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EDITORIAL: The Biden administration: Pandering to everyone

As poll after poll shows President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign struggling to gain traction with the American people, the White House has increasingly resorted to blatantly manipulating policy in a desperate effort to buy votes. It’s unseemly, even for this administration.

On Wednesday, the White House announced that it will sell 1 million gallons from a strategic reserve in the Northeast in an effort to lower gasoline prices as the summer travel season approaches. It’s all flash and no dash. Upon taking office, the president openly declared war on the domestic petroleum industry, but was later reduced to begging our foreign adversaries to pump more oil when U.S. prices pushed $5 a gallon. Now, with gas prices soaring again and an election looming, Mr. Biden makes a production of trying to manipulate the market to further mask the ramifications of the policies he implemented.

It matters not a whit that this tactic will have virtually no impact on national gasoline prices, according to most analysts. The point is simply to deceive voters into thinking that Mr. Biden is actually doing something about a problem of his own making.

A similar dynamic is at work in the administration’s effort to attract the young vote by saddling taxpayers with student loan obligations. This week, the Department of Education announced that it will wave its magic wand and forgive another $7.7 billion in student loan debt. The White House bragged that it has now canceled $167 billion in loans held by college students and graduates. Never mind that the U.S. Supreme Court held that the executive branch had only limited authority to act in this regard without the consent of Congress. Mr. Biden’s political survival is far more important than bedrock principles such as the separation of powers.

Finally, we see the White House last week trolling for union support in Michigan and elsewhere by announcing steep tariffs on Chinese electric vehicle imports along with batteries and parts. This policy directly contradicts the administration’s heavy-handed efforts to eliminate internal combustion cars and trucks. Mr. Biden maintains that global warming poses an “existential threat,” but that peril clearly withers in the face of the president’s quest to preserve his political life.

A trade war will also be damaging in the long run, hampering efforts by U.S. auto manufacturers to sell goods in one of the world’s largest markets, while protecting them from competition that might drive down prices and foster innovation. “Making cheap electric vehicles in the U.S. is getting even tougher,” a Wall Street Journal column noted. Watch for the Biden administration to now propose even higher federal subsidies for EV purchases.

Don’t expect this tangled web of incoherence to concern Mr. Biden. His priority remains pandering for the votes needed to save his hide.

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