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OPINION

The Biden Economy Is a Lump of Coal in Americans’ Stockings This Christmas

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

As the final economic reports of 2022 are released, the plight of Americans over the last 12 months has again been highlighted as inflation continues to take a toll directly via higher prices as well as somewhat indirectly in the Federal Reserve's aggressive reaction to lasting inflation that's risen to and remained near 40-year highs under Biden's economic policy. 

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President "Build Back Better" Biden has driven costs for American consumers and businesses to levels not seen in decades, leaving the task of making ends meet increasingly difficult. The response from other entities has made borrowing money an even more expensive, if not impossible, task. 

Combining developments released in just the last seven days as Americans prepare to celebrate the holidays with their families and look toward what 2023 may bring, it's clear that President Biden's gift to the American people this year is just a stocking full of coal — probably leftovers from the coal-fired power plants his administration has unconstitutionally tried to shutter. 

For American producers — who make, manufacture, and move the goods on which consumers rely — 2022 brought double-digit cost increases on many necessary items. 

Finished consumer goods saw a 61.7 percent increase, final demand energy was up 16.2 percent, private capital equipment for manufacturers jumped 10.6 percent, transportation of passengers increased 18 percent, and final demand construction costs rose 19 percent. 

Those costs for producers over the year naturally ended up causing the consumers more economic pain as well. The final Consumer Price Index report to be released in 2022 showed that the previous 12 months sent costs for food, energy, and other essentials to double-digit increases as well. 

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The cost for food at home increased by 12 percent, leading to a 16.4 percent increase for cereals/bakery products and dairy products and a 13.2 percent increase in nonalcoholic beverages/materials. Energy costs increased 13.1 percent, with fuel oil spiking 65.7 percent, electricity rising 13.7 percent, and piped gas jumping 15.5 percent. Transportation services also increased by 14.2 percent as airline fares jumped 36 percent. 

The result of all this year's inflation caused by the Biden administration's tax, spend, and energy-killing policies is the Federal Reserve raising interest rates seven consecutive times since March, which, as of the last announcement of the year on Wednesday, sent Fed interest rates to their highest level since 2007 and at the fastest rate in four decades. 

And that's where another lump of Biden-delivered coal lands in Americans' economic stockings. Before Biden took office, the nonpartisan scorekeepers at the Congressional Budget Office projected that the Fed would not need to raise interest rates until at least 2024 — but Biden's "Build Back Better" policies triggered the most aggressive Fed rate hikes in a generation. The effect of the interest rate hikes is more rapidly compounding credit card debt that Americans took on trying to make ends meet as inflation outpaced wage increases and sent real wages negative; plus, rate hikes have also made homeownership even more unaffordable. 

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This Christmas, Americans will find that the gifts brought by Biden are nearly all bad. A 14.2 percent increase in consumer inflation, real wages dropping to -3.8 percent, and mortgage payments that are 38 percent higher, with no end in sight as the chance of a "soft landing" from the economic crisis in which Biden has put Americans grows more and more unlikely. 

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