Wednesday, Jan 19, 2022

The Flawed Thinking Behind “Build Back Better”

When the Oslo Peace Accords were signed on the White House lawn in September 1993, Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat officially renounced terrorism and pledged to work in good faith toward a negotiated agreement to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of an exchange of “land for peace.” Many Israelis and friends of Israel opposed the Oslo agreement at the time, because they did not believe that Arafat, the lifelong terrorist, was sincere in his publicly declared intention to allow Israel to live in peace.

It soon became apparent that the skepticism was justified. In the months and years that followed, whenever addressing English-speaking audiences and reporters for the Western media, Arafat was careful to claim that he was dedicated to living in peace with Israel. But whenever Arafat spoke to his fellow Palestinians in Arabic and thought the rest of the world wasn’t listening, he would reassure them that he was only participating in the Oslo peace process to trick Israel into weakening itself, and that he was still committed to the long-term goal of the PLO — the destruction of Israel.

But this was a message which the US and its Western allies, as well as reporters for the international media, did not want to hear. They preferred to believe the myth that the Palestinian Authority was a legitimate negotiating partner for peace. In addition, many liberals in the West preferred to accept the false narrative that the Palestinians were the rightful historic owners of the land of Israel, and the victims of a Jewish plot to steal that land.

After Israel won the 1967 Six Day War, becoming the region’s newest military superpower, the US and its allies, as well as the mainstream media, began applying a double standard. They demanded concessions by Israel to ever-increasing Palestinian demands, while deliberately ignoring the growing evidence that Arafat was not negotiating in good faith, engaging in anti-Israel incitement, and continuing to pursue his original terrorist goals, under which the return of Israel to its pre-1967 borders was only the first stage leading to its ultimate destruction.

The double standard was finally exposed when Arafat walked away from a generous Israeli peace offer at the 2000 Camp David summit and then launched the terrorist war on Israel known as the Second Intifada, which led the collapse of the Oslo peace process.

HIDING THE COST AND SOAKING THE RICH

Today, the mainstream American media has been applying a similar double standard when reporting on President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better proposal, which consists of a long list of socialist-inspired welfare spending and liberal policy goals which have been languishing for years on the Democrat progressive wish list. From the first announcement of Biden’s plan in the spring, the White House has been trying to downplay and camouflage the plan’s long-term costs and the huge additional budget deficits the bill would create if all its provisions were ever permanently implemented.

The White House claimed that the cost of the original version of Biden’s proposal would “only” be $3.5 trillion, when scored according to the quirky accounting rules used by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). However, the independent Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimated that, after eliminating those accounting tricks, the actual cost of the proposal to taxpayers over the next decade would probably have been as much as $5.5 trillion.

Furthermore, the mainstream media, which deliberately set out to help Biden defeat Donald Trump in the 2020 election, cooperated in the Biden effort to hide the true cost of his proposal, as well as his outrageous claim that since he planned to pay for it by raising taxes only on the rich, whom liberals have always claimed were not paying their “fair share,” it would wind up costing all the other taxpayers absolutely nothing. Most liberal reporters also convinced themselves that they had to uncritically convey Biden’s deceptive message to voters as the best way to prevent Trump from mounting a presidential comeback in 2024.

BUILD BACK BETTER LIGHT — VERSION 2.0

President Biden was forced to scale back his original proposal due to objections raised by moderate Senate Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. The votes of all 50 Senate Democrats, including Manchin and Sinema, would be essential to pass Biden’s bill by using the Senate’s special reconciliation rules to circumvent a Republican filibuster threat and allow Vice President Kamala Harris to cast her crucial tie-breaking vote in the 50-50 Senate.

Manchin had been criticizing Biden’s original proposal since its inception, based upon its $3.5 trillion White House advertised sticker price. During months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, Manchin and Sinema eventually forced the White House to drop several of the original proposal’s most objectionable corporate and capital gains tax increases, as well as new measures to force a sharp reduction in fossil fuel-based electricity generation.

