You would think with yesterday's CPI rising 8.3%, with a 30% jump in energy, and today's PPI rising 11%, with a 40% rise in energy, that Biden administration policymakers would support more oil and gas supplies. Right? No. You would be wrong.
Instead, the administration canceled one of the most high-profile oil and gas lease sales pending before the Interior Department. Oh, and did I mention record gasoline prices at the pump?
Interior stopped the potential for oil in over a million acres in Alaska's Cook Inlet, along with two lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico. "A lack of industry interest" was cited by the Interior Department plus conflicting court rulings on environmental impact.
Well, yeah. There's a lack of interest in leases, because there's almost a certainty that the administration will not grant permits to drill, produce or pipeline new energy supplies. What good is a lease if you can't get a permit?
Of course, President Biden made all this very clear from day one, when he killed the Keystone XL pipeline and then ANWR and recently brought on new environmental permitting restrictions that will actually stop infrastructuring altogether.
So, while the president may be telling folks that inflation is his number one priority, his policies to increase spending and shut down fossil fuels completely undermine his position. In another era, you would say he speaks with forked tongue. In other words, a "falsehood."
As we know from Mr. Biden's speech on Tuesday, he wants to spend more, regulate more and tax more. He wants the central planners in Washington to run the country's economy with a tight fist. He has 100% confidence in government and zero confidence in the free enterprise private sector, aka capitalism.
He says he's a capitalist, but his actions suggest what Newt Gingrich calls "big-government socialism." It is failing on all accounts. We are in the midst of an emergency inflation crisis, with the most widespread price hikes in four decades. There is no letup in these inflation numbers, because there's been no change in government policies.
What you have here is a catastrophic collapse of the radical progressive experiment. We shouldn't be surprised. This big government socialist progressivism has failed whenever and wherever tried. Even Europe pulled back from this years ago.
Mr. Biden is in denial about both the inflation crisis and the failure of his progressive policies. Of course, he's playing the blame game—Vladimir Putin, pandemic, supply chains, rich people, greedy corporations, price-gouging, poultry producers (Is he blaming all this inflation on the male lesser prairie chickens colluding with each other? Just a thought), Senator Rick Scott and of course lately, former President Donald Trump.
That's what this "ultra-MAGA" stuff is all about, isn't it? By the way, please sign me up for "ultra-MAGA" — tax cuts, deregulation, energy independence, record low minority unemployment, falling poverty, an orderly border and no Vladimir Putin invasions.
Yesterday, in Chicago, Mr. Biden raised the ante to "the great MAGA king." In other words, Biden's blame game continues. It's not the failure of his radical progressive policies. It's really Donald Trump's failure. Really? But Mr. Trump's not on the ballot.
Anyway, "MAGA King" sounds like the Broadway show, "Lion King." Nobody knows what Biden's talking about and Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin showed that while Mr. Trump's not on the ballot, his successful policies are still a great contrast to Biden's failures. The Biden blame game and distraction game isn't working and it won't work.
You know you're in trouble when, as a left-wing Democrat, you get slammed by the Washington Post editorial page, which just wrote that, "It's wishful thinking that inflation is going to come down much by Election Day. To show voters he is on top of the problem, Mr. Biden needs to do more than blame someone else for high prices." Well, the Washington Post is right.
Biden's got to bury his progressivism and the Federal Reserve has to start taking cash out of the economy. These policy changes will eventually curb inflation, but it's not going to be easy.
Stock markets right now are sending a recession signal. The S&P 500 is down 18.5% year-to-date. With roughly 10% inflation, that's a real decline of almost 30%. As of yesterday's close, America's crown jewel, the information tech sector, was off 24% year-to-date; chip stocks down 29%; the homebuilders index down 36%; and retailers down 31%.
This is a discouraging stock market message. It could be suggesting a painful inflationary recession and once again, blaming Donald Trump is not the answer for Mr. Biden and his progressive followers.
Some adult in the White House has got to go into the Oval Office and tell the president that his policies are failing and the country has completely lost confidence in him. The only thing worse than the stock market drop is Mr. Biden's steady polling decline.
Whoever that adult might be, they've got to be brutally honest with the boss. New people with more market and business sympathies and less big-government socialism blood, should be brought in for a Biden rescue mission.
Is this going to happen? At this point, I rather doubt it, but I do have a personnel thought. Welcome the new chief-of-staff, former Senator Joe Manchin. Save America, kill progressivism.
This article is adapted from Larry Kudlow's opening commentary on the May 12, 2022, edition of "Kudlow."