Out-of-Touch Liberals Try to Spin Inflation

SEN. BARRASSO: Joe Biden can’t hide from the fact that he’s the president of high gas prices. And they’re looking for anyone to blame, whether it’s Putin, whether it’s Republicans, whether it’s the energy companies, whether it’s covid. The Democrats have a very big problem with 40-year-high inflation, highest gas prices ever. When Joe Biden came into office, it was $2.38 a gallon for gasoline. American families paid a thousand dollars more, George, for energy last year than the year before. And on polling last week, 70% of Americans say more American oil and gas and less emphasis on climate.

BUCK: “Less emphasis on climate.” That’s Senator John Barrasso there. He gets it. That’s what has led to the otherwise inexplicably self-defeating and absurd policies around energy that the Democrats are always pushing, for which the only upside is the fight against the imagery war with CO2 that we’re supposed to be waging all the time. But it really hurts families. A thousand dollars in extra energy costs.

The all-time-high gas price in this country was hit last week. Gas prices are down, I think, down 7¢ from last week now, but still very high, which means all the products you buy are quite expensive, and the things that you need are going to be taking a bigger bite out of your budget. All across the country, this is reality. Now, there are two ways they’re going to go at this, because they recognize they’ve got a big problem going into the midterms.

When the economy is crappy and people are feeling the effects of high inflation — increasingly people are talking about “stagflation,” Clay, and maybe even a looming recession depending on what economic growth is this quarter. When that’s happening you don’t have a lot of folks excited to go vote for the party that’s in power that’s made a lot of bad decisions. So, what’s Elizabeth Warren offering on this? Well, this is actually a flashback to March 13th, she’s on MSNBC. You’ll hear more about this. “It’s those big greedy corporations.”

WARREN: Senator Whitehouse and I and others have introduced a windfall profits tax, that says if you’re out there price gouging, you’re going to have to give up a big chunk of your ill-gotten gains. That’s the best way I know to be able to push back against these oil companies.

BUCK: This isn’t like Democratic Western European socialism so much. It’s sort of like straight-up Venezuela Maduro socialism for Elizabeth Warren. Your greedy company, Clay, your greedy company, the profits are too high so we’re just going to take it from you.

CLAY: Again, how do you define what a windfall profit is? That is a massive difficulty that would be ripe for exploitation. Right? Let’s say these oil and gas companies are making more money. Again, I go back to the Democrats not really understanding how business works, because so much of what they say is, “They made this much money and they only pay this much tax.” The tax code is broken. Let’s say that. I’m a long-term believer. You and I are pretty smart people, right, in the grand scheme of things. I have no idea how to do my taxes at this point.

BUCK: I have none.

CLAY: Zero.

BUCK: Yeah.

CLAY: There are so many different moving parts. I give everything to my accountant, and I say, “Handle it. Let me know what I need to write a check for. Let me know if I am getting a refund.” I have no earthly idea. I guarantee you the vast majority of people out there who are in any way involved in owning a business or trying to run one, it’s broken.

So this idea of a windfall profits tax is broken at inception because our tax code really should be — and this is one of those things Steve Forbes got right back in the day. You should be able to pay your taxes by filing like a postcard, right? Everybody should understand what they’re paying. Everybody should pay, in my opinion — in an ideal world we would all pay — a flat tax. We would know exactly what we owe, there would be no complexity to it.

I have zero confidence in the Democratic Party which doesn’t understand basic business right now, being able to try to make the oil and gas industry better when the reason why we’re not producing as much oil and gas as we possibly could, Buck, is because they already have regulated us away from being able to do that. So now when you challenge these oil and gas companies, you’re going to further dis-incentivise them from producing more oil and gas! That’s actually what the impact of this would be.

BUCK: So you have the demonized the corporations, which is what you were just talking about, taking their windfall profits tax and all this stuff. That’s one option for the Democrats, because the “make things better economically, get out of the way, less regulation, push for fossil fuel energy production to be an absolute maximum in this country,” Democrats ain’t going to do that. That’s not going to happen.

So they’re looking at going into a midterm with a weak economy and people upset understandably about it. On the one hand, Clay, they have the class warfare angle, which Elizabeth Warren — multimillionaire Elizabeth Warren, — is great at playing, “I care so much about you.” She’s worth, like $14 million herself. The other one is, “Buy a Tesla, peasants,” or in this case, “Eat some lentils and take the bus, peasants.”

This was amazing. Bloomberg opinion, first of all, with the Captain Obvious award for Bloomberg opinion for the last month, maybe forever. This is from the piece: “Inflation stings most if you earn less than $300,000 a year.” Yeah, you don’t say? “Here’s how to deal with it.” It turns out millionaires care less, Clay, and even half millionaires care less about inflation than people working for wages for under 300K.

Here is how they say to “deal with it,” and I’m serious. I’m actually reading to you from a Bloomberg opinion piece here, everybody: “Take the bus. Don’t buy in bulk. Try lentils instead of meat. Nobody said this would be fun.” This is the elites who think they understand economics are, like (summarized), “Put that cheeseburger down, peasant. Inflation is running high. Plus, the carbon emissions from the cow are too high. Eat your lentil patty in silence!”

CLAY: Here also is a bad idea of why every journalist just about shouldn’t live in New York City and LA or San Francisco. Because to them $300,000… You know this, Buck. If you live in New York City, like $300,000 in New York City is a lot of money, but you aren’t rich if you have $300,000 in New York City. If you make $300,000 in 99% of the places that people live in the United States, you’re doing really, really well for yourself.

But you have this idiot journalist, I don’t even know how they picked $300,000. Do you agree with that, Buck? You can see how a journalist in New York could be, oh, you’re not super rich. If you’re listening to us right now in Birmingham, Alabama or you’re listening to us right now in Louisville, Kentucky or in Salt Lake City, $300,000? You’re living pretty well on $300,000. In New York City, a journalist might be thinking, “Oh, you’re not that rich on 300K,” and it just makes you so out of touch in terms of how the vast majority of Americans are living.

BUCK: They’ve done studies, and the listeners on our WOR family in the New York tri-state area already knows this. If you’re living in New York City, whatever your income is compared to other cities across the country — with a handful of exceptions, San Francisco.


BUCK: LA. But if you’re living in New York City compared to, say, Oklahoma City, whatever your income is, goes half as far. So if you make $100,000 a year in New York City, you live like somebody who makes $50,000 in Oklahoma City or in Salt Lake City, et cetera. To give folks a sense of how big that disparity is. But New York and D.C. are expensive cities, so the journo class has a skewed view of being well off and being able to pay your bills looks like.

CLAY: No doubt, and there’s no doubt that the people who have the most to lose from inflation are the people who have to spend all the money that they earn to live, because you’re actually seeing the price come out of your paycheck. I was talking with my father-in-law about this. He was at the house over the weekend while Lara, my wife, and I were traveling, and he was saying every single thing he buys…

He owns a meat-packing plant in the Detroit area. Every single thing he’s buying, the prices have skyrocketed. He’s like, trays — the metal trays that used to cost nothing. The cost for those now, for instance, in his business, are going through the roof. It’s wild. I know a lot of small business owners out there are feeling the impact here and a windfall profits tax is not going to make anything better.