New poll shows it’s the greedflation, stupid

Even as post-pandemic inflation continues to fall, many Americans still feel the sting of high prices for basic goods, such as groceries. And Republicans are desperate to blame voter unease on President Joe Biden, particularly as consumer confidence improves and people feel increasingly bullish about their personal finances. 

But new polling on inflation suggests Democrats have an opening to reframe the issue as a discussion about corporate greed—an issue Democrats can turn to their advantage.

In a newly released survey, the progressive consortium Navigator Research found that 85% of voters now view corporate greed as a cause of inflation, with 59% calling it a "major" factor—a 15-percentage-point increase since January 2022. 

"The fact that so many Americans now say that corporate greed is a root cause of inflation is an important turning point," Maryann Cousens, polling and analytics associate for Navigator Research, told Daily Kos.

The feeling among Americans has become so pervasive that just added the term "greedflation" to its entries, describing it as a rise in prices "caused by corporate executives or boards of directors, property owners, etc., solely to increase profits that are already healthy or excessive."

It's not that voter concerns about inflation are new; it's that voters’ sense that corporations are profiting at the expense of average Americans by spiking prices is at an all-time high in Navigator's polling. 

In fact, voters’ belief that corporate greed is a "major" driver of inflation has jumped 17 points in the past two years among both independents (from 45% to 62%) and Democrats (55% to 72%).

Cousens told Daily Kos that voters are also clamoring for Congress to take action on the issue. Navigator's 2022 midterm survey showed that Congress addressing inflation was "the top priority for midterm voters by a large margin," according to Cousens. 

And while Republicans sought to tag government spending as the biggest cause of inflation in the midterm, some Democrats successfully pointed to corporate greed as the main culprit for soaring prices.

One of them was Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, who narrowly won her hard-fought 2022 reelection bid in the swing state, where gas prices had spiked to $5.67 per gallon amid the campaign.

According to reporting from The Nevada Independent, Cortez Masto staffers said she frequently mentioned pocketbook issues, like the prices of prescription drugs, housing, and gasoline. 

“[She would] say, ‘yeah, I don't like the gas prices either,’ instead of just trying to sweep it under the rug,” Frank Hawk, president of the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters, told the Independent's Gabby Birenbaum. “And then [she] really pointed out what's a little more true, [which] is that you have oil companies and pharmaceutical companies and Big Corporate America making record profits on a daily basis, and we as the middle class are struggling to fill our gas tanks. And that should make us angry. And I think her passion came through, along with her sincerity.”

In other words, there's precedent for Democratic lawmakers to successfully empathize with voters and highlight their work to ease the cost of living. For example, President Biden's Inflation Reduction Act, which cleared Congress on a party-line vote, has forced a $35 monthly cap on insulin for Medicare beneficiaries. And that price is quickly becoming available to a much wider swath of Americans as drug companies cap their own price or offer savings programs.  

Democrats have plenty to use to contrast themselves with Republicans. The Inflation Reduction Act also empowers Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, and Biden has put forward practical steps to raise taxes on billionaires. In the meantime, Donald Trump is vowing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which, if successful, could strip health insurance from tens of millions of Americans. Trump is also floating the implementation of 10% tariffs on nearly all imports to the U.S, which would functionally raise taxes for U.S. consumers by more than $300 billion a year, according to the conservative Tax Foundation think tank.

Last month, Navigator released polling of likely general election voters in 61 battleground districts, showing that congressional Republicans still hold a 10-point trust advantage on the issue of "fighting inflation." However, once Navigator actually named the lawmakers, Democratic legislators in those districts edged out Republican lawmakers. Forty-five percent of voters said they trust their Democratic representative "a lot" or "some" to fight inflation, while 42% said the same of their GOP representative.   

Navigator's most recent poll found the most persuasive messages on price increases focus on corporate profits and CEO salaries being “at an all-time high, outpacing inflation” while corporations are “raising prices for families and small businesses.” It's a message the White House and Democrats should be pushing proactively, particularly given the fact that the economy is overall on much stronger footing than it was during the 2022 midterms. 

The country’s economic upswing, coupled with Americans increasing belief in greedflation, suggests voters are ripe for an argument that the high price of consumer goods is a product of corporate greed, not economic missteps. And Democrats have a plan for that.

