Attacking Democrats and the American Rescue Plan for inflation is bad politics


I’m tired of seeing the attack ads that blame Democrats for inflation.

The primary inflation driver is price gouging by the oil industry, major corporations and their monopolies. Corporate profits are at a 70-year high. The Guardian notes that profits rose 35% during 2021 to early 2022 to their highest level since 1950, while inflation rose to 8.5%. In 2021, CEO earnings increased at a rate that was four times greater than that of the average worker. More than 50% of consumer price inflation is due to profit inflation. Without that, price increases would be tracking wage growth.

Instead of blaming Democrats because a tiny fraction of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds for pandemic relief were possibly misspent by some state and local governments, Republicans should applaud the bill – as they spend the funds – because it was an overwhelming success.

For families and individuals in the bottom half of U.S. households economically, the ARP massively helped, and in many cases, saved lives. It paid for the enormous COVID vaccination program, which was just getting off the ground. It sent lifesaving checks to Americans. It extended unemployment insurance and food assistance, strengthening the safety net at precisely the time people were falling through it. In September 2021, families’ cash balances were 40%-70% higher than they were pre-pandemic. This is true for all families, but especially for low-income families and those with children. When consumers spend less, the economy contracts. The ARP directed funds and critical support to those in the greatest need, which put the country on track for an historic recovery. Without the ARP, the U.S. would have been more at risk of a painful recession.

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Despite these successes, Republicans in Congress refused to extend most of ARP’s benefits, just as they opposed its initial enactment. The child tax credit lapsed at the end of 2021 and 3.7 million children fell into poverty, which resulted in 40% increase in the rate of child poverty.

Michael Orange

Michael Orange

When I served as a combat Marine in Vietnam, I swore to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That oath never expired, and I’ve continued to honor it through my 30-year career in government service and for the past sixteen years in my own environmental consulting business.

Republicans in Congress took the same solemn oath, but they dishonor it by doing big corporations’ bidding on price-gouging and taxes. They oppose every bill Democrats propose that helps working people, or strengthens the economy, or reduces income inequality, or cuts taxes on working people and raises them on the super-rich, or addresses climate change and protects the environment, or preserves our voting rights.

As a veteran and a small business owner, I’m voting blue on Nov. 8.

Michael Orange is an environmental consultant and Vietnam, Marine veteran who lives in West St. Paul.


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