Inflation is spiraling out of control. No question things are dicey and this has impacted the mood of the electorate and the approval ratings of President Joe Biden.
But inflation does not happen overnight, it never does. Often it takes years of economic decisions to create an inflationary spiral. Why haven’t Democrats talked about the responsibility of the previous administration in creating this situation. Sure Democrats LOVE to talk about President Trump when it comes to alleged illegalities, January 6, his perceived “racism,” or his attempts to bully Ukraine, but they seem loathe to question his economic moves which were based on tax cuts for the rich, direct subsidies to American industries and workers, heavy tariffs on imports and heavy protectionism which was always going to blow up in the faces of this country AFTER 2020.
I’m an advocate of government spending if taxes are raised back to reasonable rates, but during the Trump years we spent like mad without a proper revenue base, made it more difficult for foreign goods to enter the country and create a robust consumer market while limiting immigration which created a situation where our job market could never be fully cooked. Add to that the pressure Trump put on the Federal Reserve to print more money while the debt rose, we were in trouble.
The thing that galls me is Trump knew it, wanted to do everything in his power to get reelected in 2020 even if that meant pushing serious economic discussions and decisions off to 2021. So President Biden inherited this mess and I will freely admit he didn’t react the way he probably should have – many Trump-era tariffs were maintained (I don’t know why the Democrats have become as ultra-protectionist as the GOP but that’s a conversation for another day), the fed kept printing money and the failure to pass a reconciliation bill which increased revenue while increasing critical spending has made matters worse. Biden’s initial stimulus which put $1,400 in everyone’s bank account came with no serious revenue-generating measures contemplated at that time.
As we try and climb out of this hole largely created by Trump, the Democrats are flat-footed both in how they have reacted (that’s on Biden in fairness) and from a messaging perspective. In addition, we’ve allowed Republicans to define President Biden as a “socialist” while no President in my lifetime spent more on government programs and rejected the idea of fair foreign trade than Donald Trump.
Why don’t Democrats push back on the socialism charge? Recently, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough labeled Governor DeSantis a “socialist” which is accurate based on several things, not the least of which is the proposed government-imposed restrictions on private businesses the legislature plans to pass this week during a Special Session, at the behest of the Governor. But where are other voices on this theme?
The Democrats messaging on economics needs a major reboot to say the least.