Make no mistake, America is in a recession. The latest data from the Department of Commerce confirms that the economic decline under President Joe Biden is not merely a blip, but a recession, now that the economy has contracted for the second quarter in a row. For the common man, however, this is not news at all; it has been blatantly obvious for months.
If the president’s handlers were smart, they would have had Biden do a mea culpa and announce a change in policy. But instead of acknowledging the current economic reality and the plight of the common man, they issued a statement cherry-picking a single datum point: personal consumption.
That component of the economy grew a paltry 1% in the second quarter. Yet the Biden administration touted it as a sign of strength and ignored the fact that the increased consumer spending was fueled by reduced savings and increased debt — an unsustainable mix. Additionally, consumers had to spend 8% more money to get just 1 percent more in goods and services — hardly a win for the average American.
The massive price increases people are experiencing — the highest in 41 years — are a direct result of monetary malpractice at the Federal Reserve and a spendthrift Congress and White House. Spending, borrowing and printing trillions of dollars has unleashed an inflationary plague that is crushing the middle and working classes.
Disappointingly, Biden’s response to this inflation is a return to his “Build Back Better” agenda, including hundreds of billions of dollars more in taxes and government spending along with excessive regulation – exactly what got us here.
Particularly disturbing is that this newest proposed legislation contains taxes on American energy, which will further increase costs everywhere throughout the economy, including on necessities like food. So much for Biden’s promise not to raise taxes on people earning less than $400,000.
Although Biden’s old ideas are being repackaged with new names like the “Inflation Reduction Act,” the idea that more government spending will reduce inflation doesn’t even pass the smell test. Inflation is fundamentally a tax because it is a way for the government to transfer purchasing power from the citizenry to itself since creating new money for the government to spend reduces the value of the dollar, diminishing the value of your savings and income.
Since the Federal Reserve does the dirty work of making that transfer happen, instead of Congress and the President doing it explicitly, inflation is a hidden tax, but a tax, nonetheless. No tax in history was ever reduced by the government spending more money.
If Biden really wanted to reduce inflation, he would be advocating for the federal government to spend, borrow and print less money.
Instead, the administration is playing Orwellian word games by giving deceptive names to legislation and redefining words like “recession.” Conveniently, the new amorphous meaning of recession magically excludes the current economic malaise. These actions merely demonstrate that the White House cares far more about poll numbers and public perception than the economic pain afflicting American families.
But it also speaks to a larger reality: the ruling class in Washington is astonishingly disconnected from the common man.
When you are an elitist Washington bureaucrat, you don’t worry about such plebian concerns as the price of gas and groceries. The ruling class who thinks Orwellian word games will make their problems go away are painfully unaware of just how devastating their policies are to the middle and working classes because the ruling class is so far removed from everyday life.
The official economic reports produced by various government bureaus showing economic decline are the symptom, not the problem. These reports are merely a reflection of the American people’s suffering.
Papering over the problem by dismissing the numbers and redefining words is erroneous, but also condescending because it implies that the American people need permission from on high before they can even acknowledge their own financial plight.
J. Antoni is a Research Fellow for Regional Economics in the Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation and a senior fellow at Committee to Unleash Prosperity.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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