The White House also used more accounting tricks to reduce the overall sticker price of the revised package to about $1.75 billion to meet Manchin’s declared spending cap, although most of the liberal spending proposals in the original bill had, in fact, been retained.

THE INFLATION THREAT BECOMES REAL

From the day Biden announced the original version of his Build Back Better plan, widely respected economists such as Larry Summers expressed concern that its huge injection of cash into the economy, on top of Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid-stimulus package, could ignite a sharp spike in inflation. However, initially only Republicans and moderates such as Manchin took such warnings to heart.

When Summers’ warning came true and the rate of inflation began to spike in late spring, it was immediately dismissed as “transitory” by Biden administration officials. These included Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who had urged Biden to “go big” in his spending proposals, and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, whose policies continued to pump more cash into the rapidly overheating American economy.

Powell was forced to officially “retire” his erroneous description of the current inflationary spiral as “transitory” even before the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its November consumer price index last week. It showed that prices had risen 0.8% compared with October, and by 6.8% over the past 12 months, the largest yearly increase since June 1982. It also found that inflation was spreading through almost every sector of the economy, including those that had not been previously affected by the pandemic.

BIDEN REFUSES TO CHANGE COURSE

But President Biden remained optimistic about the state of economy despite the latest inflation warning signs, declaring during a virtual White House Summit for Democracy on Friday, “We’ve never had this kind of growth in 60 years, but inflation is affecting people’s lives. The reason why . . . economists think [Build Back Better] is going to, in fact, diminish the impact on inflation is because it’s reducing costs for ordinary people.”

Biden’s statement acknowledged the current inflation spike “as a real bump in the road.” but then added, “I think you’ll see it change sooner, quicker, more rapidly than most people think. Every other aspect of the economy is racing ahead. It’s doing incredibly well, but inflation is affecting people’s lives.”

Administration officials have been emphasizing that inflation is just one part of an economy that is otherwise strong by many measures. Due to the current labor shortage, about 13 million American workers quit their jobs between August and October to look for better employment opportunities and pay elsewhere. The economy has created more than six million jobs since Biden took office, and the national unemployment rate has fallen to just 4.2%. The stock market is up by roughly 25% since the start of the year, and the economy is now growing faster than most analysts had predicted when the year started.

BIDEN COMPLAINING ABOUT HIS PRESS COVERAGE

Biden officials have been frustrated that all these signs of economic growth have been overshadowed by fears of chronic inflation taking hold, the rapid spread of the omicron and delta variants of the coronavirus, and persistent concerns about President Biden’s long-term ability to lead the nation effectively. They believe that Biden has not received the credit that he deserves for his accomplishments in the mainstream media, which was so effective in protecting him from closer voter scrutiny during last year’s presidential campaign, and that it is unfair that current media reports tend to focus on the Biden administration’s most glaring problems.

Biden’s supporters argue that by passing the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and implementing the various aspects of his Build Back Better proposal, his policies will eventually bring down daily living costs for working-class families and bring an end to the inflation problem.

But none of those benefits are likely to be visible to voters before next November’s midterm election, who will then pass judgement on Biden’s economic policies and deliver their verdict in the voting booth to the Democrat incumbents running for reelection at least partially based upon Biden’s record as president.

A GRIM OUTLOOK FOR THE MIDTERM ELECTIONS

Right now, the outlook for Democrats up for reelection next year is grim. To prove the point, one Democrat strategist gloomily cited a recent survey which found that “92% percent of Americans say they’re concerned about inflation. Name anything else 92% of Americans agree about.”

According to a recent Washington Post-ABC poll, Biden’s job approval rating on the economy has fallen dramatically, with 55% of those surveyed holding a negative opinion of his economic policies, as opposed to just 39% who approve of them. Nearly half of all voters, as well as independents, are holding Biden responsible for the current spike in inflation.

There is now wide agreement that voter dissatisfaction with Biden’s economic policies in general and inflation in particular are likely to lead to a Democrat disaster at the polls next November, fueling Republican hopes to retake control of both the House and the Senate in a midterm GOP landslide.

