The White House description of President Bidens schedule today says he was to join business roundtable CEOs to talk about Russias unprovoked and unjustified war with Ukraine and then it adds and the presidents plans to lower costs for working families, create good paying union jobs, and tackle the climate crisis.
Really? Ill bet those hot-shot CEOs were dying to talk about more social spending, more union jobs, and especially the climate crisis.
Wait a minute, though, is oil at $110 today? Is gasoline at about $4.25 at the pump? Did you say climate crisis? Unionization?
Those of you of a certain age may remember the 1980 debate between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Mr. Carter kept accusing Reagan of cutting healthcare and the Gipper famously responded: There you go again.
I would say the same thing about President Biden.
Climate change, BBB is going to reduce inflation, unionization is vitally important: There he goes again, saying all the things the country doesnt want, as poll after poll tells us.
The country would like lower inflation. The country would like more oil and gas supplies for lower energy prices. Over half the states have become right to work. And climate change hardly shows up on a list of important polling issues.
Then theres Mr. Biden blaming fossil fuel companies for price gouging and taking excess profits. Youve gotta love that one. This is like a five-decade-long left-wing banshee screamhating corporations and profits and, for that matter, free-market capitalism.
Socialists have always talked about price gouging and the like, and theyre always wrong. In fact, so far as we know, there is not one single charge or lawsuit or government action brought against these companies so far. Even the left-wing consumer protection crowd cant find anything, though theyll try.
The FTC, the DOJ, the antitrust crowd: So far their guns are silent because there is no price gouging or excess profits. Its just, There they go again.
Anyway, while Mr. Biden blames Vladimir Putin for the inflation, let me just note the four-decade-high inflation rate7.9 percent consumer price index through February.
The inflation problem is really much more than energy. Virtually all prices are rising. Housing, cars, clothing, recreation, commodities, services, etc., just about everything except cell phones.
In fact, if you took energy out of the CPI, youd have a 6.6 percent inflation ratea four-decade high.
If you took gasoline out, youd have a 6.4 percent inflation rate.
By the way, food prices are rising to 7.9 percent. None of this has anything to do with Mr. Putinunless hes rigging the CPI. Just like he rigged recent elections, with a wave of disinformation about new and used car prices. It has to do with excessive government spending, deficit finance, and Federal Reserve money creation.
Mr. Biden has a bad case of amnesia when it comes to the inflation hike of his first year, where the CPI started at less than 2 percent and has gone up to nearly 8 percent.
And he has a very bad case of policy blundering with his BBB social spending, no workfare, inflationary policieswhich even leading Democratic economists have criticized.
If he told the fossil fuel CEOs today at the business roundtable that he would call off the regulatory dogs in his war against fossil fuels, oil prices would probably drop $25, immediately. Of course, he wouldnt.
Were still a couple million barrels per day lower in production than at the peak several years ago. Now, another point: It isnt clear that Russian oil or gas has been taken off the market.
The U.S. sanctions on Russian imports wont take effect for probably a couple of months. Europe is actually importing more Russian oil and gas. Thats right, more. India and China are buying Russian energy. So really, the hike in energy prices is more psychological than due to any Putin-tied shortfall in Russian supplies.
Thats another reason why Mr. Biden and NATO must not go wobbly on us at their meeting in Poland later this week. To cite the Wall Street Journals editorial today, The oil and gas sanctions on Russia must be intensified because so far they havent really hurt Putin and his war machine.
Columnist Holman Jenkinss idea of an escrow account is a good one. Put the cash away until Mr. Putin withdraws from Ukraine.
Also, stop running to get under the nearest desk every time Mr. Putin barks about weapons and all forms of assistance, including the MIG airplanes.
As Walter Russell Mead has written, when the enemys in retreat, stay in hot pursuit. Escalate weapon shipments to Kiev. Toughen the sanctions. Deny Mr. Putin an off-ramp. In fact, make it clear that the sanctions are going to last a long timeuntil every Russian is withdrawn from Ukraine.
Wheres Ronald Reagan now that we need him again?
From Mr. Kudlows broadcast on Fox Business News.