Worried About Inflation? Here’s How the Republicans Are Fighting It…

Inflation is a legitimate concern of all Americans, and the Biden administration has been doing everything it can to bring it down.

The inflation stems from the pandemic, which has messed up supply chains and unleashed strong consumer spending that had been pent up during the previous few years. It’s also been fueled by the record high jobs figures that Republicans don’t want to talk about.

Although the Biden administration has a long-term plan to control inflation by increasing competition, that won’t help right now.

Enter the Fed. The Federal Reserve Bank is in a position to reduce inflation by increasing interest rates. The President renominated the Chair of the Board of Governors, Jerome H. Powell, who has bipartisan support.

He also nominated Sarah Bloom Raskin as Vice Chair for Supervision, a position in which she would be in charge of the Fed’s regulatory agenda.

Raskin served on the Fed’s Board of Governors from 2010 to 2014, and as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Department from 2014 to 2017, working on cybersecurity. Previously, she was Maryland’s Commissioner of Financial Regulation.

She is the wife of Rep Jamie Raskin, who led the impeachment trial against Trump following the Insurrection and is a prominent member of the January 6 Committee investigating the Insurrection.

Far be it for me to suggest that the uniform opposition to Sarah Bloom Raskin among the not-so-loyal Republicans on the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee is in any way a vendetta against him…

Publicly, the Republicans are basing their opposition on an OpEd that nominee Raskin wrote in The New York Times in 2020, in which she stated that money from the CARES Act shouldn’t be given to struggling fossil fuel companies.

Oh, my! After years of the government’s bailing out those who are destroying our environment, someone was brave enough to say it’s time to reverse the trend.

Away with her, say the climate change deniers–though in her hearing before this committee, she emphasized that the allocation of taxpayer money for pandemic relief that she was discussing in the OpEd was different from the Fed’s regulatory work, and she wouldn’t make the same argument if appointed to the Fed supervisory position.

“I know the law,” she said.

Yet many believe that the Fed should be paying attention to climate change. Senator Jon Tester of Montana, no radical, for sure, said he felt it was “critically important that the Fed gets all the information that they can when they’re dealing with risk to our financial system. And I think that it is rather obvious that climate change has to be part of the information that you gather.”

The other nominee who’s been receiving rough treatment is Lisa Cook, who has a PhD in economics from the University of California, Berkeley, where she specialized in macroeconomics and international economics. President Biden nominated her to be a Member of the Board of Governors.

Cook said she’s spent decades teaching and researching economic growth and monetary policy. She had been appointed to the Chicago Fed shortly before being nominated to this position.

But Senator Pat Toomey, the highest ranking Republican on the Senate Committee, said she “lacked the background in macroeconomics needed to join the Fed Board.”

If confirmed, Lisa Cook would be the first Black woman to serve on the Fed. Her research has included the benefits of equitability and the ways that reductions in disparities based on race and gender can enhance overall economic growth.

Senate Committee Chair Sherrod Brown described the attacks on Cook’s record as “abhorrent.

So there you have it, folks. I’m not sure how the Democrats get those nominations out of the Senate Committee. But it is expected that if/when they do, these two candidates will be confirmed, possibly by a 50-50 vote.

Two women, both highly qualified, one dedicated to economic solutions to race/gender inequities, the other deeply concerned about climate change. Both seeking ways to improve the economy.

The Fed needs to be at full strength now in the fight against inflation.

And what do the Republicans do–aside from blaming President Biden?

You see the empty chairs.

The quotations above appeared in Roll Call.

UPDATE: The Department of Justice is investigating possible anti-trust activities on the part of companies that “exploit supply chain disruptions to overcharge consumers and collude with competitors,” reports The Hill.

The effort comes as pandemic-driven supply chain congestion continues to drive up the cost of transporting and producing goods. The Biden administration has scrutinized oil producers, ocean carriers, meat processing companies and other industries for raising prices amid surging inflation.” 

Annie

23 thoughts on “Worried About Inflation? Here’s How the Republicans Are Fighting It…

  1. Thank you, Annie.
    There is allegedly a fair amount of evidence that big companies are ramping up corporate profits so much that it is impacting inflation numbers, although the Fed probably can’t do much about that – that would be the competition thing you mentioned, the longer view. It is something I don’t want to disappear into the background, though.
    And this rejection of women out of hand as unqualified , even when they can show qualification documents reminds me of a discussion I saw elsewhere which was basically a bunch of women who happened to be health care specialists, from nurses to ER doctors, being on airplanes when a health emergency came up and being pushed aside because they needed a *real* doctor. The bias is beyond ridiculous.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. * to be clear, that wasn’t “a bunch of women on an airplane”. It was meant to be a bunch of women, each reporting their experiences on their various flights when they offered their expert services and were shunted aside.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. The GOP can get away with such obstructionism because they pay no price for it, knowing that most people have little or no interest in “getting-into-the-weeds” of such politics-as-usual shenanigans. But “politics-as-usual’ is much too benign a term for how how Republicans do their dirty work in Trump world, and the Dems need to get far more assertive in their messaging and actions.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hello Polly. There is an update on that point. Unfortunately greed is the part of capitalism that the Republicans strongly support. There used to be reasonable profit and corporations gave back to the communities. Then in the 1980’s the slogan “Greed is great” became a mantra for the wealthy and the wannabe wealthy.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Annie, just as I’m answering your last blog posting, their is another one this morning. I really need to shorten my responses or just catch up. However, your posts are always thought provoking. It is difficult just to read and move on.

