Thursday, December 08, 2022
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Walking Back Biden



It has been a rough week for the staff over at the White House. President Joe Biden gave his first interview in over 200 days with Scott Pelley at 60 minutes and while the President came off better than some TikToks and YouTube videos would have you believe, his incoherence wasn’t the problem. His coherence is what put the White House staff back on the clock before Monday.

Pandemic

Mr. Biden told Mr. Pelley in pretty simple terms that the pandemic is over. “The pandemic is over. We still have a problem with COVID. We’re still doing a lotta work on it. … But the pandemic is over,” As the President and Mr. Pelley walked the floor of the Detroit Auto Show last week, Mr. Biden observed “If you notice, no one’s wearing masks. Everybody seems to be in pretty good shape. And so I think it’s changing. And I think this is a perfect example of it.”

Policy-wise this is a problem. Less than a month ago the Department of Education announced a final extension of the pause on student loan repayment, interest, and collections through December 31, 2022. If the pandemic is over why are we extending the pause on student debt? White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” to walk back Mr. Biden’s claim that “the pandemic is over.” Ms. Jean Pierre told the “Morning Joe” crew that money still needs to be flowing (duh) “… we have to continue to have a foot on this so we have the funding, so that we are ahead of this, of any other, you know, as we look at future vaccines and future treatments, we need to make sure that we are ready for that.”

Inflation

Without question the biggest hindrance to a full-blown Democrat agenda these last two years has been inflation. Skyrocketing gas prices and their impact on American consumers have forced Democrats, even in blue states, to reconsider a blank check to the Biden Administration. Personal finance is one of the few issues that is immune from rhetoric. You might have a chart that explains how gas prices and beef prices are historically low but if someone feels they have less money at the end of the month good luck convincing them otherwise. Despite this inconvenient truth, politicians constantly try and convince Americans the economy is better than we think.

President Biden tried this very tactic Sunday night telling Mr. Pelley that “…first of all, let’s put this in perspective. Inflation rate month to month was just– just an inch, hardly at all.” Mr. Biden went on to tell the American people that inflation would be under control soon. “I’m telling the American people that we’re gonna get control of inflation. And their prescription drug prices are gonna be a hell of a lotta lower. Their health care costs are gonna be a lot lower. Their basic costs for everybody, their energy prices are gonna be lower. They’re gonna be in a situation where they begin to gain control again.  I’m– more optimistic than I’ve been in a long time.” Unfortunately, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve was far more pessimistic at his press conference on Wednesday.

After announcing a 75 basis point hike to the federal funds rate, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, spoke with reporters about the reasoning behind the hike. Not only was Powell not confident that inflation is currently under control, but he was also worried that a soft landing was becoming less and less likely. 

“Inflation is running too hot. You don’t need to know much more than that.” Powell continued, “The chances of a soft landing are likely to diminish if policy needs to be more restrictive or for longer.” 

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) also released a projection for the federal funds rate which they believe could reach 4.4% by the end of the current year. This means the Fed expects to raise the fed funds rate by 75 basis points at its next two meetings.

President Joe Biden might think the pandemic is over, but his staffers disagree. Biden might think inflation is over, but the FOMC disagrees.

The argument was made during President Donald Trump’s presidency to “let Trump be Trump.” This usually meant White House handlers giving President Trump the distance to allow his charisma and ideas to connect with the American voter. The Biden presidency couldn’t be more different. When it comes to the Biden Administration staffers would be better served by letting the staffers be Biden while President Biden calls it a night. I heard they are serving chocolate chip ice cream in the White House kitchen.