Democrats Suddenly Desperate To Discuss The Inflation Their Policies Caused

LEADER McCONNELL: ‘This Was A Policy Choice. This All-Democrat Government Was Warned Their Radical Agenda Would Supercharge Inflation And They Pushed Ahead Anyway. And Our Country Is Paying The Price’

SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “The cost of essentials has absolutely exploded since Washington Democrats took power. And to be clear, the worst inflation in 40 years is not something that just spontaneously happened to Democrats on their watch. As a Pew report demonstrated late last year, it’s true countries around the world are facing inflation as a result of COVID — but America has it worse than almost everybody else in the developed world. That is a direct result of liberal policy choices…. The severity of this inflation was directly fueled by the reckless, far-left spending spree that every single Democrat in this chamber voted to ram through at President Biden’s behest last year. Even the most prominent liberal economists knew this would happen and tried to warn the Democrats. A year ago, Larry Summers warned that Democrats’ binge could set off, ‘inflationary pressures of a kind we have not seen in a generation.’ But Democrats ignored their own experts. They plowed ahead, using the pandemic as a pretext to dump $2 trillion dollars into left-wing policies that were overwhelmingly unrelated to the healthcare fight against the virus. And we see the results all around us. Families are living with the results every day…. It didn’t have to be this way. This was a policy choice. This all-Democrat government was warned their radical agenda would supercharge inflation and they pushed ahead anyway. And our country is paying the price.” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 2/10/2022)


‘Senate Democrats Are Scrambling’ To Address Inflation ‘As Democrats Have Grown Increasingly Anxious About The Political Fallout From Rising Prices’

“Rising inflation is having an impact everywhere, from the gas station to the grocery store, and now on Capitol Hill. Senate Democrats are scrambling to provide some relief to people struggling with the highest rates of inflation in roughly 40 years, aware that the skyrocketing prices on consumer goods like gas could hurt their political fortunes.” (NPR, 2/24/2022)

“The new approach comes as Democrats have grown increasingly anxious about the political fallout from rising prices ahead of what are expected to be challenging midterm elections. Democratic allies of Mr. Biden have in recent months privately told senior White House officials that the president should mount a more aggressive response to inflation, according to people familiar with the conversations.” (“Biden Shifts Inflation Message to Show He Feels Americans’ Pain,” The Wall Street Journal, 2/18/2022)

  • “President Biden is shifting his message on inflation to show he understands Americans’ economic woes, in the midst of mounting public frustration over rising prices and after pleas from worried Democrats to change his tune…. That is a change from the way the president addressed inflation earlier in his term. In July, after inflation accelerated at the fastest pace in 13 years, Mr. Biden said price increases ‘were expected and expected to be temporary.’ In September, he said there was ‘a lot of evidence that gas prices should be going down, but they haven’t,’ pledging to work on it. By November, he was acknowledging the impact on families, saying ‘everything from a gallon of gas to loaf of bread costs more. And it’s worrisome, even though wages are going up.’” (“Biden Shifts Inflation Message to Show He Feels Americans’ Pain,” The Wall Street Journal, 2/18/2022)


Yet The Primary Reason Democrats Now Feel Pressure To Focus On Inflation Is Because The Policies They Doggedly Pursued And Enacted Last Year Set Off And Accelerated Inflation

Democrats Were Warned As They Were Writing Their $1.9 Trillion Spending Blowout That They Risked Unleashing ‘Inflationary Pressures Of A Kind We Have Not Seen In A Generation’

LARRY SUMMERS: “[T]here is a chance that macroeconomic stimulus on a scale closer to World War II levels than normal recession levels will set off inflationary pressures of a kind we have not seen in a generation, with consequences for the value of the dollar and financial stability…. [G]iven the commitments the Fed has made, administration officials’ dismissal of even the possibility of inflation, and the difficulties in mobilizing congressional support for tax increases or spending cuts, there is the risk of inflation expectations rising sharply. Stimulus measures of the magnitude contemplated are steps into the unknown.” (Larry Summers, Op-Ed, “The Biden Stimulus Is Admirably Ambitious. But It Brings Some Big Risks, Too.,” The Washington Post, 2/04/2021)

