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The GOP keeps slamming Biden over inflation, but it has no solutions to offer

The party not in power blames always blames the party in power for problems, but inflation isn't a game to Americans.
Photo illustration: Images of Kevin McCarthy and Joe Biden interspersed with image of price lists from a grocery store.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has blamed President Joe Biden for “creating raging inflation.”Anjali Nair / MSNBC; Getty Images

Republicans want you to believe that inflation in the United States is not part of a global problem but is 100% President Joe Biden’s fault.

Just check out their recent over-the-top rhetoric. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., has blamed Biden for “creating raging inflation.” In a tweet, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, called inflation “#BidenFlation,” saying it was caused by Biden’s policies. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., even made a speech on the Senate floor last week focused on inflation, in which he detailed the rising prices of goods, gas, etc., all leading to the crescendo that it was Biden and the Democrats' fault.

What the GOP has left out of all its speeches, television appearances and tweets slamming Biden is even a hint of a proposal to reduce prices.

But what the GOP has left out of all its speeches, television appearances and tweets slamming Biden is even a hint of a proposal to reduce prices. Even worse than the GOP not having a plan of its own, though, is Republicans’ determination to block Biden’s efforts to help Americans. They’ve opposed his agenda to lower child care costs, create affordable housing and more. Biden made that very point in his June 14 speech about his plans to address inflation, in which he declared that “Republicans in Congress are doing everything they can to stop my plans to bring down costs on ordinary families.”

There’s no disputing that prices in our nation rose 8.6% in May since last year at that time, the highest rate since 1981. Food prices have risen over 10% since May 2021, and gas prices have skyrocketed. Just about everything we use on a daily basis costs more.

Biden candidly acknowledged this reality in last week’s speech, noting that inflation is “sapping the strength of a lot of families.” He said he understands firsthand what this is like, noting that when he was a child growing up in a blue-collar family, “it mattered if the price of food went up.”

A convergence of issues has caused this spike in inflation. The well-documented supply chain issues that followed Covid shutdowns drove up prices. Some of it was fueled by us, consumers who unleashed our pent-up demand to travel and buy goods after things reopened. More demand equals higher prices. Russia’s attack on Ukraine added to higher gas prices, which contribute to higher prices for goods, since it costs more to transport them.

This is in no way a Biden-caused problem — unless Republicans are telling us he caused inflation worldwide, which they very well might say before November. A Pew Research Center report released just last week documented that in 37 of the 44 nations with “advanced economies,” the “average annual inflation rate in the first quarter of this year was at least twice what it was in the first quarter of 2020.” In fact, the United States during the first quarter of this year was 13 of 44 in terms of inflation, far eclipsed by countries such as Italy, Israel, Spain, Greece and Turkey.

This leads us to the hard reality that there’s no easy solution for inflation; if there were, Biden would’ve flipped that switch months ago. And cynical Republicans know that.

At least Biden does have a plan, which, like the causes of inflation, is multifaceted.

At least Biden does have a plan, which, like the causes of inflation, is multifaceted.

With respect to gas prices, in addition to releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to increase supplies, the president last week sent a letter to U.S. oil companies demanding that they increase the production of oil and to stop unfairly profiting on Americans' need for gas. He even threatened to “use all reasonable and appropriate Federal Government tools and emergency authorities to increase refinery capacity and output in the near term.”

In his speech last week, Biden noted that on food costs, he was “working closely with our European partners to get 20 million tons of grains locked in Ukraine out onto the market to help bring down food prices.” The president also explained his efforts to reduce other household costs to offset the higher gas and food prices, such as capping the cost of insulin at $35 — a bill for which passed the House in March but still has not passed the Senate due to lack of Republican support.

So where is the GOP plan to address inflation? Republicans have had plenty of time to come up with one, given that they have been screaming since last summer that Biden caused inflation.

Here’s the best I can find: In May, Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., the chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, laid out his plan. “The most effective thing Joe Biden can do to solve the inflation crisis he created is resign,” Scott said. Then there’s McCarthy, who earlier this month offered the following proposal as his “solution” to rising costs: “I call on Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats to hold a prime-time hearing on the out-of-control inflation their policies have created.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., the third-ranking member of the House GOP, isn’t even pretending her party has a plan. She recently said of inflation, “House Republicans will address these crises when we earn back control of the House this November.” Sure, America, let’s trust the party of tax cuts for the wealthy to look out for the rest of us.

We all get how politics works. The party out of power blames the party in power for everything that’s bad. But in this case, inflation is directly impacting the lives of all Americans. It’s time Democrats and the media press every Republican who blames Biden for inflation to answer this simple question: What is the GOP plan to reduce it? Americans deserve an answer.