Joe Biden has a bad habit of getting things wrong: spectacularly, objectively, completely wrong. This isn’t about his ideological beliefs (which, of course, differ vastly from mine) or about the policies he chooses to pursue as a reflection of those beliefs. It’s also not about his tendency to say the wrong things, leading his staff to constantly be in damage control mode, scrambling to explain what their boss really meant that time. No, Joe Biden has a habit of very confidently making erroneous predictions or providing incorrect explanations for events. Not only does he do that, he often makes predictions or attempts to provide explanations for things that don’t require explanation, nor any prediction.

Let’s take a few moments to review some of his greatest hits, even focusing just on the time since was sworn into office – we’ll lay aside his campaign promises from 2020 and his multi-decade career in public office. Not long after he was sworn in – last summer, in fact – he said that we were closer than ever to declaring independence from a deadly virus. While he tempered that with caution at the time, it’s clear now – almost a year later – that taking any kind of victory lap was quite premature. At the time, a little more than 600,000 Americans had died of COVID-19; 11 months later that number is over a million. In that same speech, Biden pointed out that the country was enjoying record economic growth and job creation; a year later, the S&P 500 has slumped into a bear market.

On Afghanistan, too, Biden clearly got things wrong. Even laying aside the question of whether the withdrawal was the right policy, his administration confidently predicted that the Afghan government could retain power for 18 months after. Once that was proven incorrect, Biden later claimed that nobody predicted Afghanistan would fall so quickly; it turned out intelligence analysts had indeed predicted exactly that. So, when Joe Biden decides to take out his crystal ball, it might be a good idea to have a bucket – not just a grain – of salt handy.

Last summer, when inflation started to rear its ugly head, Biden declared it to be transitory – remember that? Inflation, he said, was simply the result of the reopening of the country after the pandemic, and it would be quickly abated as things returned to normal. He didn’t offer any particular plans from his administration to counter it; instead, he said we should trust the Federal Reserve to handle it. To be fair to Biden, there were plenty of economists who agreed with him at the time. It’s also not clear that inflation was caused solely by anything his administration had done, nor that he can do much to counter it.

When it started to become clear this past winter that inflation was here to stay, neither Democrats nor the Biden administration presented a plan to deal with it, instead flailing about for new excuses. Biden got that in February when Russia invaded Ukraine; he could at least start blaming Putin for it. That really doesn’t make much sense, though: While the war in Europe certainly has contributed to prices rising worldwide, the trend had already begun in the U.S. long before any Russian tanks crossed the border.

Now, Maine Democrats have found a new villain to blame: evil giant corporations. That nicely ties into both their liberal ideology and populist credentials, allowing them to attack the giant companies (especially oil and gas companies) as heartless profiteers. That’s why the Democratic leaders of the Legislature sent Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey a letter asking him start paying particular attention to high gas prices, and whether any companies are engaged in price gouging.

While there certainly may be some price gouging going on, that’s not the sole cause of inflation. That’s why it’s so hard for our elected officials to fight it: A whole host of factors, many beyond their control, are combining to cause it. If any politician from either party tells you they have a plan to fight inflation, keep that bucket of salt handy. Whatever they’re proposing will, at best, only have a marginal impact – and could have unintended consequences that are more damaging. Really, all politicians can do is hope the Federal Reserve is able to get inflation back under control while avoiding a recession. While that’s not a particularly optimistic message, it’s a realistic one, and true leaders in both parties should be willing to admit it.

Jim Fossel, a conservative activist from Gardiner, worked for Sen. Susan Collins. He can be contacted at:
[email protected]
Twitter: @jimfossel


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