In redefining recession, Democrats turn to fuzzy math and rule by gaslight
The term “fuzzy math” was first introduced during the 2000 presidential campaign by Republican candidate George W. Bush. He used it to describe Democratic candidate Al Gore’s criticisms of Bush’s economic proposals for tax cuts and how to spend a budget surplus.
Fast forward to 2022 and fuzzy math has been reintroduced into our politics. This time it’s a Democratic proposal to spend $700 billion on the ironically named “Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.”
It’s true: Democrats, including President Biden, make the argument that pumping hundreds of billions of dollars into an economy heading for 10% inflation (current rate, 9.1%) and probably just entered a recession (usually defined as two consecutive quarters of negative GDP growth) and that spending $300 billion on green energy initiatives and $370 billion on “deficit reduction” is just the remedy our struggling economy needs.
And just at the right time, many headlines refer to the prospect of the bill becoming law as a potential big win for Democrats and the game-changer the party needs to retain the House and Senate.
CNN: “In Major Boost for Democrats, Manchin and Schumer Announce Energy and Health Care Bill Deal.”
Politics: “One way or another, Joe Biden is back in the game. After enduring a brutal year, Biden is suddenly on the brink of a turnaround that the White House says could save his summer — and change the trajectory of his presidency.
Politics USA: “Chuck Schumer and Joe Manchin Reach Agreement on Improved Reconstruction That’s a Massive Victory for Democrats and America.”
But is the public really excited about an incompetent government spending more money while inflation is at its highest since 1981?
A NewsNation poll this week found that 94% of voters say they are somewhat or very concerned about rising prices, with 66% feeling “very concerned.” Nearly two-thirds consider inflation to be their main concern.
Democrats and their media allies have become adept at understatement; it is at the heart of their message. It’s not a border crisis, it’s a “challenge”. Antifa is not an organization; it is an idea”. It is not an unborn baby or even a fetus. These are the “products of design”. Riots are not riots. These are “mainly peaceful protests”. Infrastructure spending is not about improving roads and bridges. The infrastructure includes child care and paid vacation.
And now, with inflation approaching 10%, we have the Inflation Reduction Act.
There are things Democrats can do to reduce inflation, like cutting spending. But, instead, Democrats want to inject $700 billion into the economy, which they say will reduce inflation.
As for those who oppose increased spending during a recession, the president insists we’re not even in one despite two straight quarters of negative growth, sky-high inflation and stagnant wages.
“The Cut Inflation Act will add an additional $370 billion in clean energy tax credits, including incentives to accelerate domestic production of solar panels, wind turbines, batteries and materials processing reviews. This doesn’t sound like a recession to me,” Biden said last week after news broke that the economy had contracted 0.9%.
The Inflation Reduction Act would also significantly increase corporate taxes. In a related story, here’s what Joe Biden’s former boss had to say as president during a recession.
“You don’t raise taxes in a recession”, then President Obama said in 2010. “The last thing you want to do is raise taxes in the middle of a recession.”
An old saying goes that the difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits. With the ruling party in Washington, stupidity seems limitless. And voters are very attached to it: Biden is voting lower than any other president for the first term since these polls began. This includes Jimmy Carter. This includes Donald Trump. Both men served one term. In recent polls from Quinnipiac University and The New York Times, Biden stands at 31 and 33 percent approval, respectively.
Fuzzy math is back. Except that this time, we are drowning in debt. We spend what we don’t have. The result is exorbitant prices for everything from food and gas to wood. Any sane leader would put the brakes on spending while acknowledging that the economy is indeed in recession.
But not these leaders, who believe fuzzy math and governance by gaslighting is a successful strategy.
Joe Concha is a media and political columnist.