Chris Hartline, communications director for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, told the Washington Post, “The more the White House tries to claim that the economy is hunky dory while families are struggling to fill their gas tank and put food on the table, the more out of touch they look. Voters just don’t believe them.”

TOO LATE FOR BIDEN TO TURN BACK

When the current spike in inflation began, Biden was already committed to the hugely expensive social welfare programs and progressive policies that now define his Build Back Better proposal. It was too late for him to turn back even after it became obvious that those measures would exacerbate the inflation, which would soon become the most serious political problem facing his administration.

During the bitter debate over how to reduce the price of the original Build Back Better proposal to meet the objections of Manchin and Sinema, Biden repeatedly sided with the progressive Democrat caucus in the House against the moderates. At their behest, he decided to keep most of the expensive welfare programs in the modified proposals, artificially reducing their sticker price by scheduling them to expire within a year or two.

ADOPTING a CYNICAL MESSAGING STRATEGY

Biden is now following the cynical example Arafat set by his contradictory public statements for and against making peace with Israel, depending upon what his audience wanted to hear. In the same way, Biden and Democrat leaders are telling their gullible supporters in the media to tell the public that the new social programs in the Build Back Better proposal are temporary and already completely paid for, while telling progressives a different story — that the programs will be permanent, despite their astronomical but cleverly hidden long-term true cost.

When it became clear that major changes would have to be made to meet Manchin’s spending cap for the Build Back Better bill for it to pass in the Senate, an internal dispute broke out over how to downsize its sticker price. Democrat moderates called for a straightforward approach, by fully eliminating some of the costliest new liberal entitlements in the bill so that the ones which survived could be made both permanent and fully funded. But progressives wanted to have their cake and eat it, too, by urging Biden to leave all his major new spending initiatives in place, while pretending they would be affordable because they were temporary. Of course, they didn’t mean it. They were merely putting their policy foot in the door, confident that once the spending programs were in place if only for just one year, they would ultimately be made permanent.

THE PROGRESSIVE STRATEGY OF SELF-PERPETUATING BIG GOVERNMENT

Biden has agreed to follow the progressive strategy, relying on the “temporary” entitlements in his Build Back Better plan to quickly create a new political constituency consisting of those receiving the new government benefits, and making it virtually impossible for elected officials to then cancel those entitlements when their “temporary” funding in Biden’s bill runs out.

This self-perpetuating big government strategy is hardly new. It was recognized by President Ronald Reagan, who once said: “No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government [program] is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this Earth!”

An earlier example of what Reagan was talking about is the system of rent controls on apartments in New York City that has now been in place for nearly 80 years. The maximum rent that New York City apartment building owners are allowed to charge their tenants has been regulated under federal, state, or city laws that began when a citywide housing emergency was declared in 1943, at the height of World War II. Those regulations have been continued, with only minor modifications, to the current day, with no end yet in sight.

BIDEN’S BILL STILL A WORK IN PROGRESS

At the end of November, President Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi made a last-ditch effort to break the impasse between House Democrat progressives and moderates, which had been holding up passage of two key pieces of Biden legislation. One was the reduced version of the Build Back Better proposal, and the second was the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which the Senate had voted to approve back in August, but which was being held hostage by House progressives who feared that Democrat moderates could not be trusted to remain united in support Biden’s much larger social spending proposal.

The impasse arose when a dispute broke out between progressives and moderates over the linkage that Biden had established between the Build Back Better bill and the bipartisan infrastructure bill. To break the logjam, Pelosi allowed both factions to add back some of their pet provisions that had earlier been deleted to lower the cost of the proposal to $1.75 trillion in an attempt to win Senator Manchin’s support. As a result, the total cost of the Build Back Better proposal that finally passed the House at the end of November had grown to $2.4 trillion — considerably more than the maximum figure Manchin had been talking about, but still about a third less than the sticker price on Biden’s original $3.5 trillion proposal.

