With America going into the midterm election, several key issues collide as both the republicans and the ruling Democratic Party confront headwinds. It is a contentious fight with important economic issues taking precedence over the democratic rights of citizens as inflation bites deeper into the American poor and middle class in the absence of federal stimulus checks.
Both the Democrats and the Republicans realize that inflation has turned into the preeminent political issue with weeks to go for the midterms. Even in spring, the leak of a Supreme Court draft suggested that SCOTUS was preparing to dump Roe v. Wade. It appeared to upend election calculation, but the focus has shifted to crime, immigration, education, health care, jobs, and more importantly record inflation.
Inflation has been the overriding issue for the past year and a half. It was immediately after the March 2021 signing of the American Rescue Plan Act that prices began creeping up and crossed nearly a percentage point each point to end the year above the 7% mark.
Inflation And The Stimulus Check
By this time the support of the stimulus checks had ended as the last of the extended unemployment stimulus checks and the enhanced Child Tax Credit stimulus check was sent out. By January 2022, the federal payments had come to a halt and despite attempts by Biden, the Republicans refused to concede ground in a split Senate.
The rate has stayed constantly above the 8% mark and even breached the 9% mark in June to end at 9.1%. it is the highest since November 1981 and prices have hurt Americans with even the middle class affected in a nation not used to abstinence to cut costs.
as gasoline prices almost doubled from pre-pandemic levels, Americans, the highest per capita consumers of gasoline in the world, at over 400 gallons a year, were spending a substantial part of their income on just traveling to and from work.
The Republicans meanwhile, continue to focus on the economy, particularly on inflation. The Republican election machinery has also succeeded in selling the narrative to voters that the third stimulus check was responsible solely for the spike in inflation as the rise in prices coincided with the declaration of the economic impact payment at the end of the first quarter in 2021, with the signing of the American Rescue Plan Act.
Top of the mind for American voters going into the November midterms is inflation, with preserving democracy coming in a distant second. The overall figures for what assails Americans at this moment show that 30% of voters consider inflation as the leading issue followed by 20% for preserving democracy. abortion comes in third at 14% while Healthcare, crime, and immigration are single-digit figures.
The inflation issue overshadows other economic success stories that the Biden administration would like to talk about, chiefly the low unemployment rate and the number of jobs created. Biden must also be commended for preventing a deep recession after the pandemic, something that seemed inevitable then.
The American Rescue Plan Act pumped in billion not just as direct stimulus checks to individuals and families. While the direct infusion of funds ensured that people had money to put food on the table, pay their bills, and retain their homes, it also ensured that there was enough money floating around to prevent a deep recession.
People had enough purchasing power and this ensured that instead of a slump in the demand for goods, the economy instead was faced with the prospect of a shortage of goods. The strong purchasing power of the low and moderate-income groups with the infusion of stimulus check funds ensured a high demand for goods that the post-pandemic economy was unable to fulfill.
This led to a rise in the price of certain goods and in a way contributed to inflation. But there have been other overriding factors including the war in Europe, and the massive disruption in the world supply chain following the pandemic.
People at the moment think that the Republicans would do a better job at handling the economy. But people seem to forget that the Republicans have done a good job of ensuring that the Corporate Tax Rate for around 60 billionaire companies continues to stay at zero, which has a massive negative effect on the economy.
They feel that Biden’s policies have made the economy weaker and an overwhelming majority, close to two-thirds, think the country is in a recession.
Nearly 7 out of 10 Americans disapprove of the way President Biden has handled the inflation issue. 50% of Americans say they trust that the Republicans will better handle the issue, compared with 31% who say that the Democrats are doing a better job.
California Continues Into Its Second Round Of Inflation Relief Stimulus Checks
The Middle-Class Tax Rebate payments continue to be sent as the Golden State seeks to alleviate the woes of residents hit hard by rising prices, especially gasoline prices. Gas prices in California continue to be the highest in the country, almost double the national average.
It has been over 3 weeks since payments of the inflation relief stimulus checks began going out to residents. Gov. Newsom has fallen back on his massive budget surplus of $97 billion to issue direct inflation relief payments between October and mid-January through the California Franchise Tax Board (CFTB).
The tax rebate will provide families up to $1,050 to 23 million families in California. That is almost 60% of the nearly 40 million population of the state.
Residents who received the Golden State stimulus check I or II online were the first to receive this third round of state stimulus checks. They will be followed by residents who filed online. People who filed paper-tax returns for 2020 will get debit cards that will experience postal delays of around 2 weeks.
The highest amount will go out to joint filers with an AGI of $150,000 or less in 2020 and who have included at least one dependent in their filing. Filers with an individual AGI above $250,000 and joint filers earning above $500,000 will not receive the Middle-Class Tax Rebate.
The state tax board said that it expects to send 90% of the direct transfer payments by one month from the starting date.