Monday, June 5, 2023

Don't Blame Biden For Ongoing Inflation -- And Why Only An Idiot Would Make A Big Deal Over Biden's AFA Fall


"Rather than seek out and suck up the country’s attention at every possible turn, Mr. Biden recognizes and embraces the limited tools of his office within our constitutional system — and is all the more effective for it." - Matthew Yglesias, NY Times, 'It's Great To Have A President Who Knows When To Shut Up'

"Joe Biden on a bad day is better than 99 percent of Americans on a good one. He adroitly defeated the greatest human threat to U.S. democracy since Benedict Arnold, spearheaded a largely successful first-term legislative agenda, managed to avoid World War III with the Russians while materially supporting Ukraine’s war effort, and has kept an increasingly hegemonic China at bay. President Biden just oversaw the first truly bipartisan legislative effort in years, thus averting a world economic meltdown.' - NY Times article commenter

"I was present at this year’s Air Force Academy graduation. I ask anyone to contemplate standing onstage midday delivering a 30-minute graduation speech, followed by standing onstage another 90 minutes saluting 921 times, each salute followed by a verbal greeting and a firm handshake from an energized 20-something cadet. That is an impressive feat of stamina for a person of any age, let alone an octogenarian." - NY Times article commenter

Buckle your  seat belts, kiddies, because although the prices of  food (including  food ingredients), oil, transportation and raw materials have fallen in recent months as the shocks stemming from the pandemic have ebbed,  many big businesses have continued raising prices at a rapid clip. They're doing it because they can and because too many are giving them a pass.  

But are too many still dumb enough to also blame Joe Biden? Of course, because they are unable to do basic critical thinking, including awareness of the underlying factors at work. Also, a failure to grasp that Biden does not have the powers of a dictator or even socialist prime minister. In Barbados, for many years we lived there, price controls could be applied because Bim was a socialist nation. That meant the PM (in this case Errol Barrow) could impose price controls on certain key goods, say like rice, plantain, etc.   He could also ensure companies operating there had to tow the line.

The consuming masses also played their part, and didn't just continue buying ...whatever... when the price spiked. Enter the case of the Burger King experiment in the mid 1980s.  Bajans initially swamped the island's first American burger joint, but stopped when the price hit $7.25 U.S. ($14.50 Bds) for a Whopper with fries. Soon the 'king' had to leave the island because there wasn't the income to support even one outlet.

Flash forward now to the situation here in the U.S. and continued inflation which could very well bring another Fed interest rate hike.  To wit, some of the world’s biggest companies have stated they do not plan to change course and will continue raising prices. Oh, and plan to keep them at elevated levels for the foreseeable future. This go t0 strategy has cushioned corporate profits, but it is also keeping inflation robust, contributing to the very pressures used to justify surging prices.

As a result, some economists warn, policymakers at the Federal Reserve may feel compelled to keep raising interest rates, or at least not lower them, increasing the likelihood and severity of an economic downturn. Now true, the next Fed meeting in a week may not see a rate increase - given the terrific jobs numbers released Friday (339,000 added) dampening recession fears.  BUT... if price spikes continue, and especially across a raft of products and services, look out!  Another 250 basis point rate increase may be on the way.

 According to Albert Edwards, a global strategist at Société Générale, referring to profit margins:

Companies are not just maintaining margins, not just passing on cost increases, they have used it as a cover to expand margins."

In other words, companies have veered into the realm of unbridled greed, one to which Errol Barrow would have applied stiff price controls. And it would be either accept them, or leave Barbados.  My way or the highway.  But Biden can't do that here because he doesn't have the power - or congressional (actually parliamentary) backing - that PM Barrow did.

Thus, PepsiCo has become a prime example of how large corporations have countered increased costs, and then some. Hugh Johnston, the company’s chief financial officer, actually went on record in February saying that PepsiCo had raised its prices by enough to buffer further cost pressures in 2023. At the end of April, the company reported that it had raised the average price across its snacks and beverages by 16 percent in the first three months of the year. That added to a similar price increase in the fourth quarter of 2022 and increased its profit margin.  

Have customers 'bitten the bullet' and halted consumption of Doritos, cartons of Tropicana orange juice and bottles of Gatorade?  Like the Bajans who stopped buying Whoppers in Barbados when the price went to $14.50 each? Hell no!  Though customers have grumbled, they have largely kept buying. Oh and Pepsico Shareholders have cheered.

Don't like any inflation you may still see, which is eating away at your savings?  Then stop buying overpriced products like the Bajans did. Oh, and stop blaming Biden!