STEVEN RATTNER, former Obama Administration Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury: “I spent an early part of my career as a reporter at The New York Times, chronicling the rampant inflation that scarred the economy in the 1970s and the Federal Reserve’s struggle to contain it…. But now, with Congress poised to approve an additional $1.9 trillion in spending through the American Rescue Plan Act, I’m worrying again.” (Steven Rattner, Op-Ed, “Too Many Smart People Are Being Too Dismissive of Inflation,” The New York Times, 3/05/2021)

  • “The prices of many commodities are surging — copper and lumber because of a jump in home building. Global steel demand has pushed up iron ore prices. Even tin, heavily used in electronics, has soared as suppliers rush to meet consumer demand for new gadgets. Inflation expectations are also on the rise among traders. Interest rates on long-term Treasury bonds — a reliable inflation indicator — remain historically low, but have been marching upward. That, in turn, has shaken financial markets, which rightfully view climbing interest rates as the enemy of their investments. It is against this backdrop that Congress is on the verge of injecting an additional $1.9 trillion into an economy that has already received more than $4 trillion in boosts from Washington. According to several estimates, the measure’s spending far exceeds the extent of the shortfall in economic output caused by the pandemic. And let’s not forget the effects of easy money from our central bank. The Federal Reserve, which has driven short-term interest rates to near zero, has also injected more money into the economy in the past year than it did fighting the Great Recession in 2008.” (Steven Rattner, Op-Ed, “Too Many Smart People Are Being Too Dismissive of Inflation,” The New York Times, 3/05/2021)
  • “Some commentators, and White House advisers, dismiss inflation fears on the grounds that the economy has fundamentally changed since the 1970s…. That has led to many pronouncements that when it comes to inflation, this time will be different. ‘It’s better to overreact than underreact to crises’ has become a conventional mantra, along with a promise that if inflation picks up too much, the Fed has the tools to deal with it. OK — but let’s not be so blasé about how hard it would be to put that tiger back in its cage. Forty years ago, curbing the painful hike in prices took the Fed raising interest rates to 20 percent, forcing the economy into a brutal recession…. [M]ore prudence is merited. Start with cutting back the $1.9 trillion package.” (Steven Rattner, Op-Ed, “Too Many Smart People Are Being Too Dismissive of Inflation,” The New York Times, 3/05/2021)

OLIVIER BLANCHARD, former chief economist for the International Monetary Fund: “And I worry that if we spend 1.9 trillion, then we are going to increase demand by so much that we’ll get overheating. The economy will not be able to actually increase production enough to satisfy that demand. And then we may get inflation, but not just one or 2% more than now, but substantially more. We may force the Fed to react by adjusting rates up, in order to slow down the economy and acting faster and stronger than they really want to and I think we should avoid that.” (Oliver Blanchard, Remarks, 2/8/2021)

In March 2021, Senate Republicans Also Warned, ‘Enacting A Stimulus Unmoored From Economic Reality Poses Real Risks To Our Economy,’ ‘It Means That As There Are More And More Dollars Chasing Fewer Goods, You Are Going To Get Inflation’

LEADER McCONNELL: “Only 9% of this $1.9 trillion is related to healthcare and less than 1% of this $1.9 trillion bill is related to vaccines. It’s a wildly out of proportion response to where the country is at the moment. The vaccines are going out, the economies are opening up. A lot of money that was sitting on the sidelines for obvious reasons is about to begin to be spent.” (Fox News’ “The Story with Martha MacCallum,” 3/03/2021)

  • LEADER McCONNELL: “Democrats say they will break the bipartisan streak that has defined the pandemic response until now. They are dead-set on ramming through an ideological spending spree packed with non-COVID-related policies…. Larry Summers, a top economist in both the Clinton and Obama Administrations, says this plan piles way more debt on our kids and grandkids than we need to spend right now. Jason Furman, who chaired President Obama’s CEA, has said the state and local bailouts are overkill. These are liberal economists…. Here’s what the Washington Post says about this mess: ‘For policy experts and even members of Biden’s own party, the improving picture is raising questions about whether the stimulus bill is mismatched to the needs of the current moment.’ It’s mismatched, all right. Because it was never designed to meet Americans’ needs. The goal was to ‘restructure things to fit’ their ‘vision.’(Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 2/11/2022)