Republicans demanded border security, worked on a compromise deal with Democrats, and now want to blow the whole thing up. Biden is promising to remind Americans every day that the Republican Party is at fault for the lack of solutions to the problems they claim are most important.

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Watch Fox gush over Biden’s economy

News that the U.S. economy grew at a brisk 3.3% annual pace since October wasn't just good: It was great in a lot of ways.

On average, the economy grew a robust 2.5% in 2023—a year in which analysts practically tried to speak a recession into reality. No such luck. In fact, from the fourth quarter of 2022 to the fourth quarter of 2023, the economy grew 3.1%.

The combination of increasing consumption, low unemployment, and falling inflation even had a Fox Business reporter gushing over President Joe Biden's economy.

"It's a sweet spot," remarked Fox Business' Lauren Simonetti, calling consumption "formidable" over the holidays. "We're seeing an economy that is proving resilient—growing as inflation is moderating. That's why I'm calling this the sweet spot, right? Enough growth to cool inflation."

Thank you Dark Brandon!

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 25, 2024

The New York Times' Paul Krugman likewise dubbed it the "Goldilocks economy," neither too hot nor too cold. And Krugman predicts the country's inflationary woes are now over.

In other words, it continues to look as though the Biden administration is overseeing a "soft landing" for the economy—one that supposedly couldn't be achieved.

Indeed, the University of Michigan's survey of consumer sentiment surged to a reading of 78.8 in January, its highest level since July 2021 and a 21.4% increase from a year ago, according to CNBC. A big driver of that increase stems from consumers’ agreement with Krugman that inflation "has turned the corner," as survey director Joanne Hsu put it.

All of this good news is going to drive an already seething Donald Trump absolutely mad—particularly Fox Business analysts swooning over Biden's economy. The same Fox analyst also promised to scour the report "to see if there are signs that maybe the economy doesn't feel as, or isn't as resilient as it might seem."

Shorter Fox-speak: Stay tuned, Trump. We'll invent bad news one way or another!

For anyone who hasn't noticed, Trump is already getting increasingly erratic on his quest to fabricate bad news for Biden:

  • He's livid over his Republican rival Nikki Haley refusing to drop out of the GOP primary after New Hampshire.

  • He’s strong-arming the Republican National Committee into declaring him the nominee after a grand total of two state contests.

  • He's asking Senate Republicans to torpedo a potential border deal with the White House so he can spend the rest of year fear-mongering over a supposed "invasion" of immigrants spearheaded by Biden.

  • He's pushing House Republicans to impeach Biden so he can rail about Biden's supposed corruption.

  • He's rooting for an economic "crash," hopefully sometime very soon.

  • He's promising "bedlam" in the streets of America if he loses the election (a chaos candidate promising chaos if The People vote against chaos).

  • And he's agitating for full immunity from absolutely any action—including murder—he takes as president.

It's January, folks, and Trump is already coming off the rails despite the fact that he's basically cruising to the Republican nomination.

It's a palpable show of desperation sprung from a place of weakness. Trump knows New Hampshire and Iowa both exposed serious cracks in his general election voting coalition. The turnout and makeup of the electorate in both states suggests he isn't expanding the universe of Republican voters. He's simply culling the party down to a smaller, harder-right faction of the electorate.

In short, Trump's not adding, he's subtracting. And if he's going to ride that smaller slice of the electorate to victory, he's going to need to trash the country in every way possible in order to depress turnout for Biden.

That’s all fine by Trump because the main impetus of his every move is the sheer terror of spending his last living years in a jail cell. If he has to single-handedly unravel the country on his quest for freedom, so be it.

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In new display of incompetence, Trump promises a Biden depression on the Dow’s best day ever

As inflation continues to ebb and we begin to see truly gaudy economic numbers (a 3.7% unemployment rate, an almost unheard of 5.2% GDP growth rate, and a surging stock market!), President Joe Biden has a great story to tell. Trump also has a story to tell, but it’s not based on economic metrics so much as the pornographic Plinko game in his head. 

When America expectorated Donald Trump from its quavering corpus in November 2020, he left office as the worst jobs president since the Great Depression. So when he talks about President Joe Biden potentially leading us into a new depression, he kind of—in a weird way—knows what he’s talking about.

