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December 08, 2021 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily

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The Michigan Daily — michigandaily.com
Wednesday, December 8, 2021 — 9


Opinion Columnist


Managing Editor

Stanford Lipsey Student Publications Building

420 Maynard St.

Ann Arbor, MI 48109


Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan since 1890.


Editor in Chief


Editorial Page Editors

Unsigned editorials reflect the official position of The Daily’s Editorial Board.

All other signed articles and illustrations represent solely the views of their authors.


Julian Barnard
Zack Blumberg

Brittany Bowman
Emily Considine
Elizabeth Cook
Brandon Cowit

Jess D’Agostino
Andrew Gerace

Krystal Hur
Min Soo Kim
Jessie Mitchell

Zoe Phillips

Mary Rolfes

Gabrijela Skoko

Elayna Swift

Jack Tumpowsky

Joel Weiner
Erin White


nflation has once again gripped
the nation. The consumer price

index for October indicated that prices
rose 6.2% from the year prior. The
University of Michigan’s Consumer

findings for November were the
lowest in a decade. According to the
survey, consumers believe inflation
is here to stay, and that President Joe
Biden and the Democrat-led Congress
have not effectively responded to it.

Here in Michigan, the effects of

inflation are slightly more palpable
than in other parts of the country.
According to a Detroit Free Press
article, prices in the Midwest are up
6.6% compared with the 5.4% increase
seen in the Northeast.

This is a serious problem for


outlets were quick to coin the term

Congress latched onto the rising prices
to attack Biden’s ambitious spending
plans, affectionately re-naming his

“Build Back Broke.” Given the flood

election commentary suggesting that
Democrats should be worried about
big losses in the midterms next year,
beating the Republican’s challenge is
vitally important.

So far, Biden’s response to inflation

has been faltering at best. While
he did acknowledge that “inflation
hurts (Americans’) pocketbooks,”
he also misappropriated a letter
from 17 Nobel Laureates that stated
his social spending would “ease
longer-term inflationary pressures”
by conveniently leaving out “longer-
term” in his speeches.

Assuaging the public’s fears about

inflation is notorious for sending
former presidents to their political

Ford and Jimmy Carter likely lost
re-election because of their attempts
to convince the country to curtail
spending in order to reduce inflation.

In a Politico article, former Republican
aide Bill Hoagland was quoted saying,
“I feel a little bit sorry for the president.
A lot of this is out of control.”


one of the signatories on the Nobel
laureate letter, argued that inflation
is the result of both constrained
supply chains and “pent-up demand”
from consumers emerging from the
pandemic. Wrangling global supply
chains and an entire country of people
is an impossible task for any person,
even a president, to accomplish.

Nonetheless, Biden needs to take

Americans’ concerns about inflation

officials at the Federal Reserve are
paid to diagnose the causes of inflation
and whether it will be transient or not.
Biden’s job is to listen to and engage with
the concerns raised by his constituents.


Motor’s Detroit plant, Factory ZERO,
recently, he delivered a lengthy speech
to celebrate the recent passage of the
Infrastructure Investment and Jobs
Act and emphasize the benefits it
would bestow upon Michiganders. He
highlighted the money going towards
fixing Michigan’s infamously poor
roads, the tax credits for consumers

vehicles, the money for eliminating
PFAS and made a shout out to all the
Michigan Democrats in Congress who
helped pass the bill. He did mention
inflation, but only to bring up that a
few Wall Street rating agencies echoed
the Nobel Laureates and expressed
they believed the social spending plan
would “not add to inflation pressures.”

Roads, cars and unions all seem to

hit the speaking points for the older
Michigan electorate. And yet, I would
bet that inflation probably matters
just as much to most Michiganders.
Bringing up the statements of a few
Wall Street rating agencies or even a
body of well-respected economists to
dismiss concerns about inflation with
the wave of a hand does not lead the
public to believe that you understand
their concerns.

It is not unreasonable to suggest

that Biden has nothing to gain from

switching his strategy. Greg Ip of the
Wall Street Journal points out that
since former President Barack Obama’s
time in office, voters’ opinions on the
economy have been driven largely by
partisan identification rather than
actual economic indicators. Further
acknowledgement of the Republican
outcry might just energize GOP
campaigns come the 2022 midterms.

But at the same time, it intuitively

feels like ignoring inflation, or at least
shakily trying to prop up “Build Back
Better” as an easy fix for the problem,
is not the best plan.

