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EDITORIAL: For Joe Biden, the buck stops somewhere else

In a panicked attempt to find a convenient scapegoat for soaring inflation, the foundering White House has settled on an old Democratic standby: greedy capitalists and Big Business.

In a meeting on Monday at which he touted his “Competition Council” — created by executive order in July — President Joe Biden again linked higher consumer prices to anti-competitive practices by U.S. companies. In too many industries, he said, businesses “use their power to squeeze out smaller competitors, stifle new competition, raise prices, reduce the choice for consumers and exploit workers.”

As usual, Mr. Biden is taking direction from his party’s far left. During a confirmation hearing a few weeks back for Fed chief Jerome Powell, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said, “We can’t overlook the role that concentrated corporate power has played in creating the conditions for price gouging.”

Such misguided rhetoric is an effort to shift the ire of American consumers from the Democratic administration that jump-started inflation to the U.S. producers who supply goods and consumers. This strategy has roots in the president’s cratering poll numbers and the looming midterm elections.

“In November and December,” The Washington Post reported this month, “at least four Democratic polling experts told senior White House officials that they needed to find a new approach as public frustration over price hikes became widespread and highly damaging to Biden’s popularity, according to three people with knowledge of the private conversations.”

This self-preservation ploy, this dance from accountability, is a bizarre way to regain the trust of voters — particularly when even many liberal economists recognize the White House’s culpability for higher prices. Corporate consolidation and greedy capitalists have been around for decades, while inflation has been an afterthought since 1990. Apparently, the titans of industry were biding their time for 30 years before rapaciously sticking it to hapless old Joe Biden.

No doubt, a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic has triggered some unusual economic trends. But from Inauguration Day, Mr. Biden has attempted to cripple the domestic energy industry and resurrect an intrusive regulatory state, all while ginning up the Treasury’s printing presses in order to throw trillions into an economy already well on its way to recovering from coronavirus shutdowns. And still, Democrats seek to spend trillions more that the nation doesn’t have.

With too much “free” money chasing too few goods, prices have risen. And so here we are. Rather than insisting that the “buck stops here,” the Biden administration throws the buck out the window.

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