Inflation, vaccines, voting rights: Biden faces brick walls

These developments highlight that chiefs, in spite of all they can do on their own, are hemmed in on big matters by other branches of government.

The Supreme Court, which has a large majority of Republican-appointed justices, has no interest in imposing restrictions on corporations.

The closely divided Senate is paralyzed by its own traditions.

It’s inflation-related news that could be more damaging to Biden.

Every day people may not cling to the latest developments in voting rights. But they are seeing higher prices. They are facing empty grocery shelves. They may be nervous about going to work as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus rips through the country.

They wonder what the hell is going on.

Where is the groceries? The images on social media of empty grocery store shelves are stunning. CNN’s Parija Kavilanz writes that it’s not that there is no food. It’s that stores are having trouble getting it on the shelves. There is a shortage of workers and transportation issues. And people make food at home instead of going to restaurants.
Consider the grocery operator. CNN’s Nathaniel Merson is researching an industry where it’s not possible to work from home, where stores are hard to find clerks and where some stores have to restrict opening hours. Talk to Sam Dancy, a store supervisor and manager at Union at the QFC supermarket chain in Seattle. From the report:

Two weeks ago, Dancy worked on a busy Sunday when the store was understaffed. This was the first time in 30 years that I thought I didn’t know more than I could do and wanted to do it. “

RELATED: More than 8,000 workers on strike at 77 Denver-area grocery stores
To get an idea of ​​the mercurial nature of inflation during a pandemic, read this report from Chris Isidore and Alison Morrow of CNN.

Why can’t Biden or Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell simply fix this? Isidore and Moreau write:

Many of the increases are caused by global market forces, such as rising energy prices, or global supply chain problems that limit the availability of parts needed to make consumer goods. The limited supply of new and used cars, caused in large part by a lack of computer chips, has led to record car prices – a major factor driving overall prices higher.

101 intent. While meat and some other prices have started to fall, the current perception is that prices are rising, not falling. Isidore and Moreau write that government relief measures are putting more money in the hands of consumers, driving up demand at the same time as the pandemic chokes supply chains.

“Strong demand plus limited supply is Eikon 101’s definition of what drives prices up,” they wrote.

there is more.

Energy prices are up compared to last year, and those costs to companies are being passed on to consumers.

A shortage of workers causes wages to rise, which can lead to an increase in prices.

Inflation is bad. But It was worse. In a separate story, Isidore notes that despite how bad inflation is now, it’s still well below the crippling price increases of the 1970s, leaving a one-term president from each party in his path.

Isidore writes: Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter tried and failed to control prices. Ford’s efforts included a “Whip Inflation Now” or WIN campaign, complete with shiny red buttons, which didn’t help much with the pricing. Inflation hit 12.2% in late 1974, shortly after he took office, nearly double the annual pace of increase through November of last year.

Nightmare scenario. CNN’s Paul La Monica writes that “stagflation” is now a real possibility. This is when there is a stagnant economy but prices continue to inflate.

There is a serious case of this economic crosswind, however, that has drowned out Carter’s bid for reelection. In a stagflation scenario, there is little the government can do. Government spending only creates more inflation. Reducing government spending only leaves the economy in a sluggish state.

For now, the economy is still growing at a healthy pace. Hopefully caused by Omicron The slowdown will be short, the supply chain will continue to deregulate and most people won’t have to worry about groceries as much.

Pay attention to Costco parking lots. CNN’s Maeve Reston covered a Costco parking lot in Reno, Nevada, and spoke to people who are frustrated with rising gas prices—it costs $145 instead of $100 to fill up a pickup truck—and giving up things in the box store.

“There is nothing more fundamental than the struggle to feed the family,” wrote Reston and Stephen Collinson, foreshadowing an election in which Democrats are expected to lose one or both of their majorities on Capitol Hill.

“Evidence from Nevada voters recalls evidence in Virginia’s governor’s race when Republican Glenn Youngkin scored a surprise victory by actually listening to what voters were saying about education and the cost of groceries, while Democrats were vying against the extremism of former President Trump,” they write.

The irony is painful for Democrats. They have been blocked by Republicans and a few of their own in passing the more ambitious social elements of Biden’s agenda — such as global pre-kindergarten, help with childcare costs and the child tax credit — that could help free up money for groceries.

Republicans, who are set to profit from economic discontent, want none of those direct support.

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