Yet, despite all the changes Biden and Democrats have made to the original Build Back Better proposal, it is still a work in progress. Democrats in the Senate are about to rework it again in response not only to the objections from Senators Manchin and Sinema, but also the growing fear that it will fuel a further increase the rate of inflation, and that its new taxes on businesses and the wealthy might derail the recovery from the pandemic-induced recession.

THE DEMOCRAT SALT TAX GIFT FOR MILLIONAIRES

The most controversial proposal added to the Build Back Better bill just before the House voted to pass it was a major tax break for wealthy homeowners living in highly-taxed blue states and cities, by lifting the current $10,000 cap on the itemized federal tax deduction for the payment of state and local income and real estate taxes.

By lifting the cap on the SALT deduction to $80,000 a year, Biden’s bill would result in annual average tax break windfall of $16,800 for 88% of the millionaires in this country, most of whom are elite liberal Democrat campaign contributors. A small group of Democrat moderates representing districts in those blue states had demanded the lifting of the SALT cap as their price for supporting Biden’s Build Back Better bill, which couldn’t pass the House without their votes.

However, by supporting raising the SALT cap, which progressives have described as a tax break designed for billionaires, Biden and his party left themselves open to charges that they betrayed their campaign promises to force the rich to “pay their fair share” of the cost of government by raising their income taxes. Instead of forcing the richest 2% — earning more than $400,000 a year — to pay higher federal taxes, the Democrat proposal to raise the SALT cap would result in most of them paying significantly less in taxes than they do now.

Democrats who now support raising the SALT cap have had the chutzpah to claim that because they used another legislative accounting trick in drafting that part of the bill, its passage as written would result in a net increase in federal revenues by $15 billion over the next decade. However, the latest CBO estimate, with that accounting trick removed, projects a net cost to taxpayers over the next decade at $245 billion.

THE DISAPPEARING CHILD TAX CREDIT

Another example of the fiscal tricks Democrats used to hide the true 10-year cost of Biden’s Build Back better bill can be found in its extension of the $3,600-a-year federal child tax credit, which was introduced earlier this year as one the “emergency” measures in Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid-relief bill.

The House-passed version of the Build Back Better bill extends the tax credit for just one year, even though Democrats have said they have no intention of allowing the tax credit to expire. The CBO estimates the cost of the one-year extension written into the bill at $185 billion, but if Democrats keep their promise to make the credit permanent, its total cost to taxpayers by the end of the next decade will be $1.6 trillion — 10 times the deceptive “sticker price” for the program in Biden’s bill.

There are other examples of new liberal Democrat spending programs which are listed as temporary in the versions of the Build Back Better bill which passed the House, but which Democrats have promised to make permanent. These include a one-year extension of the earned-income tax credit, listed by the CBO at a cost of $13 billion, but which will actually cost taxpayers $135 billion by the end of the decade, if Democrats carry out their promise.

Similarly, the House-passed bill calls for five years of universal free child care and pre-K education entitlements at a CBO estimated cost of $381 billion, when their true cost over the next 10 years would actually be double that figure. House Democrats used similar tricks in crafting the bill to hide almost $300 billion in additional federal subsidies for Obamacare and $60 billion in spending for Medicaid home and community-based care over the next decade.

CBO REVEALS THE REAL COST OF BIDEN’S PROPOSAL

The late Senate Everett Dirksen of Illinois, a legendary Republican leader during the 1950s, used to say about federal spending that “a billion here, a billion there; pretty soon you are talking about real money.” If he were alive today, Dirksen would no doubt be astounded to discover that Democrats are trying to add trillions instead of just billions in new federal spending, with no regard for the cruel consequences for lower-income Americans who will be forced to pay the resulting inflation tax.

When the CBO evaluated the cost of the version of the Build Back Better bill which passed the House, accepting all the accounting tricks which the Democrats included, it came to a total 10-year cost of $2.4 trillion.

