Voters Aren’t Buying What Biden is Selling

Empower Wisconsin | Oct. 19, 2022

By W. James Antle III, Washington Examiner

 

The Inflation Reduction Act is now at the center of the White House’s messaging
on inflation ahead of the midterm elections despite an uncertain time frame over
when or if it might start reducing inflation.
President Joe Biden has used Republican calls to repeal the Democratic spending
bill to argue a GOP takeover of Congress would worsen the problem of high
consumer prices.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Monday that Biden
has “done the work” on fighting inflation.
“Every single Democrat — as, in fact, Katie spoke about — every single one voted
for the Inflation Reduction Act,” Biden said Friday at an appearance with Rep.
Katie Porter (D-CA). “Not a single solitary Republican in both the House of
Representatives and the United States Senate voted for it. Every single one voted
against it. Every single one.”
“Republicans are telling us their No. 1 priority is to repeal, if they win back the
House and the Senate, repeal the Inflation Reduction Act,” he continued. “That
includes things that I’m not even talking about today, including the environment.”
Many economists dispute that the Inflation Reduction Act will reduce inflation,
while others project that its anti-inflationary effects will come later. The White
House has not taken a firm position on when it might lead consumer prices to
come down, with Jean-Pierre pointing to certain benefits of the law kicking in “next
year.”
Twice since the Inflation Reduction Act, the consumer price index has come in
worse than expected. This includes the final inflation report before November’s
elections, which ran at a still-hot 8.2% annual rate. This suggests that the Federal
Reserve may need to inflict significant economic pain to bring inflation under
control.
On the day last month Biden and congressional Democrats celebrated the
Inflation Reduction Act at the White House, the stock market was tanking due to
these economic fears.
In another exchange about inflation and gas prices on Monday, Jean-Pierre
pointed out that 18 months ago, Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue
Plan — the piece of legislation frequently named as the Biden administration’s

single biggest contribution to inflation. “That helped the American people,” she
said, citing pandemic economic reopening.
Biden also praised the American Rescue Plan and the Affordable Care Act, the
latter signed into law while he was vice president under former President Barack
Obama, in his Friday remarks on “lowering costs for American families.” He often
points out they also received no Republican votes.
It is part of a broader effort to rebrand Democratic spending not as a driver of
inflation but as a vehicle for lowering costs borne by consumers through
government benefits.
The White House also touted its efforts to lower the price of hearings aids through
regulatory moves.
The Inflation Reduction Act is arguably the most audacious of the moves. Born out
of the reconciliation process through which Democrats were supposed to pass
trillions of dollars in liberal spending priorities without any Republican votes, the
final product was much smaller — earlier versions of Build Back Better weighed in
around the $3 trillion mark — and had “inflation reduction” in the title.
Rather than monetary policy, the emphasis is on lower prescription drug prices,
lower hearing aid prices, lower costs for veterans’ healthcare, and the promise of
lower childcare costs in the future if Democrats can pass more legislation.
“The president understands, and we’ve talked about this many times, that inflation

is an issue and high costs, costs [are] an issue for the American people,” Jean-
Pierre said.

“If Republicans in Congress have their way, it’s going to mean the power we just
gave Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices and other costs over
time goes away,” Biden said. “Gone.”
Biden is using the clawing back of government benefits to counter the Republican
argument that high federal spending helps worsen inflation.
“If Republicans take control, the prices are going to go up, as will inflation,” he said
in a line that is becoming part of his stump speech. “It’s this simple.”
Whether this argument is breaking through in the home stretch of the midterm
elections campaign is less clear. A New York Times-Siena College poll found
Biden with a 58% job disapproval rating, 63% among independents, with the
economy ranking as a top voter concern.
Read more at the Washington Examiner.

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