Letter to the Editor: It’s more than just Biden; a more nuanced view of the economy

Reader Butch Reynolds says President’s get the blame for a bad economy — but it’s so much more than that.

Jim Kemmer (“Biden can do serious harm with the year he has left”, published Feb. 21) rightly points out that folks have struggled with inflation for the past few years and continue to do so. As is typical, presidents tend to get blamed for all that goes wrong and take credit for improvements during their term. It’s never quite that simple.

Clearly, the pandemic had a lot to do with disruption of the supply chains and economic downturn in general. High inflation was not experienced only in the U.S.A. but also throughout Europe and the rest of the world. No doubt that Biden’s pumping in money to address these issues also added to inflation. Russian invasion of Ukraine also affected the cost of oil and gas, driving up prices globally. But even with Biden’s renewable energy development initiatives, Mr. Kemmer should not be overly concerned about the future availability of fuel for his car.

U.S. fossil fuel exploitation is booming right now and our oil and gas production is hitting record highs. More oil and gas drilling on public lands has been approved than the previous administration and we are currently exporting more oil and gas than we are importing. Oil companies are raking in massive profits which are being used to deliver record payments to shareholders, all the while still receiving billions in subsidies from the government (e.g. taxpayers).

Neither party has been effectively attacking the deficit, the coming shortfall in funding Medicare and Social Security, or the gross income inequality reflected by the fact that about half of our citizens live paycheck to paycheck without sufficient emergency savings. Perhaps some think another massive tax cut would solve these problems?

Current published economic indicators suggest we are at least heading in the right direction even if it is not yet felt by most people due to continued higher food, fuel prices, and interest rates. Actions (e.c. Chips program) have been taken to decrease our dependence on possibly hostile foreign governments for critical products. Further, after decades of being warned by American civil engineers regarding our failing infrastructure, we finally have an infrastructure program in place-but of course there is no free lunch.

Biden has supported NATO, our European allies, and Ukraine in its struggle against unprovoked Russian aggression while a minority of partisan extremists have blocked critically needed aid to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan using bogus manufactured excuses.

Improvements are always welcome, so we should be looking for and comparing actual clearly stated policies likely to deliver for the people over the long run.

Butch Reynolds

Bonney Lake