But congressional Republicans knew better than to accept that figure at face value. Senator Lindsay Graham and Congressman Jason Smith asked the CBO to make a second calculation, based on the assumption that all the new spending provisions in the House-passed version of the bill would be permanent, and the result was astounding. The new CBO 10-year cost estimate was $4.73 trillion, roughly double the Biden-advertised “sticker price” of his Build Back Better plan, and closely agreeing with an earlier estimate by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

The use by congressional leaders of both parties of budget accounting tricks to meet an artificially set government spending cap to secure passage of a controversial legislative proposal is not new. They were employed by Democrat leaders in crafting the Obamacare healthcare reform legislative proposal in 2009, and by Republicans to pass Trump’s 2017 tax cut bill. What sets the current version of Biden’s Build Back Better proposal apart from the other two is the unprecedented scale of new federal government spending and deficits it is attempting to hide from the American people by using the same deceptive budget accounting strategies.

THE DEMOCRATS’ FALSE “FAIR SHARE” NARRATIVE

Another misleading Biden presidential campaign promise was that the tax increases in the proposal to pay for his new social programs would impact only profitable businesses and those who earn at least $400,000 a year. Biden picked up the anti-free market narrative of the progressives who claim that those who have realized the American dream by becoming wealthy are not paying their “fair share” of the cost of government — without ever defining what their fair share actually is.

In fact, progressive complaints about the need for income distribution and reform of the federal tax code are both unfair and inaccurate. The federal tax code is already one of the most progressive in the world. According to Treasury Department tax data from 2018, the bottom 40% of Americans by income effectively paid no net federal income taxes, while the top 20% of Americans by income — those earning $400,000 a year or more — paid more than their fair share, 75% of all federal personal income taxes, collected that year.

WHEN TAXES GO UP, EVERYONE EVENTUALLY PAYS MORE

Biden and the progressives also ignore the fact that the punitive tax increases on American businesses they have proposed will inevitably be passed along to lower- and middle-income consumers in the form of price increases on the products and services they buy from these companies, as well smaller pay raises for their employees and lower returns on investment for those workers whose 401K retirement accounts include that company’s stock. Taxes paid by successful businesses and investors to the government also reduce the amount of capital available to companies and entrepreneurs for the reinvestment needed to increase the productivity and competitiveness of the US economy in the international marketplace.

In addition, because of Biden’s spendthrift policies, low-income individuals and families who can least afford it are being forced to pay a hidden inflation tax, that is still climbing, on everything they currently buy. In fact, current price increases for the essentials of daily living, including basic foods, shelter, and gas at the pump, are rising much faster than 6.8% yearly rate reported last week due to Biden’s misguided Covid and energy policies.

According to the Consumer Expenditures Survey, housing, transportation, and food are the three biggest expense categories for the average American household. In 2020, housing costs, such as rent and utilities, represented about 35% of the typical household budget. Transportation costs represented another 16% of the budget, and food expenses another 12%. These are also the expenses that have been rising the fastest over the past six months, and are the most visible signals to the average consumer about the overall health and direction of the American economy.

PAYING MORE FOR ESSENTIALS

Consumers are souring on Biden’s economic policies, because they are being asked to pay more for many of the things they buy at the supermarket each week, and to go without a wide variety of popular items ranging from paper goods to orange juice to cream cheese which are listed on empty store shelves as temporarily unavailable due to unspecified supply chain issues.

Meat prices have increased by an average of 16% over the past year. A dozen eggs costs nearly 30% more. Major national brand food producers, such as Kraft, Heinz, and many more, have announced plans to raise prices next year for their most popular products, including soup, breakfast cereal, cookies, and crackers, to cover their sharply increased costs for raw ingredients, transportation, and labor since the pandemic started.

Despite optimistic periodic statements from the Biden administration that it expects most current international supply chain issues to soon resolve themselves, there is no relief in sight. Shortages of particularly crucial items such as microchips, which go into the building of every new car, are now expected to linger well into 2023.