SENATE REPUBLICAN WHIP JOHN THUNE (R-SD): “There is a lot of money out there in the economy. What does that mean long-term for our economy and for the individual workers in our economy? Well, first off, it means that as there are more and more dollars chasing fewer goods, you are going to get inflation. That is inevitable. When you get inflation, typically what happens is interest rates follow because those who are buying that debt, if it is being lost to inflation, want to make sure that they are getting a return on their investments, so interest rates start to go up. … Well, if you keep putting as much money out there as we are--another $2 trillion out into the economy--I would argue that you are not only going to unleash inflation, which has a dramatic consequence for our fiscal situation as a country, but it also has a dramatic consequence for the personal financial situation of the American family because when inflation takes off, everything that people have to buy, from food to gasoline to clothing--all those things go up. Inflation pushes the prices of things higher, which means they are more expensive to the average family in this country.” (Sen. Thune, Congressional Record, S1006, 3/03/2021)

  • SEN. THUNE: “The Democrats’ COVID bill runs a very real risk of overstimulating the economy, as evidenced by the large increase we have seen in money supply which could, among other things, drive up prices on the goods that Americans use every day--in other words, inflation. Even some liberal economists have sounded the alarm over the size of the Democrats’ coronavirus legislation. …  And that, I believe, is a very, very real threat, because if you look at what is happening right now with the economy and with all the money that we have flooded out there so far and another $2 trillion, if the Democrats have their way in this particular proposal, and all that money out there starts pushing up those costs and we start seeing inflation in the economy, it doesn’t take very long for interest rates to go with it. In fact, they already are. If those interest rates start pushing up very quickly on the amount of debt that we are piling up, financing that debt--the amount of interest, the cost of interest on that debt--would be absolutely overwhelming and devastating to this country.” (Sen. Thune, Congressional Record, S969, 3/01/2021)

SEN. CHUCK GRASSLEY (R-IA): “At this time, instead of $2 trillion, two-thirds of it not needed, why not help those hurting and not pour gasoline on the inflationary fires? A COVID relief package should reflect this reality in both size and scope. … Enacting a stimulus unmoored from economic reality poses real risks to our economy, including inflation and slower economic growth moving forward. … While inflation has been subdued in recent years, we shouldn’t let that lull in inflation lull us into a false sense of confidence that we can spend with impunity with no consequences. …  Concerns of inflation have been dismissed by the White House and by the Federal Reserve. This sounds too familiar to those of us who witnessed the stagflation of the 1970s. … It was with this background of stagflation that I first ran for Congress on a platform of fighting inflation. Inflation is a regressive stealth tax on every single American.” (Sen. Grassley, Congressional Record, S1006, 3/03/2021)

It Was Quickly Apparent That Democrats’ Thirst For Government Largesse Had Resulted In A Spending Spree That Was ‘Definitely Too Big For The Moment’ ‘[T]hat Has Contributed Materially To Today’s Inflation Levels’

JASON FURMAN, Former Obama White House chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers: “It’s definitely too big for the moment. I don’t know any economist that was recommending something the size of what was done.” (“Obama, Biden Economists in Conflict on Inflation Jump, Spending,” Bloomberg News, 5/12/2021)

STEVEN RATTNER, former Obama Administration Counselor to the Secretary of the Treasury: “Enough already about ‘transitory’ inflation…. How could an administration loaded with savvy political and economic hands have gotten this critical issue so wrong? They can’t say they weren’t warned — notably by Larry Summers, a former Treasury secretary and my former boss in the Obama administration, and less notably by many others, including me. We worried that shoveling an unprecedented amount of spending into an economy already on the road to recovery would mean too much money chasing too few goods.” (Steven Rattner, Op-Ed, “I Warned the Democrats About Inflation,” The New York Times, 11/16/2021)

And Now ‘A Chorus Of Economists’ Are ‘Increasingly Pointing To The Scale And Size Of The $1.9 Trillion American Rescue Plan … As Too Big’

“‘The United States has had much more inflation than almost any other advanced economy in the world,’ said Jason Furman, an economist at Harvard University and former Obama administration economic adviser, who used comparable methodologies to look across areas and concluded that U.S. price increases have been consistently faster. The difference, he said, comes because ‘the United States’ stimulus is in a category of its own.’” (“Rapid Inflation Fuels Debate Over What’s to Blame: Pandemic or Policy,” The New York Times, 1/22/2022)

LARRY SUMMERS: “I’m not sure that we would have the inflation if there had never been a pandemic and, even if there had been a pandemic, without the overwhelming stimulus that was applied well into recovery — during 2021.” (“Summers Says Pandemic Only Partly To Blame For Record Inflation,” The Harvard Gazette, 2/4/2022) 

“At a moment when stubbornly rapid price gains are weighing on consumer confidence and creating a political liability for President Biden, White House officials have repeatedly blamed international forces for high inflation … But a chorus of economists point to government policies as a big part of the reason U.S. inflation is at a 40-year high. While they agree that prices are rising as a result of shutdowns and supply chain woes, they say that America’s decision to flood the economy with stimulus money helped to send consumer spending into overdrive, exacerbating those global trends.” (“Rapid Inflation Fuels Debate Over What’s to Blame: Pandemic or Policy,” The New York Times, 1/22/2022)

“Many economists supported protecting workers and businesses early in the pandemic, but some took issue with the size of the $1.9 trillion package last March under the Biden administration. They argued that sending households another round of stimulus, including $1,400 checks, further fueled demand when the economy was already healing. Consumer spending seemed to react: Retail sales, for instance, jumped after the checks went out. Adam Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said the U.S. government spent too much in too short a time in the first half of 2021.” (“Rapid Inflation Fuels Debate Over What’s to Blame: Pandemic or Policy,” The New York Times, 1/22/2022)

“[E]conomists are increasingly pointing to the scale and size of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan — which Democrats passed less than two months after Biden came to office — as too big to fill the economy’s hole. This stimulus re-extended more generous unemployment benefits of $400 a week, gave many Americans another round of stimulus checks and expanded the Child Tax Credit, though it has since expired. It also strengthened nutritional assistance and school lunch programs. Many Democrats — except a rare few, such as Lawrence H. Summers, who served under Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama — initially waved off concerns that the spending power of the package could overwhelm the economy and flame inflation. But over time, it became clear that the massive influx in cash that went straight to American households, plus billions more dollars pumped into the broader economy, overheated the recovery…. And as time goes on, an increasing number of economists concede that the American Rescue Plan was too big to fill the hole left by the coronavirus recession.” (“What To Know About Inflation: Rising Prices Hit In U.S., Around The World,” The Washington Post, 2/09/2022)


Economists Estimate That Inflation Cost U.S. Families $3,500 In 2021 And Is Costing Them An Additional $276 A Month This Year

PENN WHARTON BUDGET MODEL: “We estimate that inflation in 2021 will require the average U.S. household to spend around $3,500 more in 2021 to achieve the same level of consumption of goods and services as in recent previous years (2019 or 2020). Moreover, we estimate that lower-income households spend more of their budget on goods and services that have been more impacted by inflation. Lower-income households will have to spend about 7 percent more while higher-income households will have to spend about 6 percent more.” (“Impact of Inflation by Household Income,” Penn Wharton Budget Model, 12/15/2021)

“The average U.S. household is spending an additional $276 a month because of inflation that is rising at its fastest rate in 40 years, a new economic analysis showed. The squeeze stems from higher prices across a range of products and services, including cars, gasoline, furniture and groceries. Inflation accelerated to a 7.5% annual rate in January, the Labor Department said Thursday, reaching a new four-decade high as consumer demand and supply constraints continued to push prices higher. Inflation has been above 5% for the past eight months.” (“Higher Inflation Is Probably Costing You $276 a Month,” The Wall Street Journal, 2/10/2021)


And Now Chuck Schumer Is Gaslighting Americans That Democrats Are ‘Laser Focused On Lowering Costs’ Even While He Continues To Call For Passage Of A Reckless Taxing And Spending Spree That Would Make Inflation Even Worse

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER CHUCK SCHUMER (D-NY): “The cost of living has come up for families across the country, and around the world as well. The destruction unleashed by COVID has decimated supply chains, strained the labor supply, and the effects of a global pandemic that began two years ago still reverberate today. These challenges demand action—and Democrats remain laser focused on lowering costs for American families…. Democrats are the ones laser focused on showing where we stand and offer solutions that aim squarely at the problem.” (Sen. Schumer, Remarks, 2/16/2022)

Schumer Vowed That He Intended To Hold A Vote On Democrats’ Multitrillion Taxing And Spending Bonanza And To ‘Keep Voting Until We Get A Bill Passed’

SCHUMER: “[T]he negotiations will also continue with members of our caucus and with the White House on finding a path forward on Build Back Better. As I mentioned before Christmas, I intend to hold a vote in the Senate on BBB. And we’ll keep voting until we get a bill passed.” (Sen. Schumer, Remarks, 1/04/2022)

“When Senate Democrats asked Schumer at their weekly lunch on Feb. 1 what was happening with reviving Build Back Better, he was vague, saying only that he was ‘working on it.’” (“With Biden’s Agenda Hanging By A Thread, Democrats Question Their Leaders’ Strategy.” Los Angeles Times, 2/12/2022)

REMINDER: Many Economists Project Democrats’ Reckless Taxing-And-Spending Spree Would Increase Inflation In The Next Year And Warn That ‘The Risk Of Fueling More Inflation When It Has Reached Record Highs Outweighs The Potential Benefits Of Passing A Big Spending Bill’

“[M]any researchers, including a forecasting firm that Mr. Biden often cites to support the economic benefits of his proposals, say the bill is structured in a way that could add to inflation next year, before prices have had time to cool off. Some economists and lawmakers worry about the timing, arguing that the risk of fueling more inflation when it has reached record highs outweighs the potential benefits of passing a big spending bill that could help to keep prices in check while addressing other social goals. Prices have picked up by 6.2 percent over the past year, the fastest pace in 31 years and far above the Federal Reserve’s inflation target.” (“The White House Says Its Plans Will Slow Inflation. The Big Question Is: When?,” The New York Times, 11/11/2021)

  • “Many economists say it could create a short-term stimulus because the plan is structured to raise money gradually by taxing wealthier Americans, who are less likely to spend each additional dollar they have, and redistribute it quickly to people who earn less and are more likely to spend newfound cash. Because of the difference in timing between when the government spends money and when it starts to bring in more revenue, the bill is expected to pump money into the economy in its early years.” (“The White House Says Its Plans Will Slow Inflation. The Big Question Is: When?,” The New York Times, 11/11/2021)
  • “The roughly $2 trillion tax and spending bill being championed by President Joe Biden will act to push up inflation next year if passed by Congress. That’s according to three senior economists -- Mark Zandi at Moody’s Analytics, Douglas Holtz-Eakin of the American Action Forum and Harvard University professor Doug Elmendorf -- who appeared on a virtual panel sponsored by the National Association for Business Economics on Wednesday.” (“Top Economists See Biden’s Spending Plan Adding to Inflation,” Bloomberg, 11/17/2021)

STEVEN RATTNER, Former Obama Administration Counselor to the Treasury Secretary: “[I]nflation worries are top of voters’ minds. So the [Biden] administration should come clean with voters about the impact of its spending plans on inflation. Build Back Better can be deemed ‘paid for’ only if one embraces budget gimmicks, like assuming that some of the most important initiatives will be allowed to expire in just a few years. The result: a package that front-loads spending while tax revenues arrive only over a decade. The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget estimates that the plan would likely add $800 billion or more to the deficit over the next five years, exacerbating inflationary pressures.” (Steven Rattner, Op-Ed, “I Warned the Democrats About Inflation,” The New York Times, 11/16/2021)

Even an analysis by Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, and Democrats’ favorite economist, found the implementation of Democrats’ multitrillion dollar taxing and spending bill would increase inflation annual growth from 3.8 to 4.0 in 2022. (“Macroeconomic Consequences of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act & Build Back Better Framework,” Moody’s Analytics, 11/04/2021)

JASON FURMAN, Former Obama Administration Council of Economic Advisors Chairman and Harvard Economist: “It’s more likely a small positive for inflation in 2022…” (“The White House Says Its Plans Will Slow Inflation. The Big Question Is: When?,” The New York Times, 11/11/2021)

DOUG ELMENDORF, Former Director of the Congressional Budget Office and Harvard Economist: “That will tend to push up GDP and employment and inflation -- which is not the policy impulse we need right now.” (“Top Economists See Biden’s Spending Plan Adding to Inflation,” Bloomberg, 11/17/2021)




Related Issues: Inflation, Economy, Senate Democrats