July 2022 was the moment when the American mainstream media finally became completely unhinged, wholly untethered from reality, being exposed as nothing more than the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party.
The tipping point came over the media urging the American people not to believe what their lying eyes were seeing. US gross domestic product numbers showed a 0.9 percent drop in growth for the second quarter of 2022; as this was the second consecutive quarter of negative growth, this meant that America was in recession.
But the mainstream media was having none of this, as such a poor economic outcome would shift Democratic prospects in the upcoming midterm elections from dire to apocalyptic. So, instead, despite many earlier clips existing of the very same reporters saying throughout their careers that two quarters of negative growth amounted to “the R word,” they blandly echoed the out-of-touch White House in arguing that somehow, this time, the two negative quarters did not amount to a recession, but something else. Of course, this fooled no one, merely proving that the leftist mainstream media has given up any pretense to objective reporting. All of this would be funny if it were not so depressingly Orwellian.
But the media was far from done. Instead of dwelling on the reality of the US being in recession, it wanted us to focus on “Joe Biden’s big political comeback.” For, this past week, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the pivotal swing vote in the evenly divided Senate, finally agreed to vote with the rest of his colleagues in passing the White House’s Inflation Reduction Act, which is essentially a watered-down version of the earlier $1.75 trillion Build Back Better bill, a grab-bag of progressive programs.
The new bill aims to raise $739 billion in revenue, even as it adds spending of $433 billion over the next 10 years. The new revenue will come from a 15 percent corporate tax rate (not the greatest idea in a recession) and increasing the much-feared Internal Revenue Service funding by $80 billion in order to shake down the taxpayers for an estimated $124 billion. In turn, the White House will use the new money to pick winners and losers in terms of green industries — a corporatist boondoggle at which governments throughout the social democratic West have historically proven themselves to be absolutely awful at managing.
From the mainstream media’s cheerleading point of view, this amounts to a huge win for Biden’s floundering administration — a political comeback has begun and just in time. It never seems to dawn on the commentariat that taxing businesses is not a magic answer to raising more revenue; instead, they are retarding the very growth sources that the country presently desperately needs. Also, the big state/big spending model that the new bill is part of is precisely why the beast of inflation has loosed its chains and is now devouring the Western public’s standard of living across the board. If fiscal profligacy is the ultimate problem, more fiscal profligacy cannot be the answer.
And despite the mainstream media never being burdened by self-awareness (with New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, totally wrong about the rise of inflation in the first place, telling CNN, in true Marie Antionette style, that the people he is talking to are “doing pretty well” economically), the American people know better. The math is simply the math.
Beyond the recession, inflation hit a 40-year high of 9.1 percent in June, proving to be not as “transitory” as the White House had earlier assured us it would be. A June Newsmakers poll found that a dominant 76 percent of registered voters are very concerned by inflation’s rise, with 72 percent saying it amounts to the country’s largest problem (a whopping 62 points higher in concern than COVID-19).
Despite Biden changing his tune over inflation many times — including calling it transitory before blaming it on Vladimir Putin and then greedy energy companies — the American public has made up its mind. In the same Newsmakers poll, a plurality of 42 percent say Biden is the person most to blame for inflation getting out of hand. This tracks with a July RealClearPolitics poll that found that only 33 percent approve of Biden’s handling of the economy, while a decisive 64 percent disapprove.
It is little wonder that, as he is blamed for causing the biggest problem America is presently saddled with, Biden’s approval numbers — the single most important factor in the past generation in determining the outcome of midterm elections — are subterranean. The present RealClearPolitics average of polls finds the president with only a 40 percent rating, while 56 percent disapprove of his performance. Even worse, a July CNN poll found that a decisive 75 percent of Democratic-leaning voters want someone other than Biden to run in 2024, up dramatically from only 45 percent in February.
Ignore the present desperate cheerleading; wish fulfillment must not take the place of genuine, facts-driven political risk. Biden and the Democrats are set to lose the House by a hefty margin of about 30 seats. No amount of whistling past the graveyard can wish away the ghost of inflation.
This post was originally published in Arab News.