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Ramesh Ponnuru

Republicans Can Extend Their Midterm Inflation Advantage

Rising prices will help the GOP in November. Supporting monetary tightening, pursuing smart tariff and regulatory policies and restraining Democratic spending would help even more.

Don’t just talk.

Don’t just talk.

Photographer: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Inflation is likely to be the most powerful issue working for Republicans in this year’s congressional elections. Public concern over it has been rising fast. Republicans can plausibly blame the administration of President Joe Biden for making the problem worse by spending too much money on a pandemic stimulus program he pushed through Congress last year, and for not taking it seriously as it emerged.

But there isn’t much that Congress can do to affect the course of inflation in the short term. The Federal Reserve is in charge of monetary policy. Congress can (in principle!) pass legislation to make the economy more productive, but any changes would generally take awhile to have an effect.