It has become clear from all polls that the key issue for voters in this midterm election is inflation. That’s a difficult issue for Democrats, so we have tried to make it something else: January 6, the Supreme Court, etc. The time has come to realize that all of that has failed. That’s particularly scary, because all of the crazy people we helped nominate in Republican primaries now stand a good chance of being elected—because voters view Republicans as better for the economy, regardless of how crazy a particular candidate may be.
So there is no substitute for taking on inflation as an issue. It’s not as if we have no answer for this, but the time to act is now. Please, please contribute to this. For what it’s worth l give a few points here.
- Current inflation is not something created by the last stimulus checks.
Inflation is a worldwide phenomenon, and we are actually at the low end in the Western World. It is the worst in 40 years, because we haven’t had anything like Covid for many decades. Even today we have many categories of manpower shortages (e.g. women who can’t work because daycare centers were closed by Covid) and product shortages (e.g. in electronics) as well as changes in demand patterns (e.g. in real estate). Energy prices are being manipulated as we resist Russian aggression in Ukraine. We have been working to deal with all of this. There is no simple case where none of it would have happened. Further, since Republicans are pretending they can blame everything on Democrats’ spending, they have no plans to make any of it better.
- There isn’t any inflationary profligate spending in the rest of the Democrats’ program
Republicans are rushing to take responsibility for results of the infrastructure bill—even in many cases where they voted against it. Most of the population recognizes that the climate measures are absolutely necessary. For student loan debt, many people seem to have been confused by the $400 B figure attached to the program. In fact this is an accounting issue, where the number is spread over decades, without any significant near-term or per year effect. It should also be noted that college tuition costs essentially doubled starting in 2008, so there is an issue to be addressed.
- The current Trump Republicans are not the fiscally conservative, reliable Republicans of old. They are ready and willing to sacrifice all of us to the wild idea of the day.
The now-serious debt ceiling blackmail is a case in point. Republicans are ready to throw caution to the winds—in a very precarious world economy. Massive cuts in Medicare and Social Security would be on the block in such an effort. And forcing a US default in today’s world would create a liquidity crisis to make the Liz Truss affair look like nothing at all. Trump Republicans are also ready to tank the economy if they think that will help elect their hero in 2024.
One British observer described similarities across the Atlantic: “Like the Republicans in the United States, the Conservatives are detached from reality. In a generation, they have become a party of monomaniacs, incompetents and ideologues.” We shouldn’t be laughing about Liz Truss here.