THE SAD END OF THE DOLLAR STORES

Even the nationwide Dollar Tree discount store chain, whose name and reputation were based on the long list of cheap, affordable consumer items it sold for just $1, recently announced that it has been forced to raise its standard price to $1.25.

New car buyers are routinely asked to pay list prices or more for the models they want — if they are available at all — and then wait for months for delivery from the factory. Because of the new car shortage, used cars and trucks are now commanding prices that are, on average, 31% higher than they were a year ago.

A severe shortage of affordable, entry-level new houses on the nation’s real estate markets has led to a 13% increase in the median sales price for single family homes over the past year. The median apartment rent charged since the beginning of this year has risen by 17.8%, with even bigger rent increases in fast-growing Sunbelt metropolitan areas such as Austin, Texas, and Phoenix, Arizona, as well as rents in large center city areas which are now recovering from the pandemic, such as Manhattan.

BIDEN POLICIES PUSHING UP THE COST OF ENERGY

The price of gas at the pump is up by 58% over the past year, the largest increase since the 1979 oil crisis. Car owners were not impressed when Biden’s top economic advisor, Brian Deese, boasted that the average price of gas went down briefly by 9 cents a gallon last week, because they also know that they are still paying a dollar more per gallon than they were at the beginning of this year.

Household electricity rates are also up by an average of 12%. Biden’s war on the American fossil fuel industry is more responsible for those price increases than any imagined price-fixing conspiracy, as Biden claims. If the president had supported the continued development of the country’s vast shale oil and natural gas deposits instead of deliberately undermining them, America would still be the world’s swing producer of fossil fuels, and citizens would not have to worry about the high price of gas at the pump and home heating fuel during the cold winter months.

WAGE INCREASES CAN’T KEEP PACE WITH PRICES

It is true, as Biden supporters claim, that average wages are increasing too, as shorthanded employers compete with one another to hire workers to fill an estimated 11 million available job openings. But the pay increases are not enough to keep up with rising prices. The average hourly wage paid to American workers today, adjusted for inflation, has declined by 2.7% since the beginning of this year.

Greg McBride, the chief financial analyst at the Bankrate financial information website, said that inflation has now become much more widespread through the economy than it was when it first appeared about six months ago. “In terms of core household expenses,” he said, “you weren’t seeing it there [earlier this year, but] you are now… It puts a squeeze on the household budget. Your pay may only go up once a year. But you’re getting hit with higher costs on one thing or another, month after month.”

Inflation is now clearly out of control, justifying the fears first expressed by Senator Joe Manchin this summer when he called upon his fellow members of Congress to take a time out and wait until inflation cools before voting on Biden’s Build Back Better proposal.

LINDSEY GRAHAM’S DIALOGUE WITH JOE MANCHIN

On Friday, Senator Lindsey Graham went on Fox News to explain the significance of the sharply increased new CBO cost and deficit estimates for the bill, based on the assumption that all its new spending proposals will be permanent. Graham also publicly urged Senator Manchin, on the basis of the new CBO estimates. to deny the measure his critical 50th Democrat vote, assuring that it will go down to defeat in the Senate.

Graham told Fox News host Chris Wallace, “President Biden said the bill was fully paid for. Vice President Harris said it was paid for. [But] the CBO says it’s not paid for. It’s $3 trillion of deficit spending.”

Graham also said that originally, “I wrote a letter to CBO [asking for the new cost estimate on Biden’s bill] because Joe Manchin came to me and he said, ‘I think this bill is full of gimmicks.’”

The Republican senator from South Carolina also reported on his conversation with Manchin the morning that the new CBO estimates were released. “He was stunned. I think he felt vindicated and that his concerns were legitimate,” Graham said.

BIDEN’S PRESS SECRETARY STRIKES BACK

On Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki responded by launching an attack on Graham for peddling “a fake CBO score that is not based on the actual bill that anybody is voting on. [It is a response to a] request by Senator Graham to score a bill that… doesn’t exist, and we should really focus on the actual bill everybody’s going to vote on and are considering in Congress right now.”

