"Democrats understandably want to make the election about Mr. Trump and abortion. But the main legacy of this Congress is the return of a virulent inflation that has punished Americans of every class and region. The election deserves to be a referendum on that record."- WSJ, Inflation and the Election, Oct. 14, p. A18
"With elections next month, independents, especially women, are swinging to the G.O.P. despite Democrats’ focus on abortion rights. Disapproval of President Biden seems to be hurting his party." - NY Times lead story yesterday
Too many voters are evidently in a state of near hysteria over the economy and inflation and it is affecting their brains and collective judgment. How else explain the WaPo story yesterday (see link at bottom) that Gen X voters may embrace the biggest demographic swing ever to the GOP? And the NY Times lead story noting that: "independents, especially women, are swinging to the GOP"?
And further (ibid.):
"In September, women independents favored Democrats by 14 points. Now, independent women back Republicans by 18 points."
Let's be very clear here that such a 32-point swing is indicative of hysteria and paralyzing fear that warps fragile cognitive centers. This despite a same day LA Times Business piece (p. A9, 'Causes Of Inflation Growing') pointing out that:
"Pretty much everything is driving inflation."
Not just one political party, administration or policy. No, it encompasses "supply chain snarls, parts shortages, and the inflated cost of factory goods" not to mention the "Russian invasion of Ukraine which disrupted gas and food supplies". As well as a "surge in consumer spending partly from federal stimulus checks" - that nonetheless helped millions survive who otherwise would have circled the drain.
But these independent women voters it seems, like too many low information voters, disdain complexity. They want to be able to react on the spot and vote on it, i.e.: "Dems are in power, therefore Dems are responsible, so we are going with the GOP come hell or high water!"
Yeah, well, it will be hell and high water and you had better be aware of the worse economic conditions and events your brash vote may trigger (if the GOP controls congress) which is the topic of this post.
But the Times poll article follows on the heels of a WSJ piece from October 10th where one read:
Most Americans continue to have a pessimistic view of the economy, recent polling shows, and Mr. Biden’s performance on economic issues has consistently received negative ratings.
An NBC News poll last month found registered voters evenly split on which party they preferred in Congress, but backing Republicans by 19 percentage points on dealing with the economy.
This is insane and reaffirms my earlier pessimism concerning a major potential catastrophic misstep on a par with the one the Germans made back in 1932, e.g.
And WHY trust the GOP more anyway? And by 19 points? Do those polling for this pretend party have any idea what its policy package has in store for 'Muricans if they gain the House and Senate? Start with the level of chaos, retribution and bogus investigations, impeachments, e.g.
Then there is the debacle that will befall the economy, using the debt ceiling to attempt to extort massive social spending cuts from Biden and the congressional Dems. In the latest Bulletin from the NCPSSM (National Committee To Protect Social Security And Medicare) we learn that if the House and Senate fall into GOP hands the following will be on the table:
(1) Sen. Marco Rubio's proposal to fund paid family leave by extracting Social Security benefits to pay for them. Also: "Family members will be responsible for repaying all leave payments for individuals who die before reaching retirement age and Social Security eligibility."
(2) The Republican Study Committee - which includes nearly three fourths of the House GOP- released a new budget plan (in anticipation of retaking the House) which sets up a special fast-track procedure to raise the Social Security retirement age, and cut the annual COLA (cost of living adjustment). They want to implement the "chained CPI" and emphasize it will be for all current retirees. See e.g.
The same study committee is also intent on taking Biden's recent executive order, to relieve student loan debt, to the Supreme Court (if need be) to have it tossed. This is based upon an earlier SC ruling (W Va vs EPA) that "Congress must provide clear authorization to agencies taking action on major questions since cancelling so much debt is a mega-ultra super question ." (WSJ, p. A13, Biden’s Half-Trillion-Dollar Student-Loan Executive Coup, Aug. 25)
(3)Sen. Rick Scott's plan to "sunset Social Security" is also up for consideration. In this guise, Scott and Repugs - with the cooperation of the presumed GOP House - would bring Social Security up for vote every five years. Each time with the potential to permanently privatize it, or cut it deeply, or "sunset" it permanently.
(4) Mitt Romney's TRUST act is also being considered to pass as abiding law, given it can help lower budget deficits via cuts to all earned benefits programs - from Social Security, to Medicare, to Medicaid, to VA programs.
Apart from the economic reign of terror voters would get if they usher in a GOP dominated congress there are also the other nasty consequences:
(1) A national abortion ban which Sen. Lindsay Graham has already proposed and wants to push into law if Reeps retake both the House and Senate.
(2) If Republicans take the House, their majority will form a powerful voting bloc-phalanx of election deniers with candidates prepared to block election certifications if the results are undesirable (i.e. Democratic victories). In the words of one Democratic adviser quoted in the Colorado Springs Independent (Oct. 12- 15, p. 3):
"Many of those elected in battleground states will oversee state elections. In effect, if they have control they will never again consider the election of a Democrat to be legitimate."
Effectively, millions of voters will be disenfranchised in perpetuity. What this means for serious, sentient voters who support the Constitution and our democracy, is that election denial - such as espoused in the Big Lie - must be a deal breaker. An ultimate 'litmus test' for a candidate.
"But the GOP is better at the economy and we have all this inflation! WAAAH!"
Wrong! The GOP is not "better at the economy" and never has been. It's a mere smoke and mirrors game they play each election cycle mainly with low information voters.
