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Opinion

Is the worst epidemic of inflation over yet? The latest economic data released this week suggests just that. That leaves Republicans in a quandary: After deciding on all their midterm messages to get President Biden’s economic handling right, they may have little left to stand on.

According to The Post: “Prices eased again in November, rising 7.1 percent from a year earlier, the smallest year-over-year increase since last December. It rose 0.1 percent in October, beating analysts’ estimates. Also, core inflation rose just 0.2 percent, “the smallest increase since August 2021,” according to data released Tuesday morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

President Biden took the opportunity to brag about the data on Tuesday: “In a world where inflation is rising in double digits in many major economies around the world, inflation is coming down in America.” This serves as proof that “our economic plan is working,” he argued.

Biden highlighted 10.5 million jobs added during his presidency, including 750,000 in manufacturing. And now he has set goals for the economy that seem achievable: “Keep inflation under control without stifling economic growth.” It keeps inflation stable while keeping our labor market stable. Building an economy from the bottom up and from the middle.”

Republicans may prefer to credit the Federal Reserve rather than Biden for easing inflation. Or they could say that the economy will always stabilize itself if supply and demand return to normal. But that’s not the story they’ve been telling for over a year. According to GOP gospel, all that pandemic spending was a mistake, and Biden was driving the US economy into recession. Oh, and according to Republicans, Biden was responsible for the gas price hike.

So which one is right: Is Biden responsible for the economy or not? A more credible and accurate explanation is that Biden’s spending packages (such as investments in infrastructure, semiconductor manufacturing, and green energy) are not as inflationary as Republicans claim, and Biden’s support for an independent Federal Reserve, Jerome H. He helped lead the chair in price. Meanwhile, gas prices are simply a function of global markets, and are thankfully falling as the global economy slows.

Alas, Republicans aren’t into that kind of measured approach these days. They prefer to speak in apocalyptic terms and paint a false picture of the economy. (Everything was fine under Donald Trump!)

If the economy continues to improve, the GOP will have a few ideas left for its agenda. He could go back to supporting tax cuts for the rich, but that would be inflationary. It could attack Biden’s legislative achievements, such as prescription drug price caps, but those are popular. More drilling permits can be advocated, but oil companies are not using the public leases they already have.

Meanwhile, if the economy continues on this trajectory, any Democratic doubts about a second Biden term may disappear. He may even lose some of them. Republican Trump’s alternatives to running. A relatively young candidate like Florida Governor Ron DeSantis may not want to face a tough primary battle with Trump, but face a president with a strong economy.

For now, Biden and other Democrats can breathe a sigh of relief. Inflation is still high, but the outlook for 2023 looks sunnier than it has in some time.

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