As for the WSJ editorial Friday ('Biden's Trip and Fall- 'I Got Sandbagged'"), making hay over Biden's fall at the Air Force Academy, gimme a break!  These genius nabobs sputtered:

"The electorate has noticed. Asked if Mr. Biden is in “good enough physical health to serve effectively,” 62% of Americans say no, according to a recent Washington Post-ABC poll. Asked if he has the “mental sharpness,” 63% say no. .

Democrats seem to have convinced themselves that they have no choice other than to rally around Mr. Biden, since he has decided to seek a second term. But they may be taking a bigger risk than they think, and the voters may have a different judgment."

Well, if voters are dumb enough to base an existential voting choice on one pratfall because an ignoramus left a sandbag in his path, they deserve what they get  - if they vote for the feral rat Trump instead.  But as I wrote earlier there really are no other choices for the Dems than Biden.  And I wager Biden is more physically fit than most would- be contenders. Biden, never mind the inflated media stories, lifts weights and bicycles every other day. What does Trump do?  Gobbles cheeseburgers and fries as well as KFC every other day and plays maybe a few holes of golf at Bedminster if he feels like it. (Oh, and riding in a cart between holes!) Want to place a bet on who croaks first in a 4 yr. 2025-29 term?

 As for lacking "mental sharpness" what planet are these forlorn fools living on? The guy put together a debt deal that actually had more wins than  McCarthy got for the Reeps. Including delaying another debt standoff until past the 2024 election. 

As Janice remarked: "Only a dumbass would believe Biden suffers from a loss of mental fitness after helping bring off this deal and avoiding a default-  which GOP brinkmanship risked. Plus he saved more social benefits on our side!"

But then she's convinced too many American voters are "dumbasses" anyway. And she will certify that is so if they choose Trump (or Mussolini Jr. Ron Desantis) over Biden.   Why is she justified?  Start with the fact Trump's cognitive performance actually declined precipitously over his 4 year term, with many aides deeming it "erratic". But worse is the fact, as aide Cassidy Hutchinson noted (to the J6 Committee), Trump was too often subject to 'intermittent explosive disorder'.  (According to the DSM  V def.) after he hurled plates of food at the wall leaving a mess for staff to clean up.  This was after his former AG Barr went on the air to insist the 2020 election wasn't stolen.

Such actions are not the mark of a sound mind but an unhinged psychotic, barely able to keep himself together.  Do sane voters truly want such a maniac sitting in the Oval Office next to the nuclear football? In addition, Psych experts found that he had grown less articulate and that his vocabulary had shrunk since his younger days. Aides also said privately that Mr. Trump had trouble processing information and distinguishing fact from fiction

So why do so many believe Trump is more mentally functional than Biden? Well, it's a delusion seeded from ignorance and misplaced American beliefs confusing feral energy with ability. Because of his bombastic volume and feral energy (as displayed in the CNN interview last month) they somehow think Trump has it together more than Joe.  They are idiots and ignoramuses.  

Proof? In a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll, 73 percent said Mr. Biden is "too old to be in office", compared with 51 percent who said the same of Dotard Trump.  The first lot of polling voters are "idiots" in Janice's parlance and confirmed so if they vote like they poll. I stand fully with that assessment. Minus Trump voters who are idiots anyway

See Also:

by Robert Reich | June 1, 2023 - 7:17am | permalink

— from Robert Reich's Substack


Okay, the House has passed the debt-ceiling deal, and the Senate will follow suit. So the economic crisis is over. Right?

Not quite, because another and more serious economic crisis is brewing: While the Fed continues to raise interest rates to counter inflation by slowing the economy, big corporations continue to raise prices. Greedflation is stalking the economy.

The latest data shows that the average company in the S&P 500 stock index increased its net profit margin from the end of last year. Wall Street analysts forecast that profit margins will keep expanding in the second half of this year.


Biden's Age - A Problem for the Media - But Not Sensible Citizens Uninfected by Ageism 


by Robert Reich | June 5, 2023 - 6:51am | permalink

— from Robert Reich's Substack


Now that President Biden has signed into law the debt-ceiling deal, what can we expect in the next 17 months leading up to the 2024 election?

1. House MAGA Republicans will be less of a force.

It was supposed to be their ace in the hole, their single biggest bargaining leverage. But in the end, House MAGA Republicans got surprisingly little out of their agreement to increase the debt ceiling.

Yes, they acted irresponsibly. They manufactured a debt crisis out of whole cloth. They played a reckless hostage-taking game. They could have wrecked the full faith and credit of the United States. They demanded spending cuts that would have hurt lots of vulnerable Americans.

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