ECB President Christine Lagarde Blames Less Focus On Job Retention During COVID For High U.S. Inflation

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European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde appeared for an interview on CBS’ Face The Nation(04/24/22) to discuss the current global inflation brought about by covid and the Russsia-Ukraine war. During her interview, President Lagarde made an interesting observation, telling host Margaret Brennan that inflation is higher in the U.S. because unlike Europe, the U.S. focused more on issuing covid stimulus/relief checks than on job retention. Europe’s primary focus during covid was on job retention. She said the resultant labor shortage in the U.S. is driving up wages, which are in turn, driving up costs. Hmm, interesting.

Host Margaret Brennan(video at 4:53):“In this country there’s a lot of debate around how much the government is to blame versus the central bankers for the inflation that we are experiencing. The U.S. spent $6 trillion on covid relief, $2 trillion of it on President Biden’s watch last Spring when the economy was already recovering. Do you think some of this spending in the U.S. exacerbated inflation, because Europe didn’t spend like this?”

President Lagarde:“We in Europe spent less in stimulus, and I think we spent differently. We spent pretty much half as much as what the U.S. government spent on stimulus, and heating up the economy. But we also spent differently because I think the focus was predominantly on keeping the jobs, not necessarily sending the checks, and as a result of that, people who managed to keep their jobs alive, while not necessarily going to work because covid stopped everybody from going to work at some point in time, they had their job. So when covid was over, they went back to their job. So, I think that the labor market that you have currently in the U.S., which is incredibly tense, where you have a lot of jobs that are not filled, where you have plenty of vacancies, we don’t have that in Europe at the moment, and the current situation you have on the labor market here in the U.S. is clearly contributing to possible strong inflation and second round effect, where prices go up, wages go up, short supply of labor, wages continue to go up, and that feeds back into prices. That’s one of the differences between our two economies.”

There’s no other way to interpret ECB President Lagarde’s remarks other than(I’ll be happy to stand corrected of course), the current strong inflation in the U.S. is largely driven by the fact that the government did not do enough to help people keep their jobs during covid. In other words, even though a lot of people could not physically go to work during covid, more should have been done to make sure their jobs would still be there for them after the pandemic–propping up their employers to keep them afloat. According to President Lagarde, this is precisely what Europe focused on–propping up the employers, and is the reason Europe is not seeing the high levels of inflation as the U.S.

For the record, this does not mean Europe did not hand out covid stimulus/relief checks to workers like the U.S. did. What President Lagarde is saying is that the primary focus in Europe was job retention. It’s also worth pointing out for the sake of fairness, that the entire U.S. covid response, and the resultant high inflation, cannot be pinned solely on the Biden administration. Reasonable people will agree that the Trump admin is equally to blame.

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Mitt Romney Says Second Trump Presidency Would Hurt NATO, Help Putin

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In an interesting interview on the brand new CNN Plus show, The Source w/ Kasie Hunt, Senator Mitt Romney(R-UT) made a bombshell admission that if former President Trump were to win the presidency again in 2024, that would hurt NATO, and help Vladimir Putin, something that should frighten every democracy-loving person in the free world. As Kasie Hunt correctly pointed out, the fact that Sen Romney brought up this issue, shows that it is a huge concern among establishment Republicans(Trump winning in 2024)

Romney told host Kasie Hunt: “I think if President Trump were to return as President, that the nations of the world would say they have to really rethink their own national security, and the extent to which they want to be aligned with us, and instead be aligned with someone else, and you saw that happened during the time President Trump was there. I’ve had conversations with leaders of other nations now, members of NATO, and they raise this question–We’re happy to see you committed to our mutual defense, but we don’t know whether you’re just committed short term, or whether this a long term and permanent commitment? I think this is a long term commitment. “

There is no other way to interpret Senator Romney’s remarks other than, him and fellow Republicans are very concerned about a second Trump presidency, and specifically, the disastrous effect that would have on NATO, while at the same time helping Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. This is a serious problem, not just for establishment Republicans, but also for the cause of democracy worldwide. Simply put, a Trump win in 2024 is a win for Vladimir Putin and other autocrats worldwide.

Bottom line folks, the Russia-Ukraine war has demonstrated very clearly that there is a global battle currently playing out between free, democracy-loving countries, and autocratic dictatorships like Russia, China, Turkey, et al. If Putin prevails in Ukraine, it will represent a win for autocrats, and as Senator Romney correctly points out, a second Trump presidency will be a major boost to Putin and other autocrats. Trump has already demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt(DC insurrection, friendship with autocrats), that he should never ever occupy the White House again. The only question now is whether his Republican Party will see to it that he is kept on the political sidelines.

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VP Kamala Harris’ Biggest Moment(Yet) On The International Stage

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U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris delivered the keynote address at the Munich Security Conference in Germany on 02/18/22. The Munich conference is arguably VP Harris’ biggest moment on the international stage, and her most consequential speech to date, given it’s timing–the looming Russia-Ukraine conflict. It’s also impossible to ignore the historical significance of the moment, given the fact that she addressed the Munich conference as the first female VP of the United States, and the first woman of color to represent the United States in that capacity.

VP Harris traveled to Munich Germany with a bipartisan group of lawmakers and foreign policy heads. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky also attended this important international conference, even as Putin’s Russia is on the cusp of invading his country. The Russians skipped the Munich conference.

VP Harris laid out the seriousness of the moment in her opening remarks: “I’m certain we all recognize, this year’s gathering is unlike those of the recent past. Not since the end of the cold war, has this forum convened under such dire circumstances. Today, as we are all well aware, the foundation of European security is under direct threat in Ukraine. Let us remember from the wreckage of two world wars, a consensus emerged in Europe and the United States. A consensus in favor of order, not chaos, security, not conflict…That the rule of law should be cherished, that sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states must be respected, and that national borders should not be changed by force.”

There is no question that the text of VP Harris’ historical speech in Munich will feature in many political science and history classes in years to come, as one of the defining moments in the relationship between NATO countries and Russia.

Bottom line folks, as Yours Truly said earlier, this is easily VP Harris’ biggest moment on the international stage, and reasonable people will agree, she shone bright. With the eyes of the world trained on her, she delivered a great speech, that clearly conveyed the danger Putin’s Russia poses to Europe and the rest of the world, without sounding alarmist. All in all, VP Harris, you represented President Biden, and America, exceedingly well in Munich!!

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House GOP Members Support Break From NATO

In case you missed it, on 1/22/2019 the U.S. House of Representatives voted on H.R. 676, the NATO Support Act, which essentially affirms that the U.S. stands with and will remain in NATO. The NATO Support Act was of course necessitated by reports in the media that Trump had mentioned to aides he may be open to pulling the U.S. out of NATO. U.S. withdrawal from NATO would of course be the best news ever for Russian President Vladimir Putin who has been scheming for decades for such an eventuality.

As expected, the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to stay in NATO. The final vote tally was 357 Yeas(208 Dems & 149 GOP) and 22 Nays with 54 not voting. The 22 Nays were all Republicans–essentially