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January 17, 2022

Good morning, and happy Monday! Two brothers were reunited last week after the India-Pakistan partition separated them for over 70 years. Their parents had each occupied one side of the divide in the summer of 1947 when Great Britain created both dominions. A video shared on social media helped bring them back together.

Plus, a California town is considering the use of green lasers to address a recent crow infestation, angering animal rights activists. This is after trained falcons and reflectors placed in trees failed to solve the problem.

Flag Polls


ab521640-e2ad-6400-4ea0-8848d603c575.png 1/14: Biden Job Approval, Rasmussen Reports Approve 38, Disapprove 60
ab521640-e2ad-6400-4ea0-8848d603c575.png 1/12: Congress Job Approval, Economist/YouGov Approve 17, Disapprove 62
D 1/12: Generic Congress Vote, Economist/YouGov Republicans 37,
Democrats 42
ab521640-e2ad-6400-4ea0-8848d603c575.png 1/12: Direction of Country, Economist/YouGov Right Track 30,
Wrong Track 60

Trending On The Left


SLATE: The Supreme Court Had No Legal Reason to Block Biden’s Workplace Vaccine Rules

WaPo: Ohio Supreme Court rejects GOP-drawn congressional map as unfairly partisan

Huff Post: Maddow Exposes Trump Groups' Shady Scheme To Overturn Biden's Win

CNN: WH says Biden was not comparing segregationists to opponents of voting rights bills

Trending On The Right


DW: Unvaccinated Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Fined For Not Wearing Mask At Mavericks Game

Fox News: Floridians respond to flyers telling 'woke' New Yorkers to stay out of Sunshine State

BreitbartBiden’s 24 Hours of Hell. How Low Can Joe’s Presidency Go?

Wash ExaminerCNN buries inflation news with nearly three times more Jan. 6 coverage

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INFLATION

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Over the past 12 months, inflation hit its highest level in 40 years. Government officials and pundits are now attempting to address the problem and come up with a solution.

From The Left: “Stripping out food and energy costs, which tend to be more volatile even in non-pandemic times, inflation rose to 5.5% between December 2020 and December 2021 -- the biggest annual jump since February 1991. That was a much faster pace than in November, when core inflation stood at 4.9%." (CNN)

From The Right: “The Labor Department said Thursday that its producer price index, which measures inflation at the wholesale level before it reaches consumers, surged 9.7% in December from the year-ago period. It marked the highest figure on record since the government began tracking the data in 2010." (Fox Business)

From The Flag: As everyone comes to grips with ongoing price hikes, here’s the take from both sides.

LEFT-LEANING SENTIMENT

White House Must Reframe Inflation Debate


Commentary from the left illustrates how difficult it is to nail down the reasons for inflation and find effective solutions. Some argue the White House is falling short in explaining the problem while tying the issue to supply chain challenges and some element of corporate greed. Others openly wonder if Nixon-era “price controls” could make a comeback.

"The White House once again offers a bizarre message on inflation" Editorial Board, The Washington Post: "President Biden is facing mounting criticism for inflation’s rise to its highest level since 1982. Unfortunately, the White House’s latest response is to blame greedy businesses. Economists across the political spectrum are rightly calling out the White House for this foolishness. Even some within the White House are questioning this approach. ... Inflation, which was relatively low for years, did not suddenly rise in recent months because businesses decided now was the ideal time to squeeze their customers. What actually happened is that demand soared for many products as the economy recovered. Often, there were not enough products to meet it, thanks to supply chain hiccups and labor shortages, so prices went up. In a surprise to many, consumers kept buying goods such as cars and washing machines even at higher prices."

"Report debunks Joe Manchin's inflation argument against Build Back Better" Jake Johnson, Salon: "Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has repeatedly claimed that the Build Back Better Act would exacerbate rising inflation. But a new report published Wednesday by the congressional Joint Economic Committee (JEC) argues that Democrats' 10-year, $1.75 trillion reconciliation package would actually relieve inflationary pressures on the economy by slashing the sky-high costs of child care, prescription drugs, housing, and other basic necessities. 'By addressing the threat of climate change,’ the report adds, ‘the bill would reduce the role of fossil fuel price spikes and extreme weather in driving future inflation, insulating the economy from key sources of price spikes ... just as occurred in 2021.' ... Economists have also pushed back on the argument that the Build Back Better package would worsen inflation, which experts say has been fueled by a range of factors, from pandemic-related supply chain disruptions to corporate profiteering."

"Price Controls Set Off Heated Debate as History Gets a Second Look" Ben Casselman and Jeanna Smialek, The New York Times: "America’s recent inflation spike has prompted renewed interest in an idea that many economists and policy experts thought they had long ago left behind for good: price controls.” Keep reading.

