Joe Biden Did Inflation And Now All The Santas Are Dead
Republicans have an impressive racket going where they periodically destroy the country and blame Democrats for it. You might’ve noticed how they’ve actively encouraged their own supporters to needlessly get sick and die from a preventable disease. They’re even extending unemployment benefits like common hippies to people who lose their jobs because they refuse to get vaccinated.
However, Joe Biden is the president, even if Republicans won’t acknowledge it, so he’s directly responsible for their own misdeeds. The official GOP Twitter account gloated Monday over COVID-19’s continued dominance in our lives.
Joe Biden promised he would shut down the coronavirus.
Americans are concerned about the emergence of a new Transformers-themed COVID-19 variant and the GOP responds with gleeful chest-thumping worthy of the most deranged supervillain.
This is shameless, but like Velma Kelly’s famous double act, Republicans can’t do it alone. The media helps a great deal. Sometimes it seems as if RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel moonlights as the mainstream media's news director. Republicans say “cancel culture” is an existential threat, and the media runs with it. The very same Republicans who fucked us sideways into the unwinnable Afghanistan War claim Biden’s withdrawal was just like the fall of Saigon, and the media is like, “Sure, that tracks.”
The GOP is obsessed with painting Biden as the next Jimmy Carter, which actually isn’t the insult they think it is. If there’s a God and a heaven, you should emulate Carter, not fellow one-termer Donald Trump. Rising inflation is a legitimate concern that Biden has addressed, but Eric Boehlert at Press Run notes that the media is helping Republicans manufacture a crisis and create a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Last month’s jobs report showed a surging economy in recovery: 531,000 jobs were added, and revised estimates for September and August confirmed the creation of an additional 235,000 positions. That’s good news — the lowest number of people filing for unemployment in more than 50 years! — but the major news networks mostly buried the story, focusing instead on rising inflation, which is exactly what the GOP wants.
From Press Run:
Contrast that to last Wednesday, when news broke that inflation had jumped 6.2 percent last month, fueling concerns about spiraling consumer costs. [Boehlert actually overstates it as most media did; that month, inflation was 6.2 percent higher *compared to the year before*. — Ed] That evening, both “NBC Nightly News” and “ABC World News Tonight” slotted the inflation story as the second most important development of the news cycle.
Was it a coincidence that both ABC and NBC didn’t care much about massive job gains under President Joe Biden, but were intently focused on the upsetting inflationary news? It was the latest example of the press being eager to push bad news for Biden, while looking away from signs of economic hope.
However, according to Nate Cohn at the New York Times, the media is being perfectly fair and balanced.
And while some people get raises that keep up with inflation or change jobs, many people do not. Inflation almost invariably creates losers v. low inflation, even if real per capita income keeps up— Nate Cohn (@Nate Cohn) 1638196085
Inflation is also a real issue, even if it's transitory. A household with 40k annual expenditures loses 2k in real dollars due to 5% inflation. There goes the stimulus check that you think should drive Biden's approval ratings up.
And while some people get raises that keep up with inflation or change jobs, many people do not. Inflation almost invariably creates losers v. low inflation, even if real per capita income keeps up.
Biden should receive credit for passing COVID-19 relief that helped Americans weather the pandemic. That was the whole point! We didn’t win the lottery. The media should also remind folks that if it were up to Republicans, they wouldn’t have stimulus checks at all.
Few inflation panic stories explain that this is a natural reaction to Americans resuming something approaching a normal life, which is good news! Cohn misses the point when he says, “Inflation is a real issue, even if it’s transitory.” When recovering from major surgery, you might feel like crap, but the pain is not forever. You’re healing. The doctor isn’t dismissing your pain when they tell you it’s temporary. They’re providing necessary context and hope.
Demand for many goods dropped in 2020 and remained lower into 2021 as further waves of COVID cases led to government restrictions on consumer behavior. As cases waned in the spring of 2021, these restrictions were mostly lifted, driving a surge in demand. Supply conditions of many inputs (I.e. – lumber, steel, and microchips) were depressed during the pandemic, too — in anticipation of reduced demand with the downturn and due to pandemic limits on the number of workers.
Once the economy reopened more fully, total production within many industries lagged as businesses had difficulty finding inputs and workers. The resulting supply crunch led to higher costs for producers which were passed into many of the prices seen on shelves, with the annual change in the consumer price index spiking to 5.4 percent in mid-2021.
There's one more last bit of info, which seems pertinent: Corporations are using inflation as an excuse to raise prices and profits. We don't suppose Republicans would welcome it, though, if Joe Biden made like a common Cuba and put price ceilings on consumer goods.
This is why the media should challenge the GOP’s inflation narrative. Republicans are cynically demoralizing the public, often making disingenuous comparisons between prices for goods and services a year ago, when most of the country was still under lockdown, and this year, when people were free to gather with their annoying relatives.
Here’s Rep. Jim Jordan randomly listing price increases for Thanksgiving menu items. He apparently buys “gravy” in the “gravy” aisle. Turkey prices plunged in 2020 because extended families weren’t dining together. You’d want them to increase this year, but Jordan isn’t interested in facts.
Turkey prices? Up 24%\nPie crusts? Up 20%\nRusset potatoes? Up 16%\nDinner rolls? Up 15%\nCranberries? Up 11% \nGravy? Up 9%\nSweet potatoes? Up 4%— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Rep. Jim Jordan) 1637628762
Republicans are also lying on every possible platform about the nation’s supply chain issues. Senator Tom Cotton told Laura Ingraham Monday that he “doesn’t remember supply chain shortages” in 2020. It is adorable that he claims he doesn’t “remember,” so he’s technically not lying. His conscience might almost trouble him. Former White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany would just say that there were definitively no supply chain shortages when Trump was president and in fact, he personally delivered cake and ice cream to every American during the lockdown.
Meanwhile, Fox News regrets to informs us about a nationwide Santa shortage. Did Trump kill all the Santas? Should they have gotten vaccinated maybe? No. Fuck you, Biden! You’ve cancelled Christmas.
According to the small print in the chyron, an experienced Santa-for-hire could charge $150 or more. Is that per hour or for the whole gig? Excuse me, I need to make a phone call.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."