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It’s never too early to start looking ahead to the next election and take the pulse of the electorate. Sure, we all complain about endless campaigns but a lot of us start gazing toward the future almost as soon as one election is on the books.
The biggest prizes in any election are the swing voters. Some believe them to be creatures of myth these days. Could there possibly be people who are undecided in a polarized environment such as the one we’re living in?
Apparently, they still exist.
And they’re a little nervous about what our alleged president is doing to the economy.
Though restaurants are bustling and signs of life are returning across a nearly post-pandemic United States, swing voters in Axios’ latest Engagious/Schlesinger focus group say they feel anxious about the current state of the economy.
Why it matters: Main Street is living a debate being fought in the ivory tower and among economists. Only 3 of 13 voters said they felt the U.S. economy is “booming.” The rest expressed fear of an impending crash following the injection of federal stimulus money during the pandemic.
- Nearly all the voters (11 of 13) also found believable an assertion made by many businesses: that people are not looking for jobs because they make more from claiming unemployment benefits.
Translation: many American voters are smart enough to understand the long-term consequences of all the Monopoly money being printed in an effort to make people be in love with and/or dependent upon the federal government. That’s not good news for the Democrats. The only thing they know how to do is buy voters’ affection.
The voters are, of course, right:
By the numbers: Some of voters’ inflation concerns are born out in Thursday’s data from the monthly Consumer Price Index, which showed that gasoline prices jumped 56.2% from last May.
Predictably, the White House is spinning like a Frisbee in mid-flight to assure the public that reality isn’t real:
The other side: The White House is arguing that most of May’s inflation, with the CPI up 5% from last year, appears much scarier than it really is because of the so-called “base effect.”
- The theory is that today’s number compares prices to what they were 12 months ago, when the country was in a pandemic lockdown and many things were cheaper.
- “Controlling for base effects by smoothing across the 15 months since February 2020, the rate of CPI inflation was 3%,” the Council of Economic Advisers tweeted.
- The White House was more interested in touting the lowest level of jobless claims during the pandemic, with 376,000 people filing for first-time unemployment benefits last week, according to the Labor Department.
Of course jobless claims are going to be down now that things are opening up after a year of everyone being out of work. The rest of the sales pitch they’re attempting to make here is incredible in its audacity: Yeah things are more expensive now that you’re going back to work, but hey, prices are relative to what they were a year ago when you couldn’t afford anything.
Nobody cares about economic mumbo-jumbo when they’re staring at the gas pump and seeing the numbers go up like they’re on steroids.
American economic policy is crafted by exceedingly well-paid Beltway bureaucrats who can’t for a moment imagine the needs and concerns of the average citizen. That’s why the White House thinks it’s comforting to tell Americans that “they are paying less in real terms for gas than they have on average over the last 15 years” after gas prices spiked to a seven-year high.
In the video linked in the article, the moderator says that the panel fears that the “American economy is artificially jacked up, like a first-grader who ate a bag of Skittles.”
That’s language that resonates with voters. Republicans need to start talking like that.
This may be a small sampling but the concerns about inflation are being talked about more and more lately, even in the mainstream media. The administration will no doubt keep ignoring the concerns and reassuring us rubes in the hinterlands that the Emperor is indeed wearing clothes.
I think we know which way the swing voters will swing after a prolonged dose of that kind of spin.