RIGHT-LEANING SENTIMENT

Inflation Is Here To Stay, And Biden Helped


Right-leaning commentators think inflation is likely to persist and largely blame labor shortages, persistent demand, near-term inflation, and the pandemic for the issue at hand. From an economics perspective, proposed solutions include drastically reducing spending while increasing interest rates. Finally, some point fingers at President Biden due to last year’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package and its perceived role in overheating the economy.

"Four Reasons to Keep Worrying About Inflation" Jason Furman, The Wall Street Journal op-ed: "Those who imagine that inflation will be lower argue that the huge burst of fiscal policy is behind us, supply chains will unsnarl, consumers will shift from buying goods to services, workers will return, and prices for commodities like oil will continue to fall. Some of their arguments are overstated, while others are likely wrong. And if we focus only on reasons that inflation should be lower in 2022, we risk ignoring four countervailing forces that will push toward higher inflation this year. First, the economy is beginning 2022 with much tighter labor markets than a year ago. Over the two decades before the pandemic, the best predictor of year-ahead inflation was the quits rate—the number of people who quit their jobs as a percentage of total employment. It is now far and away the highest it has ever been."

"The experts are finally grasping the real reason for inflation. Now, it’s time to act." Henry Olsen, The Washington Post: "Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell told the Senate this week that he envisions the central bank raising interest rates early this year to stem inflation, something he ruled out last year when prices first started to rise. Last year, Americans were told inflation was temporary ... But Powell is finally acknowledging the truth: 'What we have now ... is a mismatch between demand and supply.' ... There are only two ways for this to end. The first is to stop pumping money into the economy ... The second is to constrain consumer spending by raising interest rates. This makes holding cash more attractive and dampens demand. But it also slows economic activity. Done too strenuously, it can throw an economy into recession. That fear has kept the Fed from raising rates thus far."

"Now Biden’s given America the worst inflation in 40 years” Editorial Board, The New York Post: "The prez and his party can no longer escape blame for the Bidenflation Tax, which hits poorer Americans hardest ... Dems last year unilaterally pumped $1.9 trillion into an economy that was already rebounding." Keep reading.

FLAG THIS

Americans Sound Off On Rising Prices


From The Flag: As inflationary pressures have come into focus over the past month, a number of media outlets have approached US residents to hear their take.

Polling from The Left: Respondents were asked to rank economic issues from most to least severe, with 8 out of 10 ranking inflation as their top concern. Exactly 30% believe President Biden’s policies are helping the situation, while 45% feel the opposite is true (CNN/SSRS).

Polling from The Right: Similarly, 47% of those polled in a separate survey think President Biden's policies are harming efforts to wrangle inflation. Close to 40% list inflation as the economy's most pressing issue, while 46% say the president's proposed social spending bill would push inflation even higher (Fox Business).

Flag Poll: How has inflation impacted your finances, if at all? Join the discussion here.

US & WORLD

Suspect Dead in TX Hostage Situation, Family Marks MLK Jr. Day with March, Djokovic Deported from Australia

Washington Times: King’s eldest son, Martin Luther King III; his wife, Arndrea Waters King; and their daughter, Yolanda Renee King, are leading a march on Martin Luther King Jr. Day across the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge in D.C. at 10 a.m. before joining the city’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Peace Walk.

ABC: A 10-hour-long hostage situation at a synagogue in the Dallas-Fort Worth area came to a conclusion late Saturday with all of the hostages safe and the suspect dead, law enforcement officials said.

ESPN: Novak Djokovic's final bid to avoid deportation and play in the Australian Open despite being unvaccinated against COVID-19 ended Sunday when a court unanimously dismissed the No. 1-ranked tennis player's challenge of a government minister's decision to cancel his visa.

New York Times: Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. surgeon general, warned on Sunday that the Omicron surge of coronavirus cases had not yet peaked nationally, saying that the next few weeks would be very difficult in many parts of the country as hospitalizations and deaths rise.

Reuters: Airlines canceled over 2,700 US flights on Sunday as a winter storm combining high winds and ice was poised to hit the US East Coast over the holiday weekend.

KSL: Netflix has raised its monthly subscription price by $1 to $2 per month in the United States depending on the plan, the company said on Friday, to help pay for new programming to compete in the crowded streaming TV market.

WATERCOOLER

Hawaiian Kingdom Ends, Italians Avoided Pizza, Guy Fierri

On January 17, 1893, on the Hawaiian Islands, a group of American sugar planters under Sanford Ballard Dole overthrow Queen Liliuokalani, the Hawaiian monarch, and establish a new provincial government with Dole as president. Above is a signed photograph of Liliuokalani, the last sovereign of the Hawaiian kingdom.

Food52Italians Avoided Pizza for Centuries—Tourism Changed Everything

Popular Science5 nutrition goals that are better than weight loss

WaPoStop auto-correct from ducking up

Today I Learned Guy Fieri invites Make-A-Wish families to every taping of 'Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives'

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