For the past century economic growth in the US has averaged 4.4% when Democrats were in the White House but an anemic 2.5% when a Republican occupied that office. As David Leonhardt noted last year for The New York Times:
“The average income of Americans would be more than double its current level if the economy had somehow grown at the Democratic rate for all of the past nine decades.”
Consider further: All Dem Presidents of the last 80+ years: Roosevelt, Johnson, Carter, Truman, Kennedy, and Clinton had the fastest job-growth rate of all presidents.
Meanwhile, the very worst presidents for job growth were all Repukes: Trump, Bush Jr., Bush Sr., and Eisenhower.
As blogger Thomas Hartmann has noted:
"This also explains why low information voters — apparently including a majority of Latinos- believe that Republicans are better with the economy."
Hartmann also described the GOP con game to a tee: Get into power based on lies or exaggerating Dem faults. Then run up the deficits with tax cuts to make voters believe they're getting a piece of the pie and let Dems have to clean up the deficit messes when they get in again - if ever. And oh yeah, insist that benefits programs (like Social Security, Obamacare, Medicaid Etc.) be cut to pay the piper.
WaPo columnist Jennifer Rubin also warns that popeyed "independents" are not likely to get the relief from inflation they hope for, e.g.
Democrats have a strong closing argument: The GOP would wreck the economy
All of this means mid term voters must be smarter and more savvy than they've ever been and not allow themselves to be played. Or their brains to lose focus and become too short sighted, such that their future welfare is threatened. We know this is all too easy when the brain's fragile neural systems (centered in the amygdala) feel threatened and the yen for security - including economic - trumps even future survival. Indeed, we've already seen this play out in the late 1920s, early 1930s in Weimar Germany. When hyperinflation reached such a point that millions of middle class Germans believed it was better to take a risk with Adolf Hitler than continue the status quo.
It was the wrong bet since Hitler, after being made Chancellor by Paul von Hindenburg, used the Reichstag fire as a pretext to extinguish democracy and trigger his dictatorship. Worst of all, it was too late to change by the time the Enabling Act formalized the fascist autocracy. The "good" Germans had already made their choice.
It seems - from the polls and the WaPo, NY Times' reporting - too many women and Gen X voters are also prepared to surrender to their fear centers because of inflation they can't control. Or out of some misguided belief the Trump cult will serve them better. But, like the good Germans, it will absolutely be the wrong bet and ignores the economic and political unintended consequences of such a vote. This is given the GOP will no more be able to provide them with economic relief than the mythical Santa Claus of their toddler days. It will saddle them with even more economic, financial grief as numerous cuts are implemented, multiplying their woes considerably.
While it is true Biden can use his veto pen to nix Repuke efforts to get a national abortion ban and to cut social spending, it won't matter in 2024 if Trump or, god forbid, DeSantis gets elected President. Then it's Katy bar the door should the GOP hold the presidency as well as congress. The Nightmare world we've all been fearing will arrive and it won't be pretty. That's exactly why the time to halt the approaching national train wreck is on November 8th. No one should be fooled into thinking they can relax, not now, not ever.
The words of NY Times' Charles Blow from his latest column ('The Battle Between Pocketbooks and Principles'), are timely and worth considering:
If the GOP regains the House, four of the leading Republicans contenders for the House Budget Committee chair have all vowed to demand cuts to Social Security and Medicare in return for their cooperation in raising the debt ceiling next year. To be clear, that’s Republicans saying they will crash the U.S. economy to force President Joe Biden to give into their demands.
Now would-be House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has confirmed that yes, that’s exactly what Republicans intend to do. That continues to generate yawns from the super savvy reporters in D.C. and New York, who largely ignored the first reports of this threat. Now they’re continuing to try to downplay it. But it’s as real and as dangerous as can be.
Republicans claim that inflation is due to Biden’s spending, and wage increases.
Baloney. Biden’s spending can’t be causing our current inflation because inflation has broken out everywhere around the world, often at much higher rates than in the US.
Besides, heavy spending by the US government began in 2020, before the Biden administration, in order to protect Americans and the economy from the ravages of COVID-19 — and it was necessary.
Wages can’t be pushing inflation because wages have been increasing at a slower pace than prices — leaving most workers worse off.
The major cause of the current inflation is the global post-pandemic shortage of all sorts of things, coupled with Putin’s war in Ukraine and China’s lockdowns.
The media have been hyping inflation pretty much non-stop for the last year and a half. They tell us that this the only thing people care about. They don’t care about whether they have a job, how much the job pays, whether they have health care, or any other economic issue. People care about inflation: full stop.
And, what do you know, this is bad news for Joe Biden and the Democrats. Yeah, it’s true that pretty much every other wealthy country in the world is facing a comparable rate of inflation, but that doesn’t matter. We have high inflation and it’s Joe Biden’s fault. The Democrats just have to accept this.
The insistence, that inflation is the only economic issue voters care about, reminds me of the situation a quarter century ago when there was a big push by Republicans, and many Democrats, to cut and/or privatize Social Security. The story at the time was that Social Security faced a crisis and something had to be done.
American democracy is not guaranteed by the Constitution. It has no impregnable defense in law, and in the coming midterm election it stands in mortal jeopardy.
A derelict Republican Party must be defeated on November 8 if our democracy is to survive. Massive, responsible, and informed voting will be necessary to do so.