And so on Wednesday, the same day the Dow reached an all-time high, Trump warned Iowa rallygoers that Biden’s economic stewardship will soon plunge us into another Great Depression. And it's possible that Trump knows something economists don’t and we’ll soon be standing in bread lines and scooping up Trump NFTs at bargain-basement prices. It’s also possible Matt Gaetz will win the Nobel Prize for beach. 

In other words, don’t hold your breath.

RELATED STORY: Even Fox News is having trouble trashing Biden's economy


Trump says if he’s not elected we’ll have a depression

— Acyn (@Acyn) December 14, 2023

But as Rolling Stone reports:

Trump, who accomplished the feat of becoming the first president since Herbert Hoover during the Great Depression to leave the country with fewer jobs by the end of his one-term presidency, claimed that the “Biden administration is running on the fumes of the great success of the Trump Administration.” He added, addressing his supporters: “Without us this thing would have crashed to levels never seen before, and if we’re not elected we’ll have a depression the likes of which I don’t believe anybody has ever seen… maybe 1929?”

While Trump’s economic legacy has been hotly debated, under his administration the unemployment rate surged to 14.7 percent in April [2020] and by the time he left office the following January, the rate had receded to 6.3 percent. Many economists have pointed to the former president’s disastrous leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic as having exacerbated the country’s economic downturn at the time.

By now, we should all be keenly aware that Trump just says stuff. Whether it’s true or not hardly concerns him. For instance, anyone who criticizes him—even a little—is automatically the worst person ever. Just ask super-overrated 21-time Oscar nominee—and three-time winner—Meryl Streep

Case in point: In 2020, Trump predicted Biden would crash the economy if he won. (Narrator: He didn’t.)

Now that the Dow Jones just broke 37,000 for the first time in HISTORY, let's remember what Trump predicted would happen to the stock market if Biden were elected.

— MeidasTouch (@MeidasTouch) December 13, 2023

But Trump’s latest statement is particularly risible given the current state of our economy, which has shown steady growth and improvement—despite those unavoidable spikes in inflation—since Biden fumigated the Oval Office nearly three years ago.

Furthermore? If we took Trump’s timeless advice, the House would definitely not be launching an impeachment inquiry into Biden for the high crime of being a Democrat in the White House. Consider this 2019 tweet (there’s always a tweet):

You mean the Stock Market hit an all-time record high today and they’re actually talking impeachment!? Will I ever be given credit for anything by the Fake News Media or Radical Liberal Dems? NO COLLUSION!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2019

Of course, many Americans are only too happy to excuse Pervert Hoover’s awful economic legacy in light of the pandemic-related disruptions we experienced, which would have almost certainly challenged anyone in office at the time. Which is fair. It’s also fair to ask how much the Trump administration’s botched COVID-19 response led to our Great Depression-like economic numbers.

What’s clearly unfair, though, is blaming Biden for post-pandemic-related inflation while giving Trump a pass for the truly awful economy he left behind—especially since Biden has handled post-COVID price surges better than almost every other wealthy countries’ leaders

RELATED STORY: 'I would vote for Biden even if he was dead': PA Republican weighs in on possible Trump nomination

Meanwhile, in case you still doubt that Trump just regurgitates whatever barmy bits bedevil his brain from one moment to the next, he’s also still obsessed with the fact that he’s inferior to former President Barack Obama in every way. So much so that he feels the need to say outrageously untrue things in order to soothe his creaky ego.

At the same Iowa rally, Trump cited the professional—and very weird—opinion of Texas Rep. Ronny Jackson, a former White House doctor, to claim he’s in better physical shape than Obama. Shocker: He couched this assertion in a signature “sir” story.

The Guardian:

“He was Obama’s doctor, too, by the way,” the ex-real estate tycoon reminded the crowd at the Hyatt Hotel.

“I said, ‘Who’s healthier?’ He said, ‘Sir, there’s no contest.’ I won’t tell you the answer, but you know the answer, okay? It was me.”

He went even further, quoting his old physician as saying: “‘If he didn’t eat junk food, he’d live to 200 years old.’ That’s my kind of a doctor.”

On whether he believed his advanced years could become an issue – as he has repeatedly insisted is the case for 81-year-old Mr Biden – Mr Trump said: “I’ll be the first to know. But I feel that right now I’m sharper than I was 20 years ago, and I don’t know why.

