For an alternate viewpoint see: GUINEY: Your Freedom is on the Ballot This November
Nearly a year ago in December 2021, President Joe Biden declared inflation had peaked at 6.8 percent and predicted it would decline shortly and “rapidly.” In June, seven months later, we saw inflation surge by 9.1 percent. September was not much better, with prices rising 8.2 percent over the prior year. The state of our economy has had far-reaching impacts on working families and our seniors on fixed incomes.
The average 401k has lost 25 percent of its value due to the economic downturn. Since Biden took office, Americans’ monthly savings have fallen 83 percent. Mortgage rates are at 20-year highs, placing the dream of homeownership out of reach for too many individuals. Meanwhile, more than half of workers are seeing their real wages lag behind inflation by 9 percent, the equivalent of losing a full month’s pay. Economists at the Dallas Federal Reserve have labeled it the “most severe” pay cut in 25 years. With income falling behind the rising cost of goods and services, it’s no wonder that so many Pennsylvanians are struggling.
In the Philadelphia region, electricity costs are up more than 20 percent compared to just one year ago. The cost to fill up your car or truck at the gas station is nearly 60 percent higher than it was two years ago. And consumers can expect more bad news in the coming months as home-heating bills are projected to reach a 25-year high. A trip to the grocery store is not much better. Since Biden took office, the price of eggs is up 98 percent, chicken breasts are up 46 percent, bacon is up 27 percent, flour is up 25 percent, and sugar is up 23 percent.
When asked just a couple of weeks ago if he is worried about rising inflation and its impact on families and seniors, Biden dismissed concerns, saying “our economy is strong as hell.” That denial of basic facts, the stubborn blindness to what Americans are seeing and experiencing for ourselves, shows the president and his Democratic allies are truly out of touch.
Rather than put forward real solutions to the problem, Democrats helped fuel the increase in inflation by injecting billions of additional funds into the economy. When that bungled plan did what many economists predicted it would – further fuel inflation increases – the Democrats decided to push through a bill funding a range of pet initiatives under the guise of legislation called the “Inflation Reduction Act.” Even before the bill was signed into law, Democrats were already backpedaling from the bill’s name, admitting that it would do nothing to curb inflation.
To be clear, it’s not just national problems that are causing issues. Amid the pandemic, Gov. Tom Wolf capriciously mandated the closure of tens of thousands of Pennsylvania’s small businesses but allowed big box stores like Kohl’s and Walmart to remain open. Many never fully recovered. Earlier this year, CNN reported that nearly 32 percent of small businesses in Pennsylvania were permanently or temporarily closed compared to January 2020.
Rising inflation, lost 401k savings, and declining real wages aren’t the only challenges Pennsylvanians are facing. Activist prosecutors who care more about violent criminals than the rights of victims have created a culture where criminals are not being held accountable for their crimes. In Philadelphia, the homicide rate so far this year is 57 percent higher than the same point just three years ago. And we are increasingly seeing the violent crime spill out into suburban communities with carjackings and armed robberies of small businesses. The problem is only further compounded by the lingering impacts of the defund the police movement and the demoralizing effect it had on law enforcement. The result is that many police departments are struggling to fill vacancies. It could not come at a worse time.
The list goes on and on. Parents who were concerned about the failure of schools to return to in-person learning were dismissed and told there would be no impact on the education of children. New federal testing results say otherwise, showing between 2019 and 2021 the largest ever decrease in math scores and significant decreases in reading scores. And at the same time that schools are failing to provide these basic education skills, progressives are continuing to push political ideology in the classroom while refusing to provide parents with transparency on curriculum so that parents know what their children are actually being taught.
A lot has changed in the past two years, and not for the better. It is time for voters to send a clear message to the Democrats at the national, state, and local level. The Democrats claimed that the last presidential and federal elections, which provided them with narrow control of Congress, were a voter “mandate” to implement their radical ideas and increase the control that government exerted over citizens. If Democrats truly want a mandate, now is the time to give them one. Voters need to turn out and make their voices heard, letting Democrats know that enough is enough.