On an episode of the New York

Times’ podcast “The Daily,” economics
reporter Ben Casselman emphasized
the importance of remembering that
even if the economy looks good in
the aggregate, the economy is not
experienced by individuals that way.

According to Casselman, lower-

income workers might have seen
dramatic increases in their wages due
to the labor shortage, but they also face
more demanding and stressful work
environments because of that same
labor shortage. And even if inflation
has not increased the cost of living
for most Americans, that certainly
does not mean everybody escaped the
negative effects of inflation.

Biden needs to come down to the

same level as the average American.
Instead of allowing the discussion
over inflation to center around
policymakers’ high-brow economic
theories, he should make a concerted
effort to publicly acknowledge that
many voters are more concerned
about inflation and the impact it might
have on their lives than the fate of the
social spending plan in the Senate.
Taking the time to engage with his
constituents that are concerned about
inflation, or addressing the nation
on the subject, would help make
good on Biden’s promise to serve as a
president for all Americans, not just his
supporters. Elections are determined
by what voters think and feel. If voters
feel that their leaders have neglected
them, then the massive benefits of a
spending bill like “Build Back Better”
appear very little.


cross the United States, anti-
vaccine protestors are using

antisemitic imagery and Holocaust
comparisons in an offensive attempt
to compare vaccine mandates to
the treatment of Jews during the


Republican gubernatorial candidate
from New York, made headlines for
hosting an anti-vaccine event featuring
signs with swastikas. The use of a
swastika was especially egregious
because the protest was being held
outside of the office of Assemblyman
Jeffrey Dinowitz, who is Jewish.
The protest centered around a bill
Assemblyman Dinowitz introduced
that would require the COVID-19
vaccinations for school children.

This specific protest hit particularly

close to home for me as it occurred in a
community close to where I am from.
The section of the Bronx where the
protest was held is an area I know well,
having worked in that neighborhood
at my congressman’s office. The

area has a large and vibrant Jewish
community. The fact that protestors
came to this specific area with their
antisemitic imagery and protested
outside the office of a Jewish lawmaker
is egregious but not surprising.

The trend of invoking the Holocaust

to protest COVID-19 restrictions and
mandates extends far beyond this one
event. Since the start of the pandemic,
there have been many outrageous
comparisons made between COVID-
19 protocols and the treatment of Jews
during the Holocaust.

With the rollout of the vaccine and

the implantation of vaccine mandates,
there have been many inaccurate
comparisons between the Holocaust
and the vaccine mandates. In Maine,
a Republican lawmaker compared
the Democratic governor’s health
care workers’ vaccine mandate to the
medical experiments performed by Dr.
Josef Mengele and the Nazis during
World War II. This incendiary claim
tries to compare forms of torture and
human experiments in the Holocaust
with a safe vaccine that has gone
through strenuous peer-reviewed
clinical trials and has oversight from
multiple medical bodies.

The chairman of the Oklahoma


companies requiring vaccines to Jews
being forced to wear yellow Stars of
David to identify them as Jews in Nazi
Germany. Many anti-vaccine protests
across the US have seen protestors
wearing yellow Stars of David on their
clothes, a direct reference to the stars
that Jews were forced to wear during
the Holocaust.

This comparison is unbelievably

disrespectful and demonstrates how
anti-vaccine advocates are trying to
co-opt one of the most painful parts
of Jewish history and twist it to fit
their anti-vaccine rhetoric. The use of
swastikas, Stars of David, and other
symbols at vaccine protests is truly
reprehensible and serves to minimize
the severity of the Holocaust.

This is clear: There are no possible

comparisons that can be made between
what Jews endured during the
Holocaust and any kind of COVID-19
restrictions. The Holocaust was one of
the worst periods in our world’s history.
Millions of Jews were stripped of their
rights, their freedom and their lives.

Concerns about inflation can be legitimate,

Democrats should pay attention

Comparing vaccine mandates to the Holocaust is
abhorrent: All antisemitism must be condemned


Opinion Columnist

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e are fast approaching a year

government that has been plagued
by ups and downs of many varieties.
These include the woes of handling the
COVID-19 pandemic, a debt-ceiling
crisis and the legislative leviathan
of passing an infrastructure bill and
spending bill. President Joe Biden’s
popularity is at an all-time low, despite
the passage of his infrastructure bill
after months of party in-fighting.
If only one word could be used to
describe the government of this year,
it would be factionalism. Factionalism
has defined the fight in the debt
crisis, allowing Sens. Kyrsten Sinema,
D-Ariz., and Joe Manchin, D-W. Va.,
to wield an intense amount of power
while being the smallest faction, as
well as delaying some of the biggest
items Joe Biden and the Democrats
ran on.


