Biden’s Sham Snickers Salvation Shtick

by | May 20, 2024

Biden’s Sham Snickers Salvation Shtick

by | May 20, 2024

biden inflation illustration zimbabwe $100 trillion 2009 obverse

In 1896, Democratic Party presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan made a famous pro-inflation speech, proclaiming “you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold” (and stable prices).

In 2024, President Joe Biden is campaigning for re-election by denouncing corporations for crucifying consumers on a grocery store rack of Snickers bars. According to Biden, “shrinkflation”—adjusting for inflation by selling smaller products for the same price—is a worse crime than anything his administration inflicted on the American people.  And Snickers bars are Exhibit #1 of corporate perfidy in America.

Last Wednesday, the latest Consumer Price Index report showed that inflation slowed slightly in April, but prices continued to rise nearly 4% per year. President Biden took his 23rd victory lap on this issue, proclaiming that “fighting inflation and lowering costs is my top economic priority.”

But how should people judge a victory proclamation by a general that had pointlessly lost 20% of his army? The dollar has lost 20% of its purchasing power since Biden took office. But Uncle Joe talks like that is an irrelevant asterisk compared to the glories of his Inflation Reduction Act. Biden’s latest strutting is on par with a surgeon bragging that a heavily-bleeding patient on his operating table is losing blood at a slightly slower rate.

According to the Team Biden storyline, inflation went from a nonexistent threat in 2021 to transient in 2022 to simply a bad memory in 2024. Biden is pretending that the nation has made it out of the inflationary woods. But the Labor Department reported last Tuesday that the producer price index is rising at a rate of 6% a year—a foreboding omen of future price hikes.

Average wages are down more than 4% since Biden took office and there are likely tens of millions of Americans whose pay fell even further behind inflation. In New York, rents are rising seven times faster than wages, according to a recent survey. The “average Utah household has spent $31,718 more due to inflation since January of 2021,” according to Senator Mike Lee (R-UT).

Biden has spawned the highest rate of food inflation since the Nixon administration. Edward Snowden recently quipped on Twitter that the White House is trying to defuse anger by “telling people no, no, a shopping cart full of groceries has always cost $36,000.”

Biden scoffed when a CNN interviewer recently asked him about the 30% rise in grocery prices. Biden declared of consumers, “They have the money to spend!” Biden has bragged about boosting food stamp benefits. Does he believe that every potential Biden voter is already on the dole?

Biden is seeking to “fix” inflation the same way he “solved” other debacles: with brazen lies that presume his listeners are either village idiots or NPR junkies. Twice in recent weeks, Biden declared that the inflation rate was 9% at the time he took office. Actually, the rate was 1.4%—barely a third of the current annualized rate based on last month’s data.

Can Biden bluster past the inflationary political graveyard? Biden’s credibility is one of the few things that has deteriorated even faster than the value of the U.S. dollar. Biden’s “9%” claim is more likely to spur suspicions of dementia rather than to vindicate his record.

Biden hopes that ramping up denunciations of “corporate greed” will distract people from the federal role in wrecking the currency. He condemned corporations for “shrinkflation”—“charging folks more and more for less and less.” But unlike governments that force people to pay more taxes for worse services, corporations cannot conscript their victims.

Biden whooped up complaints by the Sesame Street Cookie Monster about a reduction in cookie sizes. Does Biden believe smaller cookies prove the need for a bigger federal government? Will Biden recruit a new American Protective League (notorious during World War I) to send out spies to carefully measure and weigh cookies across the land?

Will there be a series of TikTok ads with beefy people wearing undersized “Biden for President” T-shirts and bitterly lamenting they bought a cookie with only 622 calories?

In his 1928 presidential campaign, Herbert Hoover supposedly promised “a chicken in every pot.” But will Biden anchor his re-election campaign on Americans’ entitlement to cookies the size of airplane flotation devices? Heck, even President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle at least went through the motions of condemning mass obesity. Safeguarding the sale of giant cookies could boost the number of diabetics—thereby boosting the number of people counting on Biden to save them from the high cost of insulin.

Biden’s “remedy” for inflation is new bribes for voters. The average monthly mortgage payment on a median priced home has doubled since Biden took office. More renters than ever before have abandoned all hope of ever owning a house, according to a New York Federal Reserve survey released last week. Rather than curbing deficit spending, Biden is pushing a new housing handout—$400 a month for two years—for first-time home buyers. That handout, by helping people temporarily pay for homes they cannot otherwise afford, will likely become another bailout for bankruptcy lawyers.

Biden’s media allies are hectoring Americans to stop grumbling about the vanishing purchasing power of their dollars. An economic professor in The New York Times recently portrayed inflation fears as merely an “macroeconomic anxiety attack” and told readers: “Don’t Worry. Be Happy.” The Washington Post showcased a professor who told families earning less than $289,000 per year to “adjust” to inflation by eating lentils instead of meat, ditching their car and taking public transit and maybe letting their pets die. Veterinary costs are rising at 8% a year.

Inflation data epitomize how federal statistics can be a weapon of mass deception. Beginning in the 1980s, the formula for calculating inflation was revised dozens of times, almost always with a downward bias. Instead of comparing the price of the same basket of goods over time, federal officials concocted a gauge they claim measures a “constant level of satisfaction.” But who in hell made bureaucrats the supreme judges of happiness?

Larry Summers, Bill Clinton’s treasury secretary, recently observed that if the feds today used the same inflation gauges used in the 1970s, Biden’s peak inflation would have been 18%, twice as high as the reported number.

Mortgage costs are no longer counted in federal inflation data. Since Biden took office, the average monthly mortgage payment for a new home has almost doubled, reaching $3,322 per month. But that pummeling price increase and locking millions of families out of home-buying opportunities is irrelevant to the official inflation gauge. Understating inflation permits the government to deny much of the financial damage it is inflicting.

Biden has been an inflation pyromaniac while boasting of being the world’s greatest firefighter. In a 2022 speech to Democratic members of Congress, Biden raged at being blamed for inflation: “We have to talk about it because the American people think the reason for inflation is the government spending more money. Simply. Not. True.” Thanks to Biden, the federal government is adding another trillion dollars in national debt roughly every 100 days.

A slight and perhaps temporary slowdown in the inflation rate does nothing to repair the financial ravages of the past three years. If his re-election team is looking for an honest phrase to summarize Biden’s economic achievements, go with “Better than Zimbabwe!”the nation with the most notorious inflation in modern times. I stand by my January 2022 prediction in the New York Post that inflation is “the wrecking ball that could politically destroy” Biden’s presidency.

Jim Bovard

Jim Bovard

Jim Bovard is a Senior Fellow for the Libertarian Institute and author of the newly published, Last Rights: The Death of American Liberty (2023). His other books include Public Policy Hooligan (2012), Attention Deficit Democracy (2006), Lost Rights: The Destruction of American Liberty (1994), and seven others. He is a member of the USA Today Board of Contributors and has also written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Playboy, The Washington Post, among others. His articles have been publicly denounced by the chief of the FBI, the Postmaster General, the Secretary of HUD, and the heads of the DEA, FEMA, and EEOC and numerous federal agencies.

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