    So here is my read on Worried About Inflation.

    Inflation serves any party and in this case the Republican Party in a mid term year, or any year they are not in power. Misinformation and a sense of instability and the under current of panic do not help and these times are unsettling times.

    Inflation, if remembered during the late Nixon, the Carter and the early Reagan administrations, frightened the hell out of the country. Those, many elderly on fixed incomes years before IRA/401K’s, remember it well. Those with low incomes suffered the most. Those with good financial standing, saw their savings/wealth in unstable territory. At the time the stock markets dipped with more than the level of what is considered correction. The economy went flat for an extended period and people fretted. Many suffered and many more never fully recovered. People saw their financial security as waning. They, the elderly, are a large part of a parties base. Midterms and uncertainty with wisps of the past will rally them and as a down side for the Democrats, but bonus to the Republicans, not inspire those that support the Biden administration.

    Mid terms are like that. Without an immediate crises, re. 1962 Cuban Missile Crises during the Kennedy administration mid term, ancient history when parties could agree on something that might benefit the country as a whole, midterm elections swing the senate and largely the house away from the party in power. Maybe an Ukraine/Russian War will be the hold the Democrats will need, but no one wants war. It is just something we do on occasion as a people, worldwide, too reset the map. Without a map, how would we know where to attack next?

    The Republican Party is looking to take over the Senate and the House. They are looking and most likely succeed in doing so and thus, stall the Biden agenda. As has been the way of Presidential politics, you have a 6-18 month window to reset the direction of the country and in Biden’s case, patch the holes left by the previous administration. Without a threat to our country, real or perceived, there is little hope for a midterm election turn around.

    Today, this is not stagflation where the unemployment increases and the economic growth slows. We are not there. Well not yet. Inflation will most likely subside. However, those who remember it, know it is real.

    Our country will always be in some turmoil whether domestic or foreign. Some we bring about on our selves. Some we are forced to address and bear the costs in many ways of the burden it brings. We weather these times, but also change those in charge as we lose trust. What have done though is lose trust in ourselves and our ability to forge forward from the voids created over those last 4 years.

    Then enter the national debt that will never be recovered and the engorged yearly budget imbalance.

    During the mid 1950’s thru the late 1960’s we fretted order but accepted debit to GDP ratios of 50-60%. This was very sustainable. Then during the years of both inflation and stagflation, 1968-84 we saw the ratio as an average of 35/36%. How we could spend more than we make and then at the same time make more than we spend is still a mystery. But for all of our unsettled days then, we were doing well but not feeling it. Perceived more than actual? Still did suffer financially.

    Come the mid 80’s thru 2008. Debit to GDP rose continually into the 60% average. Then the recession of 2008 and debit has just kept growing thru the pandemic to today. We are now at WWII debit to GDP ratios. It is unsustainable. We can argue all day and we will get no place except change and this too will not settle the issues that plague us.

    The Fed has always had a policy of controlling inflation and recessions once they appear. The US Congress not wanting to deny constituents their benefits already available for their needs to sustain a more even level of lifestyle and needs when it can be most catastrophic, has had the policy of spending to those levels. Then enter the Fed to harness some of those effects. On a momentary lighter note, a quote from the recently deceased P.J. O’Rouke. “If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.” There is no free lunch. Everyone needs to eat and not all care or can afford the costs of such.

    It has been long said, the Democrats tax and spend and the Republicans borrow and spend. I still think and feel the former of these 2 policies works for the greater good of all Americans.

    We are one nation, Republic or Democracy. We are joined and also separated by our differences. We go over the edge together or we continue on an uneven path to what is our future. I do not have belief and yet I have hope. I do not deny the past as it is never something you can bet against. It has already happened. I do chose knowledge and perspective based on all things experienced and wether personally or historically.

    Another quote. Carl Sagan once said, “We are like butterflies who flutter for a day and think it is forever.

