Things do not look good for the Democrats as we approach the summer of the mid-terms. There is the curse of the party in control of the White House, (lost seats in 17 of the last 19 mid-terms), there is nothing that can be done about that. The other major factor is the perception of the economy. That is largely due to misinformation and ignorance. Economics is boring and I am one of the rare few who actually find it (at least somewhat) interesting. There is nothing I can do about that. The misinformation which forms perspective is another matter and today I want to do my bit to counter it with some straight language you don’t need an economics degree to understand.
Everything is relative so lets look at where we were under the last administration. The economy was in freefall. It required multiple bailouts to keep it afloat. The county was facing the greatest economic threat: uncertainty. Despite being one of the wealthiest and most medically advanced countries in the world we had about 20% of the world’s COVID deaths with less than 5% of its population. The reason was simple: the prior administration lacked the expertise to manage a crisis. Anybody can manage a ball club when the pitcher is throwing a no-hitter and the batters are hitting .400 with a ton of extra base hits.
Unemployment hit 14.7% under the other guy. Today it is 3.6%. As of May we had recovered 96% of the jobs lost due to the pandemic – which isn’t over yet. As recently as February of 2021 the prediction was that full job recovery wouldn’t be realized until sometime in 2024. I’d have to say that President Biden and the Democrat are over performing.
Most people view the economy by looking at their personal situation. There is no denying that we are dealing with significant inflation especially when it comes to the trips to the gas station and the grocery store. I went to both earlier this morning and I sure would have been happier if the prices were where they were at a few months ago. The two biggest reasons for the price increases are the still transitional nature of consumer spending and the war in Ukraine. I could go into a lot of explanations but I’ll leave it there for today.
The Republicans are blaming inflation on the last ($1.9 trillion) relief package which was passed under Biden. They neglect to say that it was necessitated by the mismanagement of his predecessor. So, if you want to blame inflation on that program – and you would be mostly incorrect – then you have to lay the blame at the doorstep of Donald Trump. His mismanagement created the situation in the first place.
Like every other American I am not a fan of inflation but look at the alternative. Would you rather have a job and high prices or no job and exhausted unemployment benefits? I guess you don’t have to concern yourself with high gasoline prices when you don’t have a job to drive to and perhaps your car has already been repossessed but you still have to eat.
I’m going to paraphrase an old Republican campaign message: ask yourself if you are better off today than you were two years ago. For almost all Americans the answer is a resounding, yes!
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