That’s a mystery for the ages. And is it really possible he can spot the difference between a lion and a rhinoceros even faster than he could 20 years ago? Because that would be scary. Before you know it, he’ll be Bradley Cooper in “Limitless.” Or maybe the lab mouse in “Flowers for Algernon.

Come to think of it, that seems slightly more on-brand.

RELATED STORY: Biden's off-camera zingers give a glimpse at attacks on Trump to come

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Check out Aldous J. Pennyfarthing’s four-volume Trump-trashing compendium, including the finale, Goodbye, Asshat: 101 Farewell Letters to Donald Trump, at this link. Or, if you prefer a test drive, you can download the epilogue to Goodbye, Asshat for the low, low price of FREE.

The audacity of cope: Good news for the country means sad Fox News personalities

Friday wrapped up a week of good news for America. The Department of Labor reported that 199,000 jobs were added in November, and the unemployment rate fell to 3.7%. And unfortunately for Republican messaging, a steep recession has not materialized.

Fox Business’ Maria Bartiromo, who promoted dire predictions of a recession, is now managing that right-wing cope. “You gotta look at this jobs report as a big positive,” she admitted. “We’ve got more jobs created than expected.”

In other good (albeit frustrating) news, the Republican Party has yet to provide any meaningful evidence of financial wrongdoing on the part of President Joe Biden, even as the GOP presses forward on an impeachment inquiry. So while they all might like to believe that the current Democratic president of the United States is even one-eighth as corrupt a person as the disgraced former guy, he isn’t. Here’s “lousy reporter” Peter Doocy begrudgingly putting things into perspective for the audience.

The House Oversight Committee has been at this for years, and they have so far not been able to provide any concrete evidence that Joe Biden personally profited from his son Hunter's overseas business, but they are going to try again with this impeachment inquiry that is set to start next week.

The holidays are here. No matter what you and your loved ones celebrate, the gift of right-wing cope always warms the heart.

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Markos and Kerry give their thoughts on what the country is facing in 2024. The Republican Party is running on losing issues like abortion and repealing the ACA—with no explanation of what they plan on replacing it with. Trump has a lot of criming to atone for, and the Republican platform remains set on destroying democracy.

When good news about the economy triggers a bad news media vibe

The media spent the bulk of last year assuring Americans a recession was imminent. But not only has that much-ballyhooed recession failed to materialize, news also broke this week that the U.S. economy grew 5.2% in the third quarter—the fastest pace of growth in almost two years.

Good news! The notably robust growth, an upward revision from a previous government estimate of 4.9%, looks pretty sick (“cool” in kid slang) in this U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis bar graph comparing quarterly reports over the last year.

But wait, it gets better! The White House touted even more good news on Thursday:

  • Annual inflation fell to its lowest level in more than two-and-a-half years.

  • Monthly inflation was zero (zip, nada, nothing).

  • Gas prices have fallen by $1.77 since they peaked after Russia invaded Ukraine in early 2022.

  • Prices for eggs and milk are down over the past year.

To put a finer point on inflation easing: Personal consumption expenditures fell to 3% year over year in October—the lowest PCE inflation rate since March 2021. In graph form, it looks like inflation ascended a mighty hilltop over the past two years, peaking last summer, and nearly returning to the flatlands  in October.

More good news on the economy today: Annual inflation fell to its lowest level since March 2021 and monthly inflation was zero. President Biden will not stop fighting to lower costs for hardworking families.

— Jeff Zients (@WHCOS) November 30, 2023

Don't worry, though, the dogged media is determined to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, come hell or high water.

Following news that consumer spending rose again in October, University of Michigan economics professor Justin Wolfers posed a challenge to reporters and analysts.

"There's been about a million think pieces asking 'why are people so miserable about the economy,'" Wolfers tweeted Thursday, "but I'm yet to see one grapple with the fact that folks are spending as if they're actually pretty optimistic about their economic futures."

There's been about a million think pieces asking "why are people so miserable about the economy," but I'm yet to see one grapple with the fact that folks are spending as if they're actually pretty optimistic about their economic futures.

— Justin Wolfers (@JustinWolfers) November 30, 2023

Turns out Wolfers was a day too late. CNBC had already met the challenge with a piece titled "Americans are 'doom spending' — here's why that's a problem.”

