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Biden’s latest gaffe

“President Biden was caught on a hot mic Monday appearing to call Fox News reporter Peter Doocy a “stupid son of a bitch” in response to a question asked at the start of a White House event on lowering the prices of consumer goods,” AOL News reported on Monday, January 24, 2022 (read story here).

Doocy is Fox News’ White House correspondent. His questions often have a conservative flavor. But Fox is entitled to be in the press room, and reporters are entitled to ask challenging, even loaded, questions.

And when they do, politicians are supposed to keep their cool and answer with a straight face.

From the story, it appears Biden was already in a bad mood. The press conference was breaking up when a reporter shouted a question about potential U.S. troop deployments to eastern Europe in response to a threatened Russian invasion of Ukraine. Biden didn’t answer. Then Doocy shouted, “Do you think inflation is a political liability in the midterms?”

Yes.

“That’s a great [campaign] asset — more inflation,” a clearly irritated Biden muttered into a live microphone. “What a stupid question son of a bitch.” You could be forgiven for suspecting Doocy, the Fox News man, was baiting Biden instead of asking a question. It’s hard to tell. It’s borderline. It also looks like the second time in a week that someone from Fox News tried to provoke the president. (Doocy looks more like a barn owl to me.)

AOL News say, “At the conclusion of a White House press conference on Thursday, Fox News correspondent Jacqui Heinrich fired off a question about Biden’s response to the threat posed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine. ‘Why are you waiting on Putin to make the first move, sir?’ Heinrich asked. ‘What a stupid question,’ Biden said as the reporters were led from the room.”

Maybe Biden didn’t want to sound redundant by saying “What a stupid question” again, so he lined through question and substituted an allusion to his opinion of the reporter’s biological ancestry or his mother’s personality traits (it’s hard to tell which). Maybe Biden actually thinks Doocy’s mother is a Great Dane, German shepherd, beagle, pit bull, or whatever. I don’t know; you’d have to ask him.

By the way, it wasn’t a stupid question. It was a lie. Putin has already made his first moves, and Biden isn’t waiting around for his next ones; he’s working feverishly to organize an effective deterrent, and if that fails, a punitive response. The Fox reporter had her head up her ass on that one, or more likely, was trying to score cheap political points, in which case Biden would be justified in getting short with her.

There’s no question that a sharp bout of inflation, such as we’re experiencing now, is a political liability for a president and a party in power. It might not be his fault, and it may be beyond his control, but that’s irrelevant. Presidents and politicians are piñatas when things aren’t going well and citizens are upset. They might not like it, but it’s part of what they get paid for.

But if you want to discuss inflation, or if Doocy does, there’s a fairly good chance it will be getting under control by the November elections. The long-term trends in the U.S. economy are deflationary, and that will help pull it down. Respected economists on Wall Street and in universities ascribe about half the current inflation rate to short-term pandemic disruptions, and the other half to Federal Reserve monetary stimulus policies. The disruptions should ease, and the Fed is shifting course.

Inflation never materialized from the Fed’s stimulative policies, including low interest rates, in response to the 2007-2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession that followed. In fact, for most of the next dozen years, the Fed couldn’t push inflation up to 2%, the level it considered the “sweet spot” that maximizes growht and employment, despite its efforts to do so, because of the deflationary forces in the economy (an aging population, the impact of technology, and overhang of debt; for details, see article here).

Those deflationary forces haven’t abated. They’ve merely been temporarily overtaken by an inflationary push from supply chain shortages, a sudden surge of consumer spending after a prolonged period of spending restraint imposed by closed businesses, supply-demand imbalances caused by goods shortages, production shortfalls caused by worker shortages (and, now, workers out sick), shipping bottlenecks caused by port congestion, shipping container shortages, not even truck drivers, etc., and other disruptions rippling through the Covid-battered global economy.

Plus, Congress may have overshot with pandemic relief, which put more money in consumers’ hands than there are services and goods to spend it on, and the Fed overdid monetary stimulus, which together pumped more money into the economy than it could absorb. Biden isn’t entirely without fault, because he asked Congress for the last round of stimulus checks to individuals (but do you want to give it back?), and he didn’t lean on the Fed (although he could only lean). But don’t forget the Fed is run by Trump’s appointee, and Trump wanted even looser money than Biden does, for the selfish purpose of promoting his own re-election.

To Biden’s credit, he isn’t pushing the Fed for easier money in order to goose the economy before the coming elections. Recognizing the distress that inflation is causing to ordinary citizens, he’s backing the Fed’s monetary policy tightening aimed at bringing inflation down, something you rarely if ever see presidents do in election years — although this could turn out to be politically astute if has dropped enough by early fall that it isn’t a political issue anymore. Biden also has done work on easing supply chain disruptions, which fights the other cause of inflation.

Doocy’s shouted question was something like poking a stick at a bear. It had a taunting quality, and that’s why Biden reacted as he did. There’s some evidence that Biden doesn’t like Doocy (see image below). And it is a stupid question, because of course inflation is a political liability when you’re approaching an election.

Besides, how do we know Doocy’s mother isn’t a female dog, if he won’t release his birth certificate?

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