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The Dem’s Inflation-Fighting Plan Is A Cruel Joke

‘Today the Democratic House takes a strong step to bring down crucial kitchen table costs of the pump and grocery store and across the board.”

That’s the transcript of what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on the House floor before all but five of her fellow Democrats voted for the “Lower Food and Fuel Costs Act” last week.

Pelosi’s garbled syntax aside, the only thing this bill would lower is the public’s trust in anything Democrats say these days. Despite its title, this bill would expand government but do nothing – repeat, nothing – to lower prices today, tomorrow, or any time in the future.

Among the Democrats’ brilliant inflation-fighting ideas is to create a new meat police to harass the meat industry. Another is to expand a subsidy program for farmers that has already proved ineffective in keeping food prices from skyrocketing. Finally, it would expand the use of ethanol – a plan that even President Joe Biden admits will fail to lower fuel prices.

Biden loves to blame high food prices on the supposed lack of competition among meat packers. This is a favorite Democratic tactic whenever the price of something goes up. If oil prices soar, they accuse Big Oil of conspiring to rip off consumers. Now it’s Big Meat.

Never mind that there’s no evidence of any industry collusion on prices. If they were able to collude, why wait until now? Up until the COVID fiascos, beef prices had tracked overall inflation for decades.

There’s the fact that creating a new “special investigator,” with sweeping authority to sue the industry for alleged anti-competitive behavior without any evidence, is hardly going to affect prices. If anything, it will raise costs by imposing the heavy foot of government on what is today a functioning market.

The bill also claims to lower food costs by encouraging farmers to adopt “precision farming” techniques that would lower their reliance on fertilizer, the cost of which has also spiked.

Here’s how Democrats on the House Agriculture Committee describe this: “Expanding access to precision agriculture has the potential to reduce fertilizer use and lower costs while also providing resource benefits including clean water and reduced carbon use. It is also a priority to help deal with the water shortages facing growers in much of the Western United States.”

But this program has been around for 26 years and Washington has dumped more than $25 billion into these subsidies. What effect has all this largesse had on food price inflation today? Go to your nearby grocery store for the answer.

The idea that expanding this program slightly will miraculously bring down food prices in the near future, let alone anytime in the future, is ludicrous. Besides, farmers have a built-in incentive to improve the efficiency of their operations without needing government loan programs.

So, what about plans to expand ethanol use? The Democrats say that letting retailers sell so-called E-15 gas year-round will cut pump prices because ethanol is cheaper per gallon than conventional gasoline. (The reason E-15 – which is comprised of 15% ethanol instead of 10% – isn’t sold in the summer is that it aggravates smog.)

But an analysis by McKinsey concluded that this would have a “negligible impact,” mainly because E-15 is sold at fewer than 2% of gas stations around the country, accounts for less than 1% of gasoline sold, and letting it be used year-round would result in a tiny 0.11% increase in annual ethanol production because E-15 requires specialized equipment. Not to mention the fact that most consumers would avoid it for fear of wrecking their car engines.

Democrats know this is the case, which is why the best justification they can come up with is that letting E-15 be sold year-round would “encourage and incentivize businesses that may have been reluctant to expand capital for biofuel infrastructure.” So, encouraging businesses to spend more will dampen inflation? Come again?

Biden doesn’t believe this will make any difference either. The Washington Post reported recently that while talking up E-15 as a money saver in public, “privately, Biden dismissed the policy as ineffective” and “worried … that it exaggerated ethanol’s ability to cut gas prices and could harm his climate goals.”

There’s also the inconvenient truth that encouraging farmers to turn more corn into fuel will leave less corn for food, pushing up grocery prices. So even if consumers did see gasoline prices fall, they’d pay for it in higher food prices

The Democrats’ bill does have one thing in its favor. It makes it clear that the only way to change the direction of economic policy coming out of Washington is to change the leadership in Washington.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.

13 comments

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  • If we would have all politicians pay for their fuel out of pocket instead of giving them a free ride, perhaps they would then see where the problem is. Democrats and liberals just don’t seem to comprehend that when Biden shut down our fuel industry on dayb one of his unfortunate presidency, the ripple effect would drive up the cost of everything and propell us to the edge of WWIII. All so the “big Guy” and doper/pervert Hunter could make a fast buck at our nation’s expense and security. I don’t want them executd. I want them in adjacent cells behind bars for the rest of their lives and they have to work at hard labor or they don’t get to eat.

  • Don’t call it the Dems’ “inflation fighting plan.” Even from the plan’s inception there was absolutely no intention for it to fight inflation in any way. FJB wants to ruin us and the dollar and its working.

  • Many years ago I began to view everything Democrats do or say as simply politically expedient. It seemed to explain what they did better than any rationale they would offer. It has remained a good predictor of their policies for 60 years.

  • Incompetent leaders in are incharge of our country’s economics leading us down to third world ruin.

  • China says that the Coronavirus came from a stupid old bat. Nasty Pelosi denies having anything to do with it.

  • Government price controls have always ended up causing more damage long term. This is no solution. It will bankrupt producers.

  • Looks like my Representative (Sean Casten) abstained, one of his better votes. Further proof that our Hose of Representatives is mostly ignorant of or illiterate about economics. More “I did something” no matter how ludicrous or dunderhead.

  • The Biden Pain Train 2022
    Deception daily is the norm
    Misery will go up and up
    Excuses will get more absurd
    More ugly social engineering
    The bold lies get even bolder
    Flipping off media continues
    Blameshifting is wearing thin
    Active plans to steal congress
    Same fuzzy talk and circle back
    The recession feels here now
    Rigged media answers increase
    Crime & welfare up up
    Serious investigations ahead
    Russia cannot hide JB economy
    Marxists style tactics continue
    Illegal alien national rot endless
    Voters still treated as 7 yrs old
    Dems retire by the dozens 2022
    Neither JB or Giggles run again

  • So the brain dead Pelosi thinks passing a bill telling Farmers how to farm. Is she going to tell the tire manufactures to make a “better” cost saving new “wheel”? For those who dont know. E15 fuel is called “Flex” fuel. Some cars were manufactured with flex fuel systems so too use the gas. Cars without a system will risk damaging their cars Motor using E15!!!

  • “(The reason E-15 – which is comprised of 15% ethanol instead of 10% – isn’t sold in the summer is that it aggravates smog.)”

    If 15% aggravates smog, doesn’t that strongly imply that any amount of ethanol results in worse pollution than pure gasoline?

    Why, yes it does.

  • Are Democrats able to come up with ANY ideas – any at all – that actually contain any substance; that are anything besides half smoke and mirrors and half wishful thinking?

    Sorry; rhetorical.

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