Hear that? Dooooooooooom spending! It's over, folks—pull up the covers, close your eyes, and retreat back to more comforting times, like when you were wiping down all your groceries to ensure they were plague-free.

The fanciful phrase "doom spending" appears to have been dreamed up by the credit monitoring service Credit Karma, and then mass distributed by CNBC:

Nearly all Americans, 96%, are concerned about the current state of the economy, according to a recent report by Intuit Credit Karma.

Still, more than a quarter are “doom spending,” or spending money despite economic and geopolitical concerns, the report found. ...

“Much like doom scrolling, we’re seeing people mindlessly shop to soothe concerns about the economy and foreign affairs, which could take a toll on their financial wellbeing,” Courtney Alev, Credit Karma’s consumer financial advocate, told CNBC.

Sorry, Wolfers—asked and answered. People are apparently so miserable, they are raining down money on the economy. It's dreadful stuff.

Not to be outdone, the Gray Lady's flagship podcast, ”The Daily,” dropped a 22-minute episode Thursday titled "The Bad Vibes Around a Good Economy." Sure, we may have escaped the long-promised recession on the policy side, but the whole economic vibe is just a downer right now, folks. Case in point: increased spending.

Thank goodness the media is here to tell us why we can’t have nice things—just in time for the holidays.

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There has been a ton of coverage in recent weeks over a streak of poor 2024 polling for Democrats and Target Smart’s Tom Bonier joins us to help us separate the wheat from the chaff. We talk about what to take from these polls and how to balance them against the much more positive election results we’ve seen this year. We also discuss how early voting data continues to evolve and how Sen. Sherrod Brown’s campaign will use Ohio’s recent abortion and marijuana referendums to find new persuadable voters next year.

Republican favorability ratings in battleground districts sink even lower

As House Republicans weigh launching an impeachment proceeding against President Joe Biden for who the hell knows what, new polling shows nearly 7 in 10 voters (68%) in battleground congressional districts across the country believe House Republicans have prioritized “the wrong things," while just 20% say they have prioritized the right things.

The findings come from a Navigator Research survey of 61 battleground districts in late October. And the poll suggests that sentiment is shared at roughly the same rate among voters represented by Democratic and Republican incumbents alike.

Voters' assessments of House Republican priorities have also plummeted since July, when Republicans were just 16 percentage points underwater on the question versus being 48 points underwater now—a net shift of -32 points in only three months.

Republican incumbents in Biden-won districts also have a net -10 favorability rating among their constituents (34% favorable, 44% unfavorable).

But wait, there's more: Republican incumbents in Trump-won districts are also underwater in terms of both favorability (-4 points on net, 41% favorable to 45% unfavorable) and job approval (-6 points, 37% favorable to 43% unfavorable).

Navigator says these are House Republicans' lowest ratings since the group's first battleground survey in April.

By contrast, throughout Navigator’s battleground series this year, Democratic incumbents have remained above water and improved over time. In this latest survey, Democratic incumbents are 9 points above water on favorability (42% to 33%) and 8 points above water on job approval (40% to 32%).

Survey responses continued to highlight economic anxiety among voters across the districts, with a 48% plurality rating the economy as "poor," and 54% expressing concern over being able to set aside money for savings. Inflation and the cost of goods remain key concerns.

When taking stock of their personal financial situation, however, 54% rated it positively, with 7% saying "excellent" and 47% saying "good."

But whatever their economic outlook, battleground voters overwhelmingly believe Republicans have not prioritized the economy, with 70% saying they haven't focused on economic issues, compared with just 17% who say they have.

With some 70% of battleground voters agreeing Republicans have prioritized “the wrong things" and haven't focused enough on economic issues, Republicans have the perfect fix: impeachment.

What’s that old phrase, again? It's the impeachment, stupid. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

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Frustration emerges among GOP spending ‘cardinals’ as conservatives push for cuts

The House Republicans who craft the conference’s government funding bills are showing signs of frustration as hard-line conservatives pressure leadership for further cuts to spending that some worry could be too aggressive.

Some of the 12 Appropriations subcommittee chairs — the so-called cardinals — told reporters that they are struggling to see where those additional cuts could come from, as September's shutdown deadline looms.

