BERNARD COLUMN: Democrats — to cut inflation, tax corporations and the 1%

Published 9:30 am Friday, December 2, 2022

By Jack Bernard
Bernard is a retired corporate executive

In politics, it is necessary either to betray one’s country or the electorate. I prefer to betray the electorate.”- Charles de Gaulle, x-President of France

De Gaulle was very cynical, but he was also very correct. Said another way- take the high road … and lose, as Hillary did in 2016 … and the Democrats did in the House in 2022. To do good for our citizens, you must get elected … and sometimes that means telling people what they want to hear.  

In the case of the GOP and the 2022 election, it means Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell telling the public that Democrats “want to pile on giant tax hikes that will hammer workers and kill many thousands of American jobs,” And House Minority Leader McCarthy stating- “Inflation is running rampant due in part to out-of-control spending from President Biden and Speaker Pelosi.” 

Their rhetoric is effective in that the GOP won the House — even though it’s untrue and only the ultra-wealthy and corporations were taxed in the Inflation Reduction Act. Further, the facts about inflation are much different than what is portrayed by the GOP leadership (https://www.peoplesworld.org/article/top-economists-blame-corporate-price-gouging-for-the-inflation-plague/ ). Inflation is a big problem, but it’s a worldwide phenomenon. Europe has more inflation problems than we do.

The factors causing inflation are varied but revolve around the war in Ukraine, lasting pandemic supply chain issues and corporate profiteering. For both moral and political reasons, we must support Ukraine against invasion by a dictator bent on returning to the days of the USSR. And we have little control over international supply chain problems, which will eventually be resolved. 

But the Democrats can and should address exorbitant profits by greedy corporations and their top executives. 

The problem is that the Democrats did not respond at all, but rather only talked about social issues like abortion while avoiding the elephant in the room. By not addressing inflation head-on while attacking the GOP’s elitist views on taxation, the Democrats followed the same path as Hillary. Even worse, people as diverse as democratic socialist Bernie Sanders and Democratic, moderate, strategist James Carville have pointed out the mistake that the party and their candidates were making, to no avail. Thus, they lost the House.

Per the Guardian op ed, Bernie stated- “I am alarmed to hear the advice that many Democratic candidates are getting from establishment consultants and directors of well-funded Super Pacs that the closing argument of Democrats should focus only on abortion.”
 Sanders is a strong supporter of a woman’s right to choose. However, as a blue-collar oriented politician, he also knows that for most voters kitchen table issues like inflation and the economy trump cultural issues.  

Polls have repeatedly shown that the economy and inflation were the main issues driving this election, although abortion and democracy were important, preventing a red wave. Democrats were once the party of working-class people oppressed by “the man.” 

If they wish to win over the common person in 2024, they must once again clearly establish this position with the American voter. As Carville has repeatedly said, being “woke” will not win elections in middle America.