There are a number of intelligent, gifted, politically experienced and pragmatic people serving in the Biden administration. “Pragmatic” is the key word here.
As many Americans appear ready to run screaming into the arms of the Republican Party on Tuesday, one can safely assume that the morning after election day, many of those lower-salaried staffers will not be asking themselves, “What just happened?” They have been feeling the effects of President Biden’s policies for months, but they have little or no say on policy.
It is those above them who have the final word — individuals who, by and large, have put ideology before “the people” and systematically crushed any policy that was put forth by President Trump. And a number of Trump’s policies were greatly benefiting middle- and working-class Americans.
Tone deafness, coupled with cutting off your nose to spite your face, is never a winning political formula.
As for an example of that ideological tone-deafness, look no further than the words spoken by Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. In July, during a congressional hearing to discuss the punishingly high gasoline prices, Buttigieg said: “The more pain that we are all experiencing from the high price of gas, the more benefit there is for those who can access electric vehicles.”
Wow. So, inflicting economic pain upon the working-class is good if they can be made to bend to the liberal will?
Although I can’t speak for them, I am willing to bet that countless lower-paid, pragmatic staffers in the Biden administration visibly winced when they heard Buttigieg’s out-of-touch comment. They might do so because, for them, like a majority of Americans, electric vehicles are well out of their price range, based on their government salaries.
Maybe in private some of these Biden staffers may have reminded Buttigieg that, according to Kelley Blue Book, the average price of a new electric vehicle was more than $66,000, compared to $48,000 for the average gasoline-powered car, or the 20 SUVs you can find for under $25,000.
Surely some pragmatic staffer should have whispered in Buttigieg’s ear during his congressional testimony before his “Let them eat cake” comment exposed him as an insensitive elite. But no, he doubled down on his elitism and was called out by Republican Congressman Carlos Gimenez of Florida.
In a failed attempt to defend high-priced EVs, Buttigieg suggested they could be “subsidized” so they are “cheaper for everybody.”
Time for the congressman to give Buttigieg a quick Economics 101 lesson. So, Gimenez gently pointed out to the Secretary of Transportation that subsidizing EVs “doesn’t make them cheaper.”
“Well, actually it does,” answered Buttigieg.
Maybe in the world of “the American people’s money is the nanny-state’s money” that math makes sense. But in the real world, the congressman showed the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., that power and title given do not always equate to knowledge.
Surely a pragmatic Biden staffer with a degree in economics could have explained to Buttigieg that “subsidizing” an EV — or anything else, for that matter — does not mean the price of that vehicle decreases. It simply means that part of the cost is forced upon unknowing or unwilling taxpayers.
The “ideology before the people” leaders in the Democratic Party clearly do not get it. One of the most destructive policies they continue to roll out, to their own detriment, is their “free is for me” mantra. That applies to his plan to pay off billions of dollars in student loans for wealthy students; paying illegal immigrants; paying teachers to stay home and not teach children; or “subsidizing” anything connected to “climate change” mitigation and “sticking it” to middle- and working-class Americans.
In addition to the massive sticker price of EVs, a study from AAA that estimated that owning a new, compact electric vehicle costs about $600 more per year than a gas-powered compact vehicle. Those “climate-saving” vehicles still must be powered by fossil fuels. They are energy eaters — as in, they will skyrocket energy bills while creating rolling blackouts as has happened in liberal California — and they pose their own environmentally unfriendly problems.
The manic rush to purge our country and the world of gasoline-powered vehicles and replace them with the utopian-dream cars of liberals is driven purely by ideology and ignorance.
Speaking to this ignorance, Amy Swearer of Heritage Foundation tweeted: “Let me assure you, there is very little overlap between ‘families that can afford to buy a $50,000 electric car’ and ‘families that are worried about gas prices’ because an extra $50 a month is actually a week’s worth of groceries. Do you know what a lot of families could do with that extra $50 a month/$1,300 a year? Have some peace of mind in an emergency fund for when their 10-year-old van needs a new radiator.”
And that is the greater point. Admittedly or not, a large number of Biden staffers are like other ordinary Americans, who are earning a median salary of about $54,000 and feeling the effects of inflation, surging energy prices, supply shortages, rising crime rates and failing education for their children.
Unfortunately, they don’t get a seat at the table with those entitled to travel in government or corporate jets; ride in motorcades with security details; have multimillion-dollar portfolios; or multiple vacation homes with a Bentley and Tesla in the garage.
They are simply lower-paid government workers trying to navigate an economy and quality-of-life-crushing storm created by those at the top of the flow chart who can easily afford to put ideology before the people.
Douglas MacKinnon, a political and communications consultant, was a writer in the White House for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and former special assistant for policy and communications at the Pentagon during the last three years of the Bush administration.