“I just don't see the wisdom in trying to further cut to strengthen our hand. I don't know how that strengthens our hand,” Rep. Steve Womack (R-Ark.), a House Appropriations subcommittee chairman, said of conservatives’ push to further cut the already-scaled-back spending bills.

“I do think it puts some of our members in a very difficult spot, particularly those in tough districts, because they're going to be taking some votes that become problematic,” he added.

The House left Washington for a long summer recess Thursday after being forced to punt a bill to fund agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. 

Conservatives are dug in on their demand for steeper spending cuts, to the chagrin of moderates who are wary of slashing funding even more. The chamber has passed just one appropriations bill, funding military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The internal divisions are gripping the party as time is running out: The House has just 12 days in September to move the remaining 11 appropriations measures and hash out their disagreements with the Senate, which is marking up its spending bills at higher levels, setting the scene for a hectic fall that could bring the U.S. to the brink of a shutdown.

Those dynamics are putting GOP appropriators in a bind, leaving them searching for ways to appease conservative requests without gutting their spending bills.

“We’ve done a lot of cuts, a lot of cuts,” House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-Texas) told The Hill this week. “And so if it’s cuts just for cut's sake, I don’t agree with it. But if it’s something that we can do without, that’s fine.”

 ‘Not a lot of wiggle room left’

Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas)

Republican appropriators in the House announced earlier this year that they would mark up their bills for fiscal 2024 at fiscal 2022 levels, as leaders sought to placate conservatives who thought the debt ceiling deal struck by President Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) earlier this year didn’t do enough to curb spending. 

The Senate is crafting its bills more in line with the budget caps agreed to in the deal, but House Republicans are already fuming about a bipartisan deal in the upper chamber that would allow for more than $13 billion in additional emergency spending on top of those levels.

House GOP negotiators also said they would pursue clawing back more than $100 billion in old funding that was allocated for Democratic priorities without GOP support in the previous Congress. 

While that move drew support from hard-line conservatives, the right flank was far from pleased when it heard appropriators planned to repurpose that old funding — known as rescissions — to plus-up the spending bills.

In a letter to McCarthy earlier this month, a group of hard-line conservatives called for all 12 appropriations bills to be in line with fiscal 2022 spending levels “without the use of reallocated rescissions to increase discretionary spending above that top-line.”

Otherwise, the 21 lawmakers threatened, they would vote against the measures. But that request could prove difficult for GOP appropriators to fulfill.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.), chairman of the panel that proposes funding for the Department of State and foreign operations, said that appropriators are already “dramatically reducing spending,” suggesting that there are not too many remaining areas to trim from.

“My bill is below the 2016 levels,” he said, later adding, “When you’re below the 2016 level — and we're still confronting China — I think there's not a lot of wiggle room left.”

“It’s a challenge, but I think we’ll get through it. I really do,” he added. 

Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), who heads the subcommittee that oversees funding for the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Interior, scoffed at the idea of even steeper cuts to his bill.

“Then you just drop it on the floor and stomp on it. What else do you do with it?” he told reporters. “You can’t make logical cuts in there.”

Republicans appropriators are voicing optimism that the conference will be able to sort out its differences on spending, but some also hope their levels will stick — even though they include rescissions.

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) — whose panel handles funding for the Department of Energy, which is proposing offsetting billions of dollars in spending with clawbacks — said it would be “extremely difficult” to craft his bill without the rescinded funds.

“And given our priorities in my bill, national defense with the nuclear weapons portfolio, nuclear cleanup, Army Corps including, all the community-directed fundings, I feel good about my bill, and I hope my numbers hold,” he said.

“Because it's gonna have to be in negotiations with the Senate and the White House as well,” he added. 

Womack — whose subcommittee crafts funding for the IRS and the Treasury Department — said he doesn’t think “moving the goalposts on these numbers is helpful in strengthening our ability to negotiate with the Senate.”

August preparations for a busy September

Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas)

Frustrations among appropriators are bubbling up as Congress inches closer to the fall, when lawmakers are facing a Sept. 30 deadline to approve funding or risk a government shutdown.

With time running out, some House lawmakers say conversations may continue over the long August recess to try to hash out remaining differences.

“We'll have to see,” Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) said when asked about potential plans for talks between leaders and House Freedom Caucus members over the break. “I mean, we got a lot of work to do.” 

“I think a lot of work [has] got to be done behind the scenes,” he said. “If not, you know, here — You gotta beg the question about whether we should be gone for six weeks. We should be getting our job done.”

Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) echoed that sentiment, saying “I would think so” when asked if lawmakers will have conversations over the break.

Adding to the August workload, House Majority Leader Steve Scalise (R-La.) suggested earlier this week that bicameral negotiations could take place over the weeks-long recess as lawmakers stare down the shutdown deadline.

Not all Republicans, however, are viewing a shutdown as a risk.

During a House Freedom Caucus press conference this week, Good said “we should not fear a government shutdown,” claiming that “most of what we do up here is bad anyway; most of what we do up here hurts the American people.”

But that perspective does not jive with the view of McCarthy, who declared Thursday: “I don’t want the government to shut down.”

Multiple Republicans are ultimately expecting Congress to eventually pass what's known as a continuing resolution (CR), or a measure that temporarily allows the government to be funded at the previous fiscal year’s levels, to prevent a lapse at the end of September. 

But they also understand the task could be difficult in the GOP-led chamber, where Republicans aren’t happy about the idea of continuing funding at the current levels — which were last set when Democrats held control of Congress.

“I think there's a very good chance that we'll see a CR, but I know there's a lot of work to get a CR done,” Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), another appropriator, said Thursday, noting there are “a lot of members that don't want CRs that are tired of them.” 

But Aderholt suggested a CR could notch sufficient GOP backing if there’s a larger plan in sight that the party can support. 

“The Speaker’s been very good about having a plan,” he said, adding, “I think that's what he's good at, and I'm optimistic that he can come up with something.”

Emily Brooks contributed.

Biden Pledges BILLIONS to Africa Under the Ruse of Climate Change

The U.S. dollar printing press is burning up under the Biden administration, with the President throwing money around like he’s the Oprah of the free world.

But, this time, instead of well-to-do college graduates or Ukraine, it’s the continent of Africa that will receive cash prizes from the United States.

Naturally, the song the Biden administration is singing is that our investment in the vast continent is about renewable energy and elevating a valuable international partner that should be seen as an equal to the United States. But, unfortunately, the reality is quite a bit different.

Like a child stuck between two divorced parents, African leaders found themselves in the uncomfortable and insulting position of listening to President Biden tell them how special they are and try to buy their love in the hopes that they will rethink their partnerships with China.

But, as usual, our reactive foreign policy will cost the taxpayer billions and do little to help anybody, except maybe China.

It’s Only Money

This week President Biden promised a cumulative of about $55 billion over the next three years to the continent of Africa, chump change in comparison to our investment in Ukraine, but still quite the Christmas check if you ask me. However, it was an announcement related explicitly to South Africa that caught a fair amount of criticism.

President Biden announced:

“Today’s announcement joined a portfolio of partnership for global infrastructure investment projects already underway in Africa. Including mobilizing $8 billion in public and private finance to help South Africa replace coal-fired power plants with renewable energy sources.”

Keep in mind that South Africa is the third largest economy in Africa, behind Egypt and Nigeria. In addition, President Biden continued to list out other investments across the continent:

“…develop cutting edge energy solutions like clean hydrogen, a deal worth $2 billion to build solar energy projects in Angola, $600 million high speed communications cables that will connect Southeast Asia to Europe via Egypt and the Horn of Africa…”

So why the push to cozy up to Africa, particularly when plenty of these African countries can fund their own projects?

Stuck In The Middle

Say what you want about China, but you can’t deny their foreign policy and international strategic maneuvering are impressive. For example, over the last few years, China has dumped close to $700 billion into infrastructure loans in Africa.

Why the interest in Africa? Just as Africa was known for its diamonds, its also highly sought after for its minerals, specifically cobalt and lithium.

For China, that means cornering the market on minerals used in the coveted batteries everyone needs, particularly our country, to power everything from our phones to our war machines. For the Biden administration, that means stripping Africa of the materials needed to build all those electric vehicles they want to force us all to purchase. 

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The investment in Africa has also enabled China to build its first overseas military installation in Djibouti in 2017, and they have their eyes set on a second base in Equatorial Guinea.

China has already extended its global reach economically and politically, and now that they have started stretching its military reach into Africa, that will undoubtedly have future repercussions for the United States and the world at large.

We Just Want To Be Friends

Suppose you listen to what the President said to the African leaders this week.

