This commentary is by Paul Dame, chair of the Vermont GOP.
Democrats and the mainstream media want to focus on anything other than the economy. We saw this on display in last week’s VPR debates. In both Republican debates for U.S. House and U.S. Senate there was not one question that could be remotely construed as a question about the economy or inflation, and during the Democratic debates there was one question about gas prices, which was used across the board by Democrats to talk about what an “opportunity” the high prices were to forcibly move people off fossil fuels.
Last week the national average price of a gallon of gasoline went over $5 for the first time in history, and many Vermonters saw it at $5.09 over the weekend. This is the one issue that is on the top of nearly every Vermonter’s mind, and whether they think about it or not, it affects every one of us. Even if you drive a Tesla and aren’t feeling the pain at your own pump, you can be sure that those costs are still making its way to you through every Amazon delivery truck that still runs in diesel.
Inflation is a new national layer on top of Vermonters’ already difficult affordability problem. Democrats control the U.S. Congress and Senate as well as the Presidency, and in Vermont they have a near super majority in the Vermont House and Senate. Democrats have no one else to blame than themselves.
That’s why Democrats want to talk about abortion, guns, racism, Trump or literally anything that will divert your attention from your every day experiences. If our attention is elsewhere, it’s harder for reasonable voters to ask reasonable questions about this massive problem that is affecting literally everyone, instead of issues that have highly charged minorities on either extreme.
In the early ’80s Republican President Ronald Reagan inherited a terrible inflation problem, but he went after it tenaciously, which provides clues to us as to why Democrat policy is uniquely to blame for our current situation, and why they are ill-equipped to right the ship without adopting a more Republican approach to government.
President Reagan actually whipped inflation unlike previous Republican primary opponent Ford, who used a clever slogan, but the same bad medicine Carter would prescribe. First Reagan appointed a Fed Reserve chair that wasn’t afraid to increase interest rates. Biden might luck out with a Fed chair who might reluctantly raise interest rates, but is trying to avoid it at all costs. The second thing Regan did was massively cut regulations. By cutting economic regulations it allowed more businesses to offer more products on the market, and grew the economy to catch up to the grown money supply.
Inflation happens when too much money is chasing too few goods. This is a systemic problem with Democrat ideology because their two favorite words are “spend” and “regulate.” When both of these things happen at the same time, there is more money in the economy and then fewer things to spend it on.
In Vermont we run the risk of worsening the housing crisis for this same reason. We are giving away a lot of money for “affordable housing” projects, but if we don’t change the regulatory environment that makes it expensive to provide new housing, it will just make prices go even higher. You will end up with more money chasing the same number of houses. It doesn’t help that the money comes from State government instead of out-of-staters looking for a second home.
Democrat policy has created or worsened the largest problems facing the greatest number of Vermonters today; gas prices and housing. Voting for more of the same will give us exactly what we don’t want: more inflation with higher prices for fuel and housing. Democrats proved they are bent on making this problem worse, with their attempt to pass the Clean Heat Standard to raise home heating fuel prices even more. Republicans and their allies have the recipe that has a proven track record of beating some of the worst inflation our country has ever faced. But they need your help to get elected to put that policy in action so that Vermonters can get the relief they need.