Port: Economic illiteracy is what may cost Democrats the midterms

The GOP is in shambles, but the alternative right now is a bunch of Democrats who probably should have spent more time awake in math class.

Gas prices
Matt Henson / WDAY News
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MINOT, N.D. — I don't think all Democrats are economically illiterate. I believe many of our left-of-center friends understand the immutable realities of supply and demand.

Their problem is that, at a time when inflation is, without question, the number problem on the minds of Americans , people Sen. Elizabeth Warren and whoever is running President Joe Biden's teleprompter, are doing the talking for them.

According to them, the way to fight inflation is to “ make sure the wealthiest corporations pay their fair share ," which is the sort of thing you say if you want applause from the progressive activist class or get laughed out of an economics classroom.

Let's look at baby formula crisis, as a for-instance. Biden defended his administration by arguing they would have to be "mind readers" to see that problem looming, but is that true?

We live in a country where most of the things we buy arrive at the stores in a truck powered by diesel fuel that is more expensive right now than at any other time in American history according to AAA .


"We are now reaching the point where the cost of diesel fuel is making some goods too expensive to transport," Jim Geraghty notes at National Review , pointing to some comments a trucker made to a local TV station in Florida : “The cost of diesel is single-handedly taking us out of the game one by one no matter how big you are. ... If you’re getting paid $2 per mile you’re not taking that load no matter if it is baby formula or orange juice because the cost of diesel is $5 plus. You just can’t take that load.”

The Biden administration couldn't foresee supply chain problems when the price of the fuel that powers the trucks carrying the supply hits record-setting levels? And by the way, the Biden administration absolutely gets the blame for fuel prices, as economist and Nobel laureate Dr. Vernon Smith argued on a recent episode of my podcast .

Democrats have spent years cultivating an acrimonious, adversarial relationship with America's oil and gas industry. Among the first things the Biden administration did, upon coming into office, was cancel the oft-delayed-and-derailed Keystone XL pipeline project, something that Dr. Smith argues was "a symbol" to the rest of the oil and gas industry that now wasn't the right time to try to invest in expanded production.

We're paying the price for that now, aren't we?

"It's going to be painful, but Republicans can't just turn away from Trump. Republicans have to lead their people away from Trumpism and the morass of conspiracy-addled grievance and unvarnished racism it has become," Rob Port writes.

Sen. Warren, meanwhile, wants to fight inflation with government price controls . Her spin is that it's a bill outlawing price gouging, because when it comes to economics Democrats always think it's the 19th century and they're fighting the robber barons, but they're price controls, and we know they won't work.

Don't take my word for it. Just look at Venezuela. After socialist leader Huge Chavez created an inflation problem by printing money to fund social programs, his successor, Nicolas Maduro, tried to fight the problem with price controls targeting what he described as the "parasitic bourgeoisie." Only it didn't work. The price control limited profits, which in turn limited the ability of companies to either produce or import the products in demand, and Venezuelans resorted to eating out of the garbage .

Now Warren wants to import Venezuela's failed economic policies to America, and if you think that's perhaps not a wise idea, then you're on the side of the "price gougers," which is the term American Democrats use instead of "parasitic bourgeoisie."

In an alternate timeline, one in which Democrats understood the basic realities of supply and demand, and the role cheap, abundant, and reliable energy plays in our prosperity, they'd have nothing to fear from Republicans who have to wake up each day worried about how crazy people such as Rep. Madison Cawthorn or Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene or Donald Trump will decide to be.


The GOP is in shambles. Trump, who wields more influence over the party than any other single person, is still obsessed with his 2020 election loss. In a better sort of world, voters would put the party and its candidates out to pasture for a while until they get it together.

But voters don't seem likely to do that, because the alternative right now are a bunch of Democrats who probably should have spent more time paying attention to their math teachers.

Opinion by Rob Port
Rob Port is a news reporter, columnist, and podcast host for the Forum News Service. He has an extensive background in investigations and public records. He has covered political events in North Dakota and the upper Midwest for two decades. Reach him at Click here to subscribe to his Plain Talk podcast.
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