The buck stops … where, again? Today’s edition of Profiles in Presidential Courage comes to us from Bloomberg’s curtain-raiser on today’s midterm elections, where even a buck isn’t a buck anymore, thanks to inflation.
Apparently, the White House now wants us to believe that Joe Biden got hoodwinked into believing the massive inflationary wave he touched off was only “transitory.” Bloomberg gets two sources to leak that Biden is “irritated” with staffers who didn’t explain the obvious to him, and now “wonder[s]” whether “advisers” spent too much money.
“Democrats incorrectly felt like inflation was a temporary issue, and secondly, we thought that it was the weakest terrain for us,” says Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster who worked for Biden during the 2020 presidential cycle. “We have a strong message on the economy—from jobs, to protecting Social Security, to lowering the cost of prescription drugs, to fighting to keep gas prices low,” she says, adding, “We just don’t articulate it enough because we’ve been intimidated by the issue.”
The White House started to take inflation far more seriously as a political problem last fall, when polls showed the president’s approval rating was dipping as prices continued to rise. The president was irritated that his aides had assured him the inflation problem was “transitory,” according to two sources familiar with the discussions, an outgrowth of pandemic-induced shortages and other supply-chain kinks.
Oh, please. Biden didn’t take inflation seriously last fall, last winter, or last spring or summer either. Biden and his team tried calling it everything but inflation, including a lame messaging attempt at labeling it “Putin’s price hikes.” It’s been “growth,” “transitory” off and on, and the fault of everyone from Donald Trump to Mitch McConnell to gas-station owners.
This next bit is even more hilarious. According to these sources, Biden always wondered whether Larry Summer had it right after all:
He also wondered whether his advisers had paid too little heed to warnings that the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan would flood the economy with too much cash, acting as kindling for inflation. Among those lobbying for a smaller stimulus was Harvard University economics professor Larry Summers, who served under Obama alongside Biden and remains close with the former vice president. Even some of Biden’s economic aides privately had expressed concern about the size of the stimulus package before its passage, particularly the scope of the direct stimulus checks and the amount of state and local aid.
Excuse me, but this is simply horses***. Biden had plenty of warning, including from Summers and others, that additional stimulus risked creating an inflationary wave. But let’s set that aside for a moment and ask when Biden supposedly learned this lesson. It wasn’t “last fall” or the winter, when Biden pushed hard to spend an additional off-budget $5 trillion on his Build Back Better project. It wasn’t last spring or summer when he scaled it down to $3 trillion, nor this summer when he finally accepted an $800 billion trimmed-down bill, risibly repackaged as the “Inflation Reduction Act.”
And Biden certainly hadn’t learned the lesson by August, when he followed up the IRA by spending as much as a trillion off-budget dollars on student-loan debt forgiveness. Biden has spent the last two years flooding the economy with too much cash, not just the American Rescue Plan as a one-off. This is gaslighting of the first order.
Now, however, the White House wants us to believe that this is all Brian Deese’s fault:
Biden, who usually appears jovial in public but is not shy about flashing his temper in front of his West Wing aides, took out his frustration on National Economic Council Director Brian Deese in meetings, according to three sources familiar with those discussions. Klain disputes this account.
And well he should, because this is a cheap dodge. If Biden really did blame Deese, Deese would have gotten the boot months ago. In fact, no one on Biden’s team has been asked to resign over inflation or any of the other disasters Biden has inflicted on the United States. No one resigned, for instance, after Biden’s disgraceful abandonment of thousands of Americans in Afghanistan. No one resigned when the supply chains broke down and no one did anything about it until the press made it an issue. No one has yet resigned over the border crisis.
All that the White House has done is pass the buck to anyone else other than those responsible for those disasters. Voters today will pass it right back to Biden and the Democrats that have governed Americans into these series of disasters. The buck will end up on Biden’s desk, whether he likes it or not, no matter how much his team tries to pretend otherwise.
Be sure to stick with Hot Air today, as we go wall-to-wall on Election Day coverage. We will be live-blogging later this evening as results come in from key races around the country, likely into the wee hours of the morning in some cases — and then back the next morning to pick up where we left off! We’ll have all hands on deck tonight, with commentary from all of the regular writers as well as Beege Wellborn.