A View from the Hill

As always, Washington has been hectic. Here is what you need to know in a snapshot. 

On Nov. 15, President Joe Biden held a virtual summit with Xi Jinping, President of China. The summit focused on creating a more hospitable relationship between the two world powers. It has been no secret that the United States and China have been fiercely competing for hegemony in recent decades. China’s rapid economic growth has been nothing short of astonishing. To be frank, it is daunting. 

The competition between the two powers will not stop or slow down soon. However, the summit was designed for the two countries to lay out an approach where responsible competition can happen. China has been at the forefront of Biden’s foreign policy, but this is the first time the two leaders are meeting in person since Biden was elected. The U.S. has been trying to get China to play by international rules and norms that everyone has to follow for years. Will this summit be the moment that China begins to be an international asset instead of a liability? Unlikely, but this could be the first step in the two countries building a more compatible relationship where the needed change could happen. Time will tell if Biden can do what past Presidents have failed to do.

Last week, Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rejected former President Donald Trump’s bid to keep his papers secret about his behavior and conservations before the event of Jan. 6. While the ruling will be appealed the historical precedent is not on Trump’s side. Congressman Bennie Thompson is right in saying, “Throughout our country’s history, the executive branch has provided Congress with testimony and information when it has been in the public interest.” There is a public interest in finding out what happened that day. When the National Archives will turn over the paperwork is yet to be seen, but it appears that the American people are going to see what was said leading up to the events of Jan. 6, 2021.

The October Consumer Price Index sent off warning signs across the country this past week. The Price Index showed that prices had increased by 6.2% in October, the highest rate of inflation since 1990. To say that Biden and his administration are worried would be a gross understatement. To understand the implications of the cost of living increasing by so much does not take a degree from the London School of Economics. People do not like spending more on goods than they have in the past. The reality is that after a recession of the magnitude caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be inflation as the market returns to normalcy. That is not the problem for the Biden administration.

The issue facing the Biden administration is how long prices will be this high and how they can calm American nerves. In theory, prices will return to the normal rate after the supply chains can catch up and meet the high demands made by the consumer. As manufacturers return to their output levels seen before the pandemic, they should be able to meet the demand that has created higher prices. As Republicans have noted, this could be an omen for something worse.

The quick increase of the Price Index could drastically change the expectations of consumers and businesses across the country theoretically creating a scenario where the higher prices we see today are here to stay. Which scenario will happen will be debated by economists and politicians until we know for sure. Still, Biden will have to respond. Most Americans vote with their wallet, especially when their wallet is hurting. Midterms are coming, and if Biden cannot reverse the trend or calm American nerves, there will be cataclysmic losses in congressional, gubernatorial and local races for the Democratic Party.


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