Editorials, Opinion

Before GOP blames Biden, it should look in the mirror

Rep. David McKinley recently sent out a press release titled, “President Biden’s Year of Crisis, Failure,” with this quote blaming the president for “a rising 40-year high inflation rate … on top of higher gas and energy prices, a supply chain shortage leaving store shelves bare, a stagnating workforce and no solutions for the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

We’ll be the first to admit that Biden’s inaugural year hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows, but congressional Republicans complaining about Biden accomplishing nothing is like someone punching you in the face, then blaming you for it.

Republicans like McKinley have stonewalled the president and congressional Democrats at every single turn, even over legislation or policy that would benefit the entire nation.

In his press release, McKinley points to Biden’s failure to “shut down” the COVID-19 pandemic — as if Republicans haven’t made being anti-mask and anti-vax a core part of their political ideology over the last two years.

Republican state attorneys general just took the Biden administration to court to block the OSHA vaccine mandate, which is an endeavor McKinley and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito supported. Our state Legislature is entertaining multiple bills aimed at restricting mask and vaccine rules, as well as forcing physicians and pharmacies to prescribe unproven or debunked COVID “treatments.”

A single person — no matter how much authority they hold — cannot “shut down” a pandemic when a significant portion of the country refuses to take any of the steps necessary to end the spread and lawmakers actively work to undermine public health and safety measures.

As for McKinley’s other points …

Inflation is at a record high, but economists can’t agree on what is causing it. Some insist that all the pandemic relief money pumped into the economy caused demand to outpace supply and prices to skyrocket; others are sure that the government investments and stimulus funds are the only reason many Americans have been able to keep their heads above water. But one thing can’t be disputed: Billionaires got 35% richer during the first year of the pandemic and corporate profits topped $2.7 trillion in the quarter ending Sept. 30.

As for the bare shelves, we may just now be feeling the effects from the early days of the pandemic, when COVID ravaged the essential workforce and caused shutdowns in multiple sectors. Delays at one end of the supply chain don’t always cause immediate effects on the other end; instead, the delays may travel like ripples, and it might be a while before a snag on the manufacturing end has a noticeable impact on the consumer side.

Despite the negativity surrounding the economic situation, it should be noted the U.S. added 6.4 million jobs in 2021 (more than 25% of the jobs lost in 2020). Last year ended with unemployment at a much lower percentage than economists expected for the end of the first full pandemic year.

The “stagnating workforce” McKinley pins on Biden is likely the result of “The Great Resignation.” After years of young people being told that if they want a living wage, decent benefits, health insurance and respect then they should find a job better than retail or fast food, they finally did. Or, they decided they aren’t willing to risk their lives working the front lines of consumerism as they job hunt.

It’s not uncommon for presidents to be blamed for things outside their control. However, virtually everything McKinley and Republicans blame Biden for can be traced back to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic — which is “ongoing” largely because of Republican efforts.