Psaki also said that the “president has conveyed very clearly, multiple times publicly, that he would like [the temporary] programs [in the current bill] if they’re extended to be paid for. That remains his commitment.” But she did not respond to Republican accusations that President Biden had been deceiving the American public by insisting that the $1.75 trillion earlier version of the bill would be totally paid for, despite a CBO report to the contrary, which predicted that it would add more than $200 billion to the federal deficit.

Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, the leader of the House Progressive Caucus, has also challenged the reliability of the non-partisan CBO’s estimates, which have long been widely accepted in DC as the gold standard for estimating the cost of proposed pieces of legislation.

But Jayapal told Fox News that “CBO scores are outdated to start with, in terms of what and how they assess [the cost of new proposals.]” She went on to explain that, “Many new ideas without economic data to help generate a score never get scored accurately. [These include] future savings, reductions in poverty, the well-being of planet. [These] don’t get scored [by the CBO].”

Biden’s economic advisors have also been slow to recognize that the deep disruptions in the economy caused the pandemic had triggered the first recession since the end of World War II driven by an excess of consumer demand for goods in short supply rather than an excess of product inventories and industrial capacity. When the Biden administration attempted to apply measures to stimulate business and consumer demand that had worked to end more conventional recessions, they just made the post-Covid product and labor shortages and resulting inflationary pressures worse.

WHY DEMOCRATS HAVE PROLONGED THE COVID CRISIS

Biden also ran for president last year on a promise to lockdown-weary American voters to quickly end the pandemic through a vigorous program of universal public vaccination. But by the time Biden took office, Democrat state and local officials across the country had already implemented the advice of President Obama’s White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, when he said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.”

Democrat mayors, like New York City’s Bill de Blasio and DC’s Muriel Bowser, and governors, such as New York’s Andrew Cuomo and California’s Gavin Newsom, had used their emergency powers since the start of the Covid health emergency to pursue their partisan agendas, rewarding their supporters and punishing their political opponents.

The newly installed Biden administration was quick to follow suit. It pressured newly appointed CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky to walk back her casual statement that there was no need to vaccinate teachers before reopening the nation’s public schools closed in response to intense pressure from the heads of the national teachers’ unions, which had supported Biden’s presidential campaign contributors and wanted the schools to stay closed.

BEHIND BIDEN’S DIMINISHED CREDIBILITY

Changing recommendations by Biden’s Covid experts, such as Dr. Anthony Fauci, on mask mandates for adults and schoolchildren destroyed the administration’s credibility in dealing with the pandemic, and triggered growing resistance to Biden’s nationwide vaccination campaign.

An unexpected summer surge in the infection rate due to the spread of the delta variant was another setback for the administration’s Covid policies. Biden overreacted, imposing unnecessary vaccination mandates on all federal employees, health care workers, and shorthanded private businesses with more than 100 employees. The vaccination mandates —which are now unnecessary, in the opinion of many public health experts, to protect members of the public against the further spread of the virus — have only served to worsen the current domestic labor shortages and supply chain problems driving the current spike in inflation.

Biden’s panicky reaction to the recent emergence of the omicron variant was to impose a Covid vaccination requirement on any foreign citizen crossing into the United States, effective on January 22 — another counterproductive move. Since an estimated 20% of Canadian truck drivers are unvaccinated, Biden’s mandate could interfere with truck deliveries, which amount to more than half of the freight the US imports from Canada, America’s largest international trading partner and a major supplier for the US automobile industry. It is another example of Biden breaking his promise to America’s voters to shut down the virus, by following policies that threaten to increase shortages and inflation and further interfere with America’s economic recovery instead.

In the end, the American people have lost their trust in President Biden, because they have come to realize that he has not been telling them the truth. His lies have been exposed by both the failures of his big spending measures, which helped to ignite the current inflationary spiral, and the calculated cynicism and deceptions behind his ever-changing Build Back Better proposal, whose ultimate shape and fate is now in the hands of the US Senate.

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