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The GOP Inflation 'Goldmine'

In typical Republican fashion, the current run-up in inflation is being met with glee as some of their most cynical and irresponsible politicians are gloating that Americans' concerns about higher prices for food and gas are "a gold mine for us."

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Doesn't matter that this nation is finally emerging from the pandemic that not only has claimed 763,000 lives as of today, but has sent a wrecking ball into the economy. The fact that inflation has reached a 30-year high is considered good news for the GOP.

"You can see what's going to happen next. We're going to continue to have inflation, and then interest rates will go up," Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, the head of the Senate GOP's fundraising arm, told the Wall Street Journal. "This is a gold mine for us."

Republicans claim that the increase in inflation is being worsened by President Biden's $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which he just signed, and that the $1.8 trillion climate and social spending bill, which has zero GOP support in Congress, will only make it worse. They are using that argument to kill that legislation and deny Biden and Democrats a victory.

Meanwhile, the administration contends that the bill will actually reduce costs to families by expanding access to healthcare, childcare, and more.

The fact that supply chain issues are causing shortages and delays in delivery of some goods also has consumers anxious, especially as the holiday season approaches, and combined with higher prices, those likely are factors in Biden's declining poll numbers.

In mid-July, Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy tweeted, "Inflation is running rampant due in part to out-of-control spending from President Biden and Speaker Pelosi."

Then, the chair of the House Republican Conference, Rep. Elise Stefanik, said in a press conference that "inflation is skyrocketing because of Democrats reckless and wasteful spending" and "this rampant inflation is a result of Democrats reckless tax and spend policies."

Some Fact Checking

However, CNN did a little fact checking with respect to the GOP claims. Here's what they reported:

While some economists say the stimulus packages passed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic are having an impact on inflation, it's misleading to suggest that's the only explanation for the recent rise in inflation. Blaming it exclusively on Democratic spending proposals misrepresents what's actually been passed, and ignores the trillions of dollars in spending passed last year supported by Republicans and signed by then-President Donald Trump which economists say have also contributed to inflation.

"Inflationary pressures are arising from a variety of factors: supply chain issues, the reopening of the economy, over $2 trillion of excess household savings, accommodative monetary policy, President Trump's $900 billion December stimulus, and the President's $1.9 trillion stimulus," Michael Strain, Director of Economic Policy Studies for the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank, told CNN.

Further, Jason Furman, the Aetna Professor of the Practice of Economic Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, told CNN this:

"I think the biggest thing that's contributed to inflation is just restarting an economy," something other countries recovering from the pandemic have also experienced.

And Marek Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, told CNN that the jump in inflation has nothing to do with tax and spending policies, but is being temporarily driven by "a one-time adjustment in prices" following last spring's decreases when the pandemic erupted, as well as supply chain constraints that have limited production even as demand has increased.

"Businesses that slashed prices during the height of the pandemic, such as hotels, airlines, rental car companies, etc. are simply raising prices back to where they were pre-pandemic," Zandi said. adding that, "the supply-side of the economy has lagged demand as the pandemic continues to struggle with scrambled global supply chains."

"All of this" he predicted, "will be sorted out in coming months, supply will catch up with demand, and inflation will moderate."

Certainly, that would be good news for us all. But what will the Republicans say then?

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