Thanksgiving is past. We must give thanks for life. We must go on praying for our divided nation. We will be glancing at our investment sheets and bank accounts as, once again, millions of us prepare to celebrate the birth of our Savior after the four weeks of the penitential Advent season whcih, of course, always seems anything but penitential amid the orgiastic holiday hype.
But, of course, who of us does not dream of boarding that chimerical one-horse sleigh and “dashing through the snow” down some moon-lit trail of glistening tree-tops? Or, with Burl Ives, of having a “Holly, Jolly Christmas”.
Of course, we know we have to pay for it– which leads us, entirely against our wishes, to vexed thoughts of the economic situation awaiting us, this year especially, at the end of that visionary moon-lit trail….
It could be fairly said that Presidents have less control over the economy than we might believe, or that political partisans would have us believe. But even the liberal New York Times has conceded that the current Presidency is an exception to the rule. President Biden and Congressional Democrats have made specific policy decisions that have led to dangerously rising inflation.
The Administration “went big” with the stimulus passed by that Democrat-dominated Congress last March. It contained $1.9 trillion in pandemic relief on top of a separate $900 billion package that passed three months earlier. That sent an extra $2.8 trillion in federal money circulating through the economy while, according to the Times and what they call “mainstream analysts”, economic activity was trending only a few hundred billion dollars a year short of good health. This would seem to have sent too much money chasing too few goods — the standard definition of the causes of inflation. That would be too much government spending chasing too few goods. Perhaps, one might argue, that that spending served to replace lost income from people not working, voluntarily or otherwise. Perhaps, just perhaps, it went into savings.
This would seem to be, to an non-economically savvy mind such as mine, an economy feverishly teetering on the border between rampant inflation and the above-referenced economic “good health,” and due primarily to the actions of the President elected this time last year.
About the same time last spring that the Times and those analysts were taking the temperature of the national economy, President Biden offered up his so-called “American Jobs Plan” billed as an infrastructure initiative. Of course it was stuffed with things that did little for either creating jobs or building infrastructure. It reportedly raised corporate tax rates back above that of most developing countries, slowing wage growth, in all likelihood. Right?
Doesn’t sound great.
That was last spring. Now the Administration has put before us the so-called Build Back Better plan. Say those words slowly, ‘trippingly ‘or the tongue,’ as Nabokov might say, then, upon examining its “wish list” of social spending, repeat after me, keeping a straight face:
Then, consider something else that hasn’t gotten better and which was just reaching “critical mass” about the time starry-eyed President Joe and the Democrats were preparing to serve up this holiday pie. I refer to illegal immigration and the fact that, as of last March, illegal border crossings were setting records, including a record number of unaccompanied children (18,800 versus 11,000 in May, 2019, the previous high under President Trump.)
It continues to get worse. And it’s costing us.
The border we’re crossing as a nation careening down that moon-lit trail is the one separating reason from unreason. Or tragedy from farce.
But, buckle up. It’s nearly Christmastime. We’ll climb aboard our sleighs and go “laughing all the way.”