The politics behind rising prices

Republicans and Democrats can’t agree on the best way to address America’s inflation issue


Arfa Saad

Inflation has caused the prices of homes, gas and other goods to drastically rise, and how to fix it has become a political debate among the Republicans and Democrats.

Like most topics today, inflation has become a polarizing issue in politics, with each major party deflecting the blame back on to the other.
Republican politicians have argued that Democrats are making the problem worse by spending too much money.
Democrats, on the other hand, argue such spending is necessary to keep the economy from getting worse.
But the bottom line is clear: Americans have been hit head on with inflation.
“I think everybody’s affected by inflation,” said junior Veerein Pala, who is co-president of the Cal High Investment Club. “It’s this country-wide problem where people have to pay more as a result of the [federal government] printing more money.”
Inflation rates were at 1.4 percent before President Joe Biden’s transition into office in January 2021. They are now at 7.7 percent, according to The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In a press release from the House Economic and Consumer Policy Subcommittee, Congressman Michael Cloud ( R-Tex.) blamed the increase in inflation rates on the nearly $4 trillion spent by Democrats and the Biden administration.
“Any bill that increases federal government spending worsens inflation,” Cal High history teacher Chris Doherty said.
But Biden continues to defend government spending and the subsequent inflation based on two aspects: COVID and the war in Ukraine causing supply chain problems and demand issues.
Supply chain problems created by the pandemic have not been completely relieved and pose problems for both businesses and consumers. With fewer goods in stock but high in demand, inflation rises.
“The main cause is demand stayed high and consumers wanted to buy things, but supply was low,” Cal High economics teacher Sarah Eddings said. “Demand exceeded supply and that leads prices to go up.”
To combat the effects of inflation on the American people, stimulus checks have been given out during the pandemic. But some argue this has also increased inflation rates because when people have the money to spend on items, they are stimulating the economy which leads to a hike in the prices of these goods. To some, this solution seems counter-intuitive.
“Instead of taking time to analyze the impact that additional government spending might have on inflation, the Biden administration continued to pump money into the economy, and inflation continued to worsen,” Cloud wrote in his press release.
But Democrats believe they need to make their message on inflation far clearer.
“I don’t think our economic message has been loud enough or sharp enough,”Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) said in an interview with NBC news.
Other Democrats agree.
“We’ll have to message it [Democratic inflation plans] better in the next three weeks ahead,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in an interview with Punchbowl News.
While Americans dealt with already rising inflation rates, the war in Ukraine began and took its toll on many countries. Russia is a major supplier of oil, gas, and metals, while Ukraine supplies a lot of wheat and corn.
The International Monetary Fund reported that reduced supplies of these commodities have driven their prices up sharply, according to CNBC News.
In a video that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) released, he suggested that if the Republicans win the House as currently projected, there wouldn’t be as much aide for Ukraine.
Americans in general have seen an increase in living costs, but for Californians that have always paid more for basic goods, it’s grown worse.
“All of my bills have gone up tremendously,” Cal social studies teacher Stephen Farwell said.
Farwell said increases in grocery and gas prices have been the most negative consequence of inflation. But in an attempt to combat rising inflation in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a plan to provide residents with stimulus checks of up to $1,050, according to Distribution of the checks to 23 million residents started in early October.
While the plan may help in the short term, some believe there is one major flaw in the plan.
“[Newsom] is fighting inflation with more money,” Farwell said. “At the state level, I’m confused.”
Other political figures agree.
“What he’s done in the last four years is throw money at every single issue, more than there has ever been,” State Senator Brian Dahle (R-Calif.) said.