Larry Kudlow: Democrats 'bet wrong' for key midterms issue, 'it's the economy stupid'

The new IRS agents that costs us billions of dollars is 'nothing but an attack on the middle class,' Kudlow says

Well, a spate of new likely voter polls shows that voters in October are breaking toward Republican candidates — in a big swing from August and September. This is no surprise.  Record-high inflation is killing families, killing working folks, killing take-home pay, killing groceries on kitchen tables and killing the economy and everybody knows it. It is by far the number one issue in the midterm elections. By far.   

Rasmussen Reports just moved from about even in August to +7 GOP two days ago. The New York Times — hold your breath on this one — just moved from +2 Democrats in September to +4 Republicans.  By the way, in all these polls, independents are breaking heavily for Republicans. Women are breaking heavily for Republicans.  

The Democrats all year have bet on hating Trump, MAGA and the Supreme Court's abortion decision. They bet wrong. It's the economy, stupid. Even more: it's inflation, stupid.  

Mark Penn's Harvard/Harris poll out this weekend shows American voters' top concerns: 37% inflation, 29% economy — total 66%.  The Gallup poll says 59% of Americans are now concerned about inflation. The Rasmussen Reports poll shows the same story: 84% say rising prices will be important in their vote. No other issues are really in play. 


Now, don't get me wrong... border security, illegal immigration, crime, schooling, teachers, parents — all important issues —   in some states like New York, where Lee Zeldin is about to beat Kathy Hochul, crime may still be the top issue, but, nationwide, for the House and Senate seats, it's all about inflation and that is why I repeat that Republicans must keep "Biden inflation" the number one issue on their campaigns. 

The inflation buck started with Biden and continues on him to this very day. Let me repeat this, the GOP must keep the hammer on "Biden inflation" in the last 22 days until the midterms. 

Now, here's somebody that doesn't seem to get the message: our president, having a midday snack in Portland, Oregon. Watch it and weep:  

JOE BIDEN: "I’m not concerned about the strength of the dollar, I’m concerned about the rest of the world. Our economy is strong as hell."  

Well, sorry, Mr. President. Inflation is killing the economy and, by the way, you're not going to lick inflation without a strong king dollar currency. So, you're 0 for 2 on that ice cream cone. 

Any Democrat who voted for the so-called "emergency relief" spending bill back in March 2021 — or who voted for the out-of-control spending in the fraudulently named "Inflation Reduction Act," or who supports the trillion-dollar cost of student loan cancellations, or who stopped oil and gas production, they must be hammered for supporting the Biden inflation that is wrecking family budgets and the economy. 

This must be the cavalry's bugle call, the number one issue because near 100% of the Democratic candidates voted for Biden's inflationary policies.  Joe Biden is out there telling folks that if Republicans win, inflation is going to get worse. Frankly, I don't believe anybody else buys that.  

Here are some interesting numbers from our friends at the very accurate TIPP Insights poll. It's bad enough that inflation in just the last two months has started to increase again, but they go all the way back to a metric base of February of 2021 to measure rising prices. This, of course, is the duration of the Biden administration.  

So, food prices up 15%, energy up 39%, core CPI up 10%, gasoline up 48%, used cars up 36%, new cars up 17%, air tickets up 44%, groceries up 17%, electricity up 22%, utility costs up 51%, maintaining and repairing a car up 14%.   

It is this persistently high inflation that has brought down the economy from a 6.5% boom around Biden's inauguration, to a 1% decline in the first half of this year. It’s not an easy thing to do.  The Bidens would've been better off leaving Donald Trump's prosperous economy alone, but no they had to try big government socialism, radical climate change, progressive lefty spending, taxing, regulating.  

One of the underlying subtexts of this election is that common-sense Americans are rejecting the transformative socialism that has brought the economy down. Instead, they prefer free-enterprise capitalism that will bring prosperity back and this will be the big challenge for a potential GOP majority in the 118th Congress. Ending inflation, ending recession and bringing prosperity back. 

A new Republican Congress will be faced with a genuine economic crisis, not a phony one, a real one and their crucial challenge will be to hit the ground running to bring prosperity back.

Right from the get-go, I would suggest rescinding as much of the Dems’ inflationary spending as possible — going all the way back to March 2021. There's at least $500 billion unaccounted for, literally stolen from taxpayers.  Get rid of the 87,000 new IRS agents that cost $80 billion. It's nothing but an attack on the middle class. 

Rescind the potentially trillion-dollar cost of student loan cancellation. Use the Congressional Review Act to overturn Biden's regulatory central planning socialism and reopen the oil and gas spigots. Rescind the tax hikes on large and small businesses and investors.  


President Biden delivers remarks in Irvine, California

President Biden speaks about lowering costs for American families at Irvine Valley Community College, in Irvine, California, Friday, Oct. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster / AP Newsroom)

Joe Biden will undoubtedly resist these prosperity reforms, but the country will be behind them. Common-sense folks know that inflation must be killed and the economy must be revived.  

Go back aways, over 40 years ago, Ronald Reagan inherited a similar economic crisis. My former boss David Stockman and my friend Jack Kemp wrote a famous memo called "Avoiding a GOP Economic Dunkirk." The basic themes are there today in Kevin McCarthy's GOP 'Commitment to America.'  Let us waste no time in getting moving on this. 

This article is adapted from Larry Kudlow's opening commentary on the October 17, 2022, edition of "Kudlow."