The politics of inflation
High gasoline prices 2022

The Republican Party has a long record of making non-political issues, political. Gun safety is a social issue that we all agreed on at one time. Racism is a moral issue. Abortion is a medical, though perhaps a religious issue, too. Sexual identity is a psychological question.

Now, Republicans want to make worldwide inflation, particularly inflated gas prices in the U.S., a political issue in the next election. So, what is causing the inflation in the price or gasoline to outpace it in most other prices?

It isn't the natural cause of inflation in a capitalist society: the failure of capitalism to create an adequate supply of oil and oil by­ products. We have lost about one million barrels of oil per day since we banned Russian oil. Biden closed that gap with a million barrels a day for six months from the national reserves.

I've never driven up to an empty gasoline pump in the past year or had to wait in a mile­long line like I had to in the 1970s. I haven't seen long lines waiting for gas in any other location in the U.S., either. I didn't have any trouble getting heating oil this past winter.

The problem is the result of the greed of the oil companies and the excitement of investment funds, particularly hedge funds. They are bidding the price up and up by speculating on oil futures while Americans have the expecta­ tion, encouraged by the media corporations, of continued inflation.

Now the political party of corporations, the Republican Party, is making this failure of capitalism a political issue, blaming it on President Biden. This pleases the corporations because they see Biden as a dire threat. Biden wants to shift the country away from fossil fuels to renewable energy and the number of progressive Democrats in Congress egging him on is growing.

So oil corporations see rising gas prices as a double benefit: (I) more than enough profits to compensate for losses in 2020-2021, and (2) the potential downfall of Biden and the progressive Democrats who are invested in renewable energy.

This means that gas prices probably will not fall before mid-November 2022. Depending on the outcome of those elections, high gas prices just may continue until 2024. What do the oil corporations have to lose?

The oil industry and investment corporations supporting them have another benefit from inflation. For decades they have been satisfied with a political semi-oligarchy resulting from only two easily controlled parties fighting over the political center and an army of lobbyists in Washington. Trump now offers a path to autocracy, the form of governance that prevails in all free-market businesses

The CEO is an autocratic position in all businesses. He can listen to advisors as much or as little as he pleases, but s/he makes all the major if not minor decisions, depending on his leadership style. All CEOs and corporate presidents are more familiar with autocratic organization. One party is even easier to control than two.

Republicans are laying blame on Biden and the Democrats for the trillion-dollar stimulus package that kept hundreds of thousands of small businesses alive and millions of fam­ ilies from bankruptcy. Well, there were two trillion-dollar stimulus packages: one under Trump and the other under Biden. Does that mean the blame is shared?

If the electorate can ignore the sheer bam­ boozlement of blaming President Biden for worldwide inflation and elect more Democratic progressives to Congress, that will eliminate the filibuster in the Senate, the current cause of the gridlock.

That will save this country in the short term. In the long run, we will only be saved by the Republican Party returning to sanity and more political parties representing a wider range of opinion.

In the meantime,only one party is holding the tentpoles of democracy up: the Democratic Party.

(Sunbury Daily Item, June 26, 2022)
Share with   Tweet