CHRIS POWELL: Blumenthal plans his escape as inflation threatens Dems

Published on Wednesday, 2 March 2022 20:55

Are things getting so bad for the Democrats that even Connecticut's senior U.S. senator, Richard Blumenthal, is worried about winning re-election this year?

That might have been construed from the senator's silly pandering last week about gas taxes.

Blumenthal – for 20 years the "eternal general" who now, at age 76, is seeking a third six-year term in the Senate – called for suspending the federal gas tax, which is 18 cents per gallon. Because gas prices have risen dramatically in recent months, the senator said, people need immediate relief. Meanwhile, the senator added, the federal gas tax isn't needed because its revenue is dedicated to highways and the federal government has just appropriated billions of dollars for highways.

Blumenthal's rationale raised some big questions he didn't address.

That is, where did those billions of dollars for highways come from if not from federal gas taxes?

Mostly they were just created electronically from computer keystrokes.

And if finding money for highways is that easy, why has the country bothered with the federal gas tax in the first place – or, for that matter, with any taxes at all?

While the federal highway fund may not need any revenue, Blumenthal's colleague in Connecticut's congressional delegation, 1st District Rep. John B. Larson, might remind him that the Social Security Trust Fund is projected to be insolvent in another decade and might be glad to take whatever money the highway fund doesn't need.

But even if the federal gas tax is suspended as Blumenthal and other members of Congress propose, people still will be paying its equivalent. Most just won't understand how they pay, nor that they are already paying – through the devaluation of their money, the inflation tax on their wages and savings, which is already running at about 15% annually once the government's deceitful skewing of the data is corrected.

This inflation is largely a matter of the imbalance between government's money creation and national and – since the U.S. dollar is the world reserve currency – international production. Much more money lately has been created than goods and services have been produced.

Indeed, when it comes to government appropriations there is hardly any discussion anymore of where the money is to come from. It now is widely assumed that money is infinite, even as inflation screams that production is not.

Political responsibility for surging inflation is bipartisan, but since Democrats control the presidency and Congress, they will catch the blame. Blumenthal's pose on the gas tax shows he realizes this and is planning an escape.

A big part of the production problem is entirely a Democratic responsibility – the Biden administration's crippling of U.S. energy production in pursuit of "greener" energy even as "greener" energy isn't close to being ready to replace the oil and natural gas supplies that are being diminished.

The environmental fanaticism of the Democrats is feeding Russia's imperialism toward Ukraine and the other former Soviet satellite states in Eastern Europe. Western Europe has crippled its conventional energy production even more than the United States has and long has been heavily dependent on Russian natural gas, which can be cut off if its recipients get serious with economic penalties against Russia.

Meanwhile, since it has hampered its own energy production, the United States is unable to help Europe much at this crucial moment.

Until a few months ago Governor Lamont, a Democrat, and many Democratic state legislators sought to raise Connecticut's gas tax invisibly through a regional scheme to raise wholesale gas taxes without providing people with any transportation alternatives, though cars are a necessity for most in a state as suburban as Connecticut.

The explosion in gas prices and inflation has prompted the governor and those Democratic legislators to shelve their hidden gas tax idea. But the Democrats long have been Connecticut's tax-raising party and bear most responsibility for making the state so expensive to inhabit – and for what? Are the state's cities any less destitute and violent? Are its poor any more self-sufficient? Are its socially promoted children any better parented and educated?

Or is inflation the main result of policy on the state level too?

Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Column on Wednesday, 2 March 2022 20:55. Updated: Wednesday, 2 March 2022 20:57.