The Return of Malaise - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Return of Malaise

As Republicans try to take back the Senate and House in 2022, they would be well advised to reprise the concept of malaise. 2021 has been a truly awful year, and it is fair to ask: “Are you better off today than you were in 2019?” Nearly everything bad that has happened this year can be pinned directly on President Joe Biden, an inept staff, and the congressional mob that he is trying to lead. Malaise was coined during the Carter administration at a time when it seemed that the federal government could do nothing right. So far, the Biden administration has made Carter’s look like a smooth-running machine.

What has gone wrong? Let us count the ways. First and foremost is inflation. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen has assured us that inflation will be gone after COVID and the supply chain crisis have abated. It will not. The most pernicious cause of inflation is energy prices, and Biden’s crusade against big oil, gas, and coal will ensure it will continue. All of this is driven by the president’s stubborn refusal to fight excess carbon in the atmosphere by investing in carbon-scrubbing technologies which would reduce existing greenhouse gases in favor of job-destroying attacks on the carbon-based energy sector. Progressives claim, with specious evidence, that climate change impacts people of color and the poor more than other sectors of society. The real threat to the wellbeing of the poor and those on fixed incomes is inflation. There is absolutely no cure for Biden’s war on carbon-based energy except a policy change. While the president is doubling down on his misbegotten climate change initiatives, he is virtually ensuring that inflation is here to stay.

There is irony here. According to an October 30 article in the Washington Post, Biden has been complaining to his staff that China and the worst of the developing world’s major polluters will not meet even their own modest carbon emission reduction goals. He allegedly referred to India’s lukewarm climate initiatives as “bulls**t.” By his convoluted reasoning, American workers must suffer more to make up for the shortcomings of the rest of the world. It should be no wonder that “America First” resonates with so many voters.

The vaccine mandate nonsense is another self-inflicted Biden wound. Except for the very young and those with a compromised immune system, everyone in the country who wants to be vaccinated has been. For whatever reason, those who have not been vaccinated have made a conscious decision not to take the shots. So, who are we protecting? An enormous amount of social dissidence is being caused because liberals in government do not like to be told “no.” It offends their sense of control.

After declaring victory over COVID in July, Biden has continuously backtracked and sent confusing signals to the country. This has done no good for his promise to “restore competence.” The botched handling of both the compromise infrastructure bill and his Build Back Better package has done nothing to convince moderate Democrat and swing voters that the federal government is either competent or capable of taking on more responsibility for the day-to-day lives of Americans. Biden is making the job shortage worse. Airlines will be short crews, garbage will not be collected, and fires will not be put out because critical workers have been fired or quit over the vaccine mandates. When Biden took office, we had a problem with a shortage of workers; his misbegotten vaccine mandate policies are turning a problem into a full-blown crisis.

Biden got a lot of help from his inept vice president in turning our immigration problem into a crisis. Border issues have not been front-page news lately, but only because the administration’s other head wounds caused by friendly fire have overshadowed it.

Foreign affairs and national security may not be major issues in 2022, but the humiliation of Kabul will stick to Biden and the Democrats like glue. Biden had much assistance from several politicalized interest groups within the Washington establishment. The incompetence of the intelligence community and the Department of State were only outdone by the disgraceful performance of our senior generals.

While the Biden administration has pushed the Defense Department to concentrate on critical race theory, climate change, and rooting out potential domestic terrorists in the military, our adversaries have been busy. China developed an orbiting hypersonic missile while continuing to threaten Taiwan. Iran continues its bad behavior in the Middle East under a new president who is openly contemptuous of the United States while the Biden administration slavishly pursues a renewed nuclear deal. Meanwhile, Russia is again building up troops along the Ukrainian border.

The malaise of the late 1970s was a major factor in the Reagan Revolution of the ’80s. Republicans could not write a better draft for a campaign platform for the midterm elections than Joe Biden has given them.

Gary Anderson served as a special advisor to the Deputy Secretary of Defense during the George W. Bush Administration.

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