In that case, you’d almost believe that our pledge to invest in their countries isn’t about China but our desire to treat them as equals. According to the President, the goal “is not to create political obligation or foster independence” but to do our part to help Africa “succeed.” 

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Copying a page from his domestic policy speeches, the President promised:

“The United States is all in on Africa’s future. Together we want to build a future of opportunity where no one, no one is left behind.”

He even went so far as to do what Democrat leaders tend to do best and apologize for how terrible our country is, harkening back to the past:

“We remember the stolen men and women and children who were brought to our shores in chains, subjected to unimaginable cruelty – my nation’s original sin was that period.”

Curious if the African countries view their ancestor’s role in selling their men, women, and children into slavery as their original sin. It brings up an interesting follow-up question: are the African nations ready to be considered on par with the United States?

Strange Bedfellows

Africa isn’t necessarily known for its civility, democracies, or advancement in human rights. It’s known for government corruption, with South Africa, in particular, making international news not that long ago.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa narrowly dodged an impeachment over a scandal dubbed ‘FarmGate.’ Allegedly he had neglected to disclose to authorities after his farm was robbed that anywhere from $4 million to $8 million in U.S. cash was snatched that he had stored in his sofa.

There is nothing suspect there at all; utterly normal behavior for an African leader. But unfortunately, the continent has also become a welcome location for terrorist organizations to set up training and planning camps.

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The two most notable groups are Boko Haram in west Africa and Al-Shabaab in the Horn of Africa. No doubt, two groups that have also benefited from China’s ongoing investment in Africa.

So while the Biden administration never backs off of an opportunity to accuse its own citizens of racism, extremism, and violence, it has no problems sending your taxpayer dollars to countries that welcome terrorists, steal from their own people, and in many ways still participate in the original sin our President apologized for.

Modern-Day Risk

I don’t believe any of the African leaders here this week for the summit think they are being used as anything other than cold war pawns between us and China. But, unfortunately, our interest is typically too much too late.

The Chinese infrastructure investments have included spreading Huawei communications far and wide, a company that came under fire in our own country for posing a significant national security risk. As the deputy assistant secretary for African affairs, Chidi Blyden, explains:

“China’s Huawei network, which is very robust across the continent, makes it hard for us to be able to work with African partners who may adopt some of these systems.”

But, thanks to the cover story of climate change, our country has thrown money at other countries in an attempt to build up our international presence and their dependence on us. For example, at the G20 summit, we pledged to partner with the United Kingdom in sending $10 billion to Indonesia to transition their country to renewable energy.

And we also bought into sending part of the $15.5 billion to Vietnam for the same. The world is starting to look more and more like the board game Risk; who will end up winning? Doubtful it will be Africa or any other countries we pretend to care about.

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Biden Disapproval Rating Reaches New High

By Casey Harper (The Center Square)

President Joe Biden is kicking off his second year in office with his highest disapproval rating to date.

A new CNBC/Change Research poll found 56% of voters disapprove of Biden’s job as president, the worst disapproval numbers the president has seen since taking office.

The economy and COVID-19 are major factors in voters’ sentiments, with 60% disapproving of Biden’s job on the economy and 55% disapproving of his work on COVID-19. Biden had previously seen poor economic numbers but better approval numbers on his handling of the pandemic.

The drop in COVID-related ratings comes amid a flurry of vaccine mandates and a surge in omicron cases around the nation. This week, the U.S. is reporting one million new cases of COVID-19 daily.

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Polling from December showed voters do not approve of Biden’s vaccine mandates.

Convention of States Action, in conjunction with Trafalgar group, released polling data last month reporting that the majority of Americans oppose new vaccine mandates to counter omicron.

The poll found 69.4% of Americans said “no new mandates or restrictions are required” in response to the COVID variant, while 30.6% said the opposite.

“Unlike government health officials in Washington, DC, Americans have already figured out that mandates and lockdowns are not the way we will beat the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mark Meckler, president of Convention of States Action.

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“As we’ve seen in our polls repeatedly, the American people are tired of all this and are ready to get on with their lives. The U.S. Senate finally recognized this reality … with the bipartisan passage of the bill to block President Biden’s illegal vaccine mandate, and we’re going to see more of this as we get closer to 2022 and elected officials fight to save their jobs.”

Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.

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