Today’s Sunday’s New York Times focuses on inflation — not so much the thing itself, but rather its political implications. This frontpage story is about an alleged debate over whether Joe Biden’s covid stimulus is to blame for America’s inflation rate being higher than most other countries it’s fair to compare us with.
I’m not sure there is a genuine debate about this. However, to the Times’ credit, the article makes it pretty clear that economists generally identify overspending by Biden and the Democrats as a key factor in inflation.
The Times’ reporters state:
[A] chorus of economists point to government policies as a big part of the reason U.S. inflation is at a 40-year high. While they agree that prices are rising as a result of shutdowns and supply chain woes, they say that America’s decision to flood the economy with stimulus money helped to send consumer spending into overdrive, exacerbating those global trends.
At least as interesting as the Times’ news report is this editorial. The Times stopped producing regular formal editorials a while ago, according to my friend who reads that paper. Yet, it saw the need to write one about inflation for today’s edition. We view the editorial as a response to, or at least an attempt to cope with, the frontpage story.
The editorial ruefully acknowledges that to some extent Biden’s stimulus played a role in inflation and that Biden hasn’t so far seemed concerned enough about the matter. However, the Times insists that the flood of stimulus money wasn’t a mistake, and it expresses continued support for Biden’s policies.
My friend points to the absence from both the news report and the editorial of the role Biden’s energy policy has played in the current inflation. But at least the Times has finally gotten around to informing its readers about the “chorus” of economists who make the strong (and obvious) connection between the administration’s stimulus and inflation.