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Economy

Winter Woes Cause Democratic Strategists to Panic

Democrats are concerned that their party is not going to be able to convince America that they should remain in the White House. 

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Amid supply chain bottlenecks, labor shortages, rising gas prices, and the threat of an increase in coronavirus cases, Democrats are concerned that their party is not going to be able to convince America that they should remain in the White House. 

According to an article from The Hill, “[T]he White House and Democrats have struggled to sell their accomplishments, stirring worries within the party.” A Democratic strategist interviewed by The Hill shared, “‘The White House needs to figure out how to effectively communicate what it’s trying to do or people will lose faith.’”

Needing to assure Americans that they are responding effectively to the obstacles we will face this winter, the White House has a tough challenge ahead of them. Some Democratic strategists are uneasy about the prospects that the Democratic party will be able to maintain support given some of their recent election losses. 

The Hill reports, “It all adds up to a difficult winter and potentially troublesome holiday season for President Biden, who already has seen his approval numbers drop amid a challenging few months for his administration. Fears that Biden’s party could lose the House and Senate in next year’s midterms are also up after a disappointing showing in last week’s elections in Virginia and New Jersey.”

Scrambling to find some good news to report, the White House seems to be putting all of their hope in the $1 trillion infrastructure bill. 

“Biden suggested in a speech on Saturday that the infrastructure bill would ultimately help relieve supply chain bottlenecks by allowing companies to get goods to market more quickly. He also said the public would begin to feel the impacts of the bill ‘within the next two to three months’ as people are hired to work on new projects it funds. It’s unclear how long it will take the infrastructure bill to have any impacts on supply chains, however.”

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has prepared his excuse if the bill fails to make any real changes having stated on Monday that “‘[t]he best way to end a pandemic-related shortage is to end the pandemic, and that’s why the vaccine push is so important.’”

Still, the threat of a difficult winter for Americans is a resounding alarm for those worried about being able to heat their homes and get household necessities, let alone being able to traditionally celebrate the upcoming holidays. Failing to relieve the hardships Americans may face is likely to sink President Biden’s approval ratings even lower. 

“Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm acknowledged Sunday on CNN that Americans will see higher heating bills this coming winter. She also said that Biden is considering tapping into the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve to address rising fuel prices.” Although the White House claims to have a slew of options for taking action in response to the situation, they failed to provide any details on the steps they are considering regarding this matter. Though some are predicting there will be progress, others still remain pessimistic. 

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Economy

Biden Calls On FTC To Investigate Oil Companies Over Rising Gas Prices

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Gas Prices

President Biden has called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate oil and gas companies over rising fuel prices, suggesting that the companies may be engaging in illegal conduct that results in the rising prices – despite Biden consistently enacting policies that restrict the domestic production of oil since entering office.

“I am writing to call your attention to mounting evidence of anti-consumer behavior by oil and gas companies,” the letter said. “The bottom line is this: gasoline prices at the pump remain high, even though oil and gas companies’ costs are declining. The Federal Trade Commission has authority to consider whether illegal conduct is costing families at the pump. I believe you should do so immediately.”

The letter added, “prices at the pump have continued to rise, even as refined fuel costs go down and industry profits go up. Usually, prices at the pump correspond to movements in the price of unfinished gasoline, which is the main ingredient in the gas people buy at the gas station. But in the last month, the price of unfinished gasoline is down more than 5 percent while gas prices at the pump are up 3 percent in that same period. This unexplained large gap between the price of unfinished gasoline and the average price at the pump is well above the pre-pandemic average. Meanwhile, the largest oil and gas companies in America are generating significant profits off higher energy prices.”

Gas prices have reached their highest level since 2014, and are currently about 50% higher than they were when Biden entered office.

“U.S. gasoline prices in October averaged $3.38 per gallon while U.S. oil prices averaged $81.48 per barrel, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration,” the Wall Street Journal reported. “The last time U.S. gas prices reached similar levels in October 2014—$3.25 per gallon—U.S. oil prices were $81.40 per barrel. U.S. oil production sharply increased since last year to about 11.5 million barrels per day, according to the EIA, but is still well below pre-pandemic levels of around 13 million barrels per day.”

The letter comes after the Biden administration confirmed that it is considering shutting down an oil pipeline in Michigan, which would place further pressure on fuel prices to rise.

“Revoking the permits for the [Line 5] pipeline that delivers oil from western Canada across Wisconsin, the Great Lakes and Michigan and into Ontario, would please environmentalists who have urged the White House to block fossil fuel infrastructure, but it would aggravate a rift with Canada and could exacerbate a spike in energy prices that Republicans are already using as a political weapon,” Politico Pro reported. “Killing a pipeline while U.S. gasoline prices are the highest in years could be political poison for Biden, who has seen his approval rating crash in recent months.”

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Economy

Thanksgiving Dinner Will Be 14% More Expensive This Year

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Thanksgiving

As President Biden’s inflation crisis continues to worsen, the average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner will be 14% more this year than last year, according to the Farm Bureau.

The Farm Bureau noted, “The average cost of this year’s classic Thanksgiving feast for 10 is $53.31 or less than $6.00 per person. This is a $6.41 or 14% increase from last year’s average of $46.90. The centerpiece on most Thanksgiving tables – the turkey – costs more than last year, at $23.99 for a 16-pound bird. That’s roughly $1.50 per pound, up 24% from last year.”

Farm Bureau used ‘volunteer shoppers’ to check the prices from Oct. 26 to Nov. 8, about two weeks before most grocery store chains started lowering the price of whole frozen turkeys.

“Several factors contributed to the increase in average cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner,” AFBF Senior Economist Veronica Nigh explained. “These include dramatic disruptions to the U.S. economy and supply chains over the last 20 months; inflationary pressure throughout the economy; difficulty in predicting demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and high global demand for food, particularly meat… The trend of consumers cooking and eating at home more often due to the pandemic led to increased supermarket demand and higher retail food prices in 2020 and 2021, compared to pre-pandemic prices in 2019.”

According to the Department of Labor, U.S. inflation has hit its highest annual rate in more than 30 years in October. The consumer price index, a key inflation metric, increased 6.2% from October 2020 to October 2021, the fastest annual rate since 1990. In the month of October alone, inflation surged 0.9% compared to the 0.6% economists expected, according to CNBC.

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