Democratic ambitions time and

time again. In the fight over the

butted heads against the party

Democrats found an unlikely ally
in Republican leader Sen. Mitch
McConnell, R-Ky., after Sinema
and Manchin vowed to support the
filibuster that created the debt-ceiling
crisis. Factionalism has hobbled the
Democrats for nearly a year now, but
the issues that have hampered their
party in the House and the Senate
may save some prospects of power
after the midterms. It may provide
them with strength if, and when,
they lose the House and Senate, as
long as they can pull it together under
minority leadership.

The writing is on the wall:

In the 2022 midterm elections,
the Democrats will lose seats.
Numerous House members are
retiring out of fear of the outcome
of the 2022 election. Empirically,
this is supported, as members of
government retire when the outlook
for them and their party is bleak.
We can also quantitatively support

the already popular belief that
the president’s party loses seats
in midterm elections, barring any
extraordinary turnout at the polls.

Yet some light can be shed on the

future of a divided government: The
ailments of the Democrats also pollute
an incredibly fractured Republican
Party. The GOP has recently displayed
intense factionalism that could come
to boil over in the upcoming midterms
and even after. The Republicans have
long faced in-fighting, even during
Trump’s presidency, as those loyal
to Trump above all else grew in
number and rank. The bitter dispute
continued after the election and saw
some Trump critics, namely U.S.
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., lose their
leadership positions and even be
stripped of recognition by their state
Republican parties.

Yet the factional disputes are ever-

growing and changing. The New York
Times reports that there are now five
factions within the Republican base.
These include two Trump-focused
factions, two factions that oppose the
former president and a final faction

comprised of individuals who often
subscribe to outlandish conspiracy
theories and associate themselves
with QAnon.

In Congress, these factions are

most evident in the House where
Republican minority leader Kevin
McCarthy, R-Calif., has found his
hands full. McCarthy has had to try
to defend some of the more extreme
members of his party, as well as
reel other ones in. U.S. Reps. Paul
Gosar, R-Ariz., Lauren Boebert,
R-Fla., and Marjorie Taylor Greene,
R-Ga., have all come under fire for
their controversial and sometimes
violent remarks towards Progressive
Caucus members. With McCarthy
attempting to mitigate damage, the

continued to heat things up. The
factional war escalated with the
passage of the infrastructure bill
being supported by 13 Republicans
in the House. Greene and other
members of the Freedom Caucus
began an all-out attack on the
perceived traitors.

This is not the first time Greene has

come into conflict with Republican
leadership, as she lost her committee

Appearing recently on U.S. Rep. Matt
Gaetz, R-Fla.’s, podcast, Greene made
a list of demands that McCarthy
would need to fulfill to earn support
from her and other members of
the Freedom Caucus in the pursuit
of Speaker of the House after the
expected Republican victory in the
midterm elections. The factions of
the Republican Party are putting
an immense amount of pressure on
Republican leadership to bend to
their whims. Leadership must tread
carefully to maintain support and
keep their positions, as the Freedom
Caucus has ousted a speaker six years
ago. McCarthy has to tread this fine
line or else upset either moderates
or the more extreme members, with
both groups proving to be pivotal
more often than not.

McCarthy’s main goal, whether

Greene and Gaetz and others
recognize it or not, is and always will
be party unity. He recognizes the
importance of a unified party that

is able to effectively mobilize when
it needs to. He also recognizes the
necessity of it for his own leadership
ambitions. The worst-case scenario
for McCarthy is if the Freedom
Caucus leads a revolt and splinters
the party apart, destroying unity
and jeopardizing the advantage


There has been a lackluster showing

from a Democrat-controlled House,
Senate, and presidency, hindered by
factionalism and overshadowed by
an expected catastrophic defeat in a
year’s time. However, there is yet light
at the end of the dark tunnel, and there
is yet a way to see this glass as half-
full. The Democrats have something
to look forward to in the increased
factionalism of the House and Senate.
Soon the Republicans will be vying
for the House majority, and they have
some major issues to contend with
prior to the 2022 midterm elections.
While factionalism has slowed the
Democrats down substantially, it
could cause the Republican Party to
come undone in due time.

The Democrats’ struggle could be a prize come midterms

Opinion Columnist

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