LARRY KUDLOW: Inflation continues to haunt middle and lower-income working folks

Kudlow reacts to American pessimism

Last week we talked about an especially pessimistic poll sponsored by the WSJ and conducted by the University of Chicago: "Most Americans doubt their children will be better off." I call it "big time pessimism is out there and Joe Biden owns it because inflation is the cruelest tax of all." 

It continues to haunt middle and lower-income working folks. It has driven up interest rates on credit cards, home mortgages, car loans, etc. Inflation is rising faster than wages and government spending and bank bailouts have gotten under the skin of Americans. 

By the way, speaking of bank bailouts, in a few moments we will talk about the failed bank supervision by San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly. She was featured in a long WSJ editorial as someone who focused more on the progressive priorities of climate change and equity instead of mundane things like rising interest rates, bond duration and loan quality. 


To some extent I don't want to confuse this though with yet another poll conducted by the University of Chicago also sponsored by the Wall Street Journal that we will talk about with former Reagan Education secretary Bill Bennett, but it’s a front page story in the journal about patriotism, religious faith, work effort and other traditional values are plunging in Joe Biden's America while it would appear that victimization and government entitlements are on the rise. 

In that sense, Ms. Mary Daly seems to be part of a national trend by ignoring traditional values of a bank examiner with big consequences. I hate to think about the rest of the population if victims are suddenly more important than rooting for underdogs, if stagnation is more important than growth.  

Yet another poll conducted by Scott Rassmussen is more hopeful. This one shows that a majority of Americans believe higher taxes and more regulations weakened social security and Medicare and that a strong economy would be the best way to deal with those big entitlements. Joe Biden is apparently entering in an "Investing in America" tour and I doubt very much if he is going to agree with the 63% who believe lower taxes and regulations will actually strengthen social security. 

Don't forget Mr. Biden's latest budget has big tax hikes for the so-called "rich" in order to finance social security and Medicare, exactly the reverse of the polling data and good policy. Ironically the left-of-center Brookings Tax Policy Center just came out with a report that showed 111 million taxpayers making less than $400,000 a year will see tax hikes next year. 


Biden speaking at White House

President Joe Biden speaks about the banking system in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Mar. 13, 2023.  (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik / AP Images)

Exactly the reverse of Joe Biden's promise and then another beauty, Goldman Sachs over the weekend came out with a report showing that the misnamed "Inflation Reduction Act" will actually cost over 3 times the government estimates because of massive investment tax credits for green climate change projects. 

That bill is going to cost $1.2 trillion, thereby blowing up Biden’s phony debt reduction. Somehow or other I still blame a Biden administration in decline. I don't really want to say America is in decline, but I do fret and I will say for the umpteenth time, we need leadership that will be a guardian for economic growth and prosperity and then good old-fashioned values will soon return to a more confident America. 

This article is adapted from Larry Kudlow’s opening commentary on the March 27, 2023, edition of "Kudlow."