in August, and the hurricanes. But stop: Inflation is THE story, THE issue.
Never mind it has pushed rent out of sight for single-family Americans, up 26 percent in a year. Never mind gas has doubled, diesel risen faster, downstream effects obvious – especially in food, based on higher costs for fertilizer, harvest, transport, cooling, heating, and storage.
Never mind what you put gas in – a used car or truck – cost 50 percent more than three years ago, and Democrats plan to ban them by 2035. Electric cars represent “inflation on steroids,” a jolt to buy, maintain, replace batteries for, and fuel – from a grid powered by fossil fuels.
Never mind the “basket of goods” most seniors buy – one-third of Americans are now over 50 – is more expensive than “typical” inflation. Costs for seniors are astronomical – housing, heating (expected to rise 34 percent), groceries, medical service, prescription drugs.
Never mind most private pensions have no cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) to match inflation, probably closer to 20 percent for seniors. Never mind most state pensions cap COLAs near three percent. Never mind even Social Security lags real inflation, bumped up based on third quarter of a prior year, only 5.9 percent for this year.
Never mind inflation, driven by federal overspending – three trillion dollars over “regular order” since January 2021 – and clipping fossil fuel production, has caused the Fed to double interest rates in a year.
As the Fed tries to rein in these fiscal and policy errors, seniors are hit disproportionately, but everyone hit. Our ability to buy a home, afford a mortgage, take a home loan, buy a car, avoid variable interest rates on credit cards – now 28 percent for cash on some cards – is amputated.
What was a “liquid,” well-financed, good-for-the-consumer, good-for-jobs economy three years ago, is clotted up with federal overreach, slowly being ground down, grinding down consumers.
Inflation fears create panic buying, hoarding, and saving. Inflation fears – and high interest –reduce business confidence, produce less, borrowing, investment, hiring, more cost cutting, especially labor.
As jobs go, and as credit tightens, consumers with less to spend and more debt pull back, reducing demand, causing business to slow, and the cycle repeats. Never mind recklessness takes years to reverse.
Never mind that 70 million Americans get Social Security checks, live on them, and need them. Never mind that more than half in Congress are millionaires, Biden and Harris – public servants most of their lives – both multi-millionaires, nine and seven million respectively, or that those around Biden have “means.”
Never mind consumer confidence is sinking, the “Current” and “Investment” sub-indices both below 40 for the 4th and 6th times this year, and these indexes never dipped below 40 in 2021.
Never mind Americans most hurt or most likely to suffer lower confidence in these policies include those earning under $50,000 dollars, rural, looking for a good job and unable to find one, or Republican. The small blip on inflation and energy costs in August made little difference.
Never mind Biden and the Democrats have no answers, their ill-named “Inflation Reduction Act” just more federal spending, which will drive more inflation, higher interest, lower confidence.
Never mind the Fed last week admitted it will hit inflation by intentionally raising unemployment, the old “Phillips Curve,” the notion that increasing unemployment reduces in inflation. In a high-growth economy maybe, not when inflation comes from reckless spending and ending energy independence.
Could it get any crazier? It could. Hyper-inflation, although unlikely, has historically happened – cheapening paper dollars and investments, making costs intolerable. More federal giveaways, more spending in the name of compensating for inflation, would be – already is – utter madness.
If politicians, especially Democrats, continue to hide at Martha’s Vineyard and pretend – as most Americans cannot – that inflation goes away on its own, is imaginary, or secondary, things get worse.
How do they get better? Simple. Get up, get active, get serious about electing leaders who understand economics and care about you, who will stabilize this economy. The current crop of one-party leaders, ignorant or without concern for consequences, unable to check spendthrift habits, are chasing rainbows.
Most Americans don’t have the time, must pay bills. They must work and want to work but want their earned dollars to hold value – from years before, and now. It is that simple. Inflation is THE issue, where the rubber meets the road, literally. Any politician who wants to get elected needs to mind it. Any voter who wants to end it needs to boot those who say, “never mind.”