Right before the Fourth of July last year, the Biden White House launched a big PR campaign crowing about the successes of their aggressive spending policies. Thanks to Joe Biden, the official White House account tweeted, you would be saving an average of sixteen cents on the cost of your family’s annual Independence Day picnic. “Hot dog, the Biden economic plan is working,” the now-infamous tweet read. “And that’s something we can all relish.”
It was an utterly “cringe” tweet, as the kids on social media like to say. And somehow our High Tech Overlords thought that it was Donald Trump’s account that needed to be censored?
Far more cringey is the newly updated 2022 cost estimate (provided annually by the Farm Bureau) for that same picnic basket. Your grocery tab this year is up a whopping 17%, costing an extra $10 per family.
No word on a new tweet crowing about these numbers coming from the White House.
As it turns out, the laws of economics matter far more than a cringey PR campaign, and absolutely more than the macroeconomic fantasies of so-called Modern Monetary Theory favored by former Federal Reserve Chair and current Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. There are still only a few ways the federal government can spend money it doesn’t have. Having taxed and borrowed the American economy to the limit, the Biden Administration has been pressuring the Federal Reserve to print us to prosperity.
But it’s not going well, because when government expands the money supply, consumers, particularly working-class consumers grilling hamburgers and hot dogs this coming Monday, get screwed. Imagine what will happen to their family budgets with an increase in food prices and the other necessities of life at 17%, annualized.
While the nation’s politicians and the anointed experts at corporate news outlets plead ignorance, make no mistake: runaway inflation is not a random event. It is not a fluke of nature or an act of God. And it’s not Putin’s fault. It’s the predictable outcome of many years of bad policies from both Republicans and Democrats in Washington. In the last three years alone we’ve seen trillions in new spending, all while ordinary Americans were locked down and prevented from producing the goods and services those dollars are supposed to be able to buy.
It doesn’t take an Austrian economist to know that you can’t get something for nothing, but politicians still want to believe that they can create money out of thin air without consequence. Or maybe they just don’t care. There’s an election coming up, after all.
Speaking of the elections this November, at Free the People we believe that basic economics should be part of the political conversation going into the midterms. Why are prices skyrocketing? What policies are to blame? And how can we get back to fiscal sanity? At Free the People we also believe in translating complex economic theories into simple (but not simplistic) terms that are accessible to regular folks trying to cut through the noise of election year politics. In my new video, Let’s Talk About… Inflation, I break down the historical and economic causes for this devastating increase in prices in terms so simple that even Paul Krugman could understand it. It’s important that Americans know why their dollars aren’t stretching as far as they used to, who’s responsible, and what needs to happen to prevent these sorts of economic crises in the future.
Let’s Talk About… is taking on many of the key economic issues that matter most in the national conversation. It’s an ambitious goal, but we want to build some basic economic literacy into the thinking of the next generation. This series has already tackled problems like student debt and the minimum wage, and many other other aspects of economic policy that have been deliberately confused by political opportunists wanting to expand government power, typically at the expense of the same working-class Americans they claim to champion.
This project is one of the many video educational series we produce. If you are interested, you can watch all the episodes of Let’s Talk About… at freethepeople.org. Maybe it’s something to enjoy while grilling those 17%-more-expensive Modern Monetary Theory hot dogs this Independence Day?