    It isn’t and we need to realize what is best and know from history that political parties will burn something down to build something else in their own image even if in the end we don’t like what we see.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, Charles, this is quite a trip through various aspects of our past. Lots of threads to follow. I remain hopeful that inflation will come down somewhat organically—bolstered by the Justice Dept’s investigations of possible antitrust violations by overzealous corporations taking advantage of the supply chain issues to gouge consumers, and the Fed’s actions, though higher interest rates, like just about everything else, hurt people with low incomes the hardest. And now, with the likelihood of Putin’s “war of choice” (very good messaging, I think), all bets are off as to what will happen over the next few years.

      I’m grateful that you find my posts thought-provoking. FYI: I try to put up new posts on Wednesdays and Saturdays—if that helps you plan your time accordingly. 🙂

      Like

    2. Charles. Interesting observation and opinions. Inflation is always an issue but it is never easy to explain why it occurs. If we could do that we could control it.

      You do go off on a lot of tangents, so let me give my take on a few of them.

      PJ O’Rourke quote: “If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.”

      This is an old saw of the health insurance industry that attempts to simplify the complex. First, I would guess that PJ had a pretty good health care plan and insurance. What about the millions of Americans who don’t? Health care is not only expensive for them, it is largely unavailable. Of course the idea that “health care is free” is an intentional distortion of reality. Of course health care is always paid for by someone. the question is: What is the most cost-effective way to deliver health care. I would suggest that a single payer option that covered all is the most cost effective method. I look to western Europe for great examples of this. In places like Ireland , for example, health care is “free” and available to all. You just go to the hospital. No one demands your insurance card and then figures out what you can get and how much you will pay or if you cannot get coverage, etc. There is no massive “private sector” bureaucracy as exists in the USA. Isn’t it ironic that those who oppose “government bureaucracy” support the massive, expensive health insurance bureaucracy? Now, in Ireland people pay higher taxes (though not much higher)for the safety net. But in Ireland people don’t choose between eating and taking their kid to the doctor. A choice PJ would never have to make. No one pretends health care in these nations is “free” but rather that the costs are managed in ways so that everyone has access.

      Another point I would like to address: “It has been long said, the Democrats tax and spend and the Republicans borrow and spend. I still think and feel the former of these 2 policies works for the greater good of all Americans.”

      I agree. The credit card mentality of the GOP has worked politically , however. Doesn’t the excess debt feed inflation? And simply kick the can down the road for our children and grandchildren? i cannot understand how they are able to continue to play the “tax and spend” card while borrowing to keep the government functioning. But it seems to work. The Dems need to do a better job of explaining how tax cuts have lead to economic instability. The GOP has been very good in selling the “starve the beast” ideology while feeding the beast with borrowed dollars.

      You wrote: Then enter the national debt that will never be recovered and the engorged yearly budget imbalance.

      There is only one area of the national spending that seems to never be debated or diminished. The military-industrial-government complex which feeds the military contractor machine. As Ike pointed out, Congress is controlled by military contractors. And this goes back to how Congressional elections are funded. Which goes back to Citizens United which overturned attempts by the Congress (McCain-Feingold) to impose some sensible funding regulations. So, it is all connected.We are now controlled by a very corporate oriented Supreme Court. Not sure how to get around that without expanding the SCOTUS to 14 members. In a nation of over 330 million people I would suggest that 14 life appointments is not too many when it comes to protecting the Constitution But that is another story.

      Bottom line. I don’t see a way out. Mitch McConnell has now packed the court with corporate justices who are fundamentally opposed to labor and individual rights. They support the use of corporate money to buy Congress. They support restrictions on voting rights. I don’t see a way out of the box. That is not going to change in my lifetime, for sure.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Joseph, I had been planning to address the healthcare issue, but it was late and I never got back to it. Glad you did.

        I think expanding the SC has the potential to revitalize exhausted Democrats and independents. Perhaps during the upcoming confirmation hearings. Apart from the critical rollbacks of all things benefiting the non wealthy, I’ve read that the 9-member court is—according to some legal scholars—insufficient people power for the work load the Court faces. Expansion is not radical.

        And Eisenhower was right on this big issue!

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Sadly, they have figured out that not enough people are watching to hold them accountable for their persistent strategy of stonewalling and obstruction, this includes their own better angels.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, those better angels, Carol! I’ve been hoping they’ll stumble onto them for years now!

      But I agree! The Democrats’ need better messaging. (I feel as though THAT message is repeated more than heeded!)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I get a lot of Dem messages saying “We’re in soo much trouble, send us money to help us, pleeeease!”
        I don’t get a lot of GQP messages, can anyone report or confirm? Seems like the public message is “help us win the fight against the infidels! Cheer with us! Yay! Money to us will save your soul!”

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Reblogged this on Scottie's Playtime and commented:
    Hello Annie. A great post and the picture at the start really points out the Republicans refusal to do anything that might help the people of the country. As you point out, their main concern is not the public but the large corporations. For those Playtime viewers who do not yet know of Annie’s blog I strongly recommend checking it out. I enjoy the blog and the commentary.

    Liked by 1 person

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