It was quite the spectacle. Pres. Joe Biden threw a White House lawn party September 13 to celebrate the “Inflation Reduction Act” (IRA). The timing deliberately coincided with the release of the new Consumer Price Index (CPI) numbers, the first since the ridiculously named Act passed four weeks prior. Those numbers showed that food prices had risen by 0.8 percent in the past month, as had medical services. They were tempered by a 10.6 percent decline in gasoline prices, but the overall 0.1 percent increase had overturned expectations of a ulasan film decline.
Over the past year, the CPI showed year-over-year inflation was at 8.3 percent, sustaining an intolerably high level not seen in four decades. Year-over-year core inflation was at 6.3 percent, also higher than expected.
“This bill cut costs for families, helped reduce inflation at the kitchen table, because that’s what they look at — how much are their monthly bills and how much do they have to pay out for their necessities,” the President said.
CNN could no longer endure it, quickly cutting out as the network split screen showed the Dow down over 1,200 points while the president whooped it up. It ended up being the worst day for stocks in over two years, since June 2020.
To kick the party off, the President brought on folk singer James Taylor to serenade the crowd with his gentle dirge about a friend’s suicide, his own heroin addiction, and his time in a mental institute. An ode to self-destruction seemed oddly appropriate for the moment, plus it was probably easier than getting Billy Joel to do a fast rewrite, “We Really Started a Fire.”
That morning the White House had apparently decided their word for the IRA would be “historic.” In the press briefing earlier that day White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre used the term several times to describe the bill. Biden used it in his remarks as well.
Rote repetition of “historic” was clearly meant to impress, but White House press gullibility notwithstanding, the word is not in and of itself a synonym of “beneficial.” The IRA is certainly not beneficial to the American people. Plus, anyone familiar with the Great Depression (and the work of J.K. Rowling) would note that other, deeply harmful legislation can properly be called “historic.” For example, the Smoot-Hawley Tariff, the National Industrial Recovery Act, and the Agricultural Adjustment Act were all historic. Terrible, yes, but historic.