Inflation, vaccines, voting rights: The bite is facing brick walls

This development highlights that presidents, for all they can do on their own, are bound into the great things of the other branches of government.

A Supreme Court with a strong majority of Republican-appointed judges has no interest in imposing restrictions on companies.

A densely divided Senate is paralyzed by its traditions.

It is the news of inflation that may be most damaging to Biden.

Ordinary people may not be stuck in the latest developments in suffrage. But they are seeing prices rise. They face empty grocery shelves. They may be nervous about going to work as the Omicron variant of coronavirus tears through the country.

They wonder what the heck is going on.

Where are groceries? The pictures on social media of empty grocery store shelves are sensational. CNN’s Parija Kavilanz writes that it is not that there is no food. It is that stores are having trouble getting it on the shelves. There is a shortage of labor and transport problems. And people cook at home instead of going to restaurants.
Consider the grocery worker. CNN’s Nathaniel Meyersohn looks at an industry where it is not possible to work from home, where it has been difficult for stores to find clerks, and where some stores have had to limit opening hours. He spoke with Sam Dancy, a supervisor and union representative at the QFC supermarket chain in Seattle. From the report:

Two weeks ago (Dancy) was working on a crowded Sunday when the store was briefly staffed. It “was the first time in 30 years I thought ‘I do not know much anymore, I can and will do this’.”

RELATED: More than 8,000 workers are on strike in 77 grocery stores in the Denver area
For an idea of ​​the mercury character of inflation during the pandemic, read this report from CNN’s Chris Isidore and Allison Morrow.

Why can’t Biden or Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell just fix this? Isidore and Morrow write:

Many of the increases are the result of global market forces, such as higher energy prices or global supply chain problems, which limit the availability of parts needed to manufacture consumer goods. The limited supply of both new and used cars, mainly due to a lack of computer chips, has resulted in record high car prices – a significant factor pushing up overall prices.

Economy 101. While meat and some other prices have begun to fall, the current perception is that prices are rising, not falling. The government’s emergency measures, Isidore and Morrow write, put more money in the hands of consumers, creating more demand while supply chains were tightened by the pandemic.

“Strong demand plus limited supply is the Econ 101 definition of what leads to higher prices,” they write.

There is more.

Energy prices have risen compared to a year ago, and the costs to companies are being passed on to consumers.

Lack of labor leads to higher wages, which can drive prices up further.

Inflation is bad. But it has been worse. In a separate story, Isidore notes that despite how bad inflation looks now, it is still far below the crippling price increases of the 70s, leaving a one-time president from each party on its way.

Isidore writes: Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter both tried and failed to bring prices under control. Ford’s efforts included a “Whip Inflation Now” or WIN campaign, complete with shiny red buttons that did not help much with the prices. Inflation hit 12.2% at the end of 1974, shortly after he took office, almost double the annual increase up to November last year.

The nightmare scenario. CNN’s Paul La Monica writes that “stagflation” is now a real possibility. That is when there is a stagnant economy, but prices continue to rise.

A severe case of these economic side winds almost lowered Carter’s bid for re-election. In a stagflation scenario, there is even less the government can do. Public spending only creates more inflation. Cuts in public spending leave only the economy in a downturn.

For now, the economy is still growing with a healthy cut. And hopefully the Omicron-induced one the downturn will be short, the supply chain will continue to decline, and most people will not have to worry about groceries quite as much.

Pay attention to the Costco parking lots. CNN’s Maeve Reston supplied the Costco parking lot in Reno, Nevada, talking to people who are frustrated by the rise in gas prices – it costs $ 145 instead of $ 100 to fill up a pickup truck – and giving up things at the checkout.

“There is nothing more fundamental than fighting to feed a family,” Reston and Stephen Collinson write, announcing an election in which Democrats are almost expected to lose one or both majorities on Capitol Hill.

“Nevada voter testimony is reminiscent of the evidence in Virginia’s gubernatorial race when Republican Glenn Youngkin achieved a shock victory by actually listening to what voters said about education and the cost of groceries while Democrats opposed ex-President Trump’s extremism.” writes.

The irony is painful for the Democrats. They have been blocked by Republicans and by a few of their own in passing the more ambitious social elements of Biden’s agenda – such as universal pre-K, help with childcare costs and an improved child tax deduction – that could help free up money for groceries.

Republicans who have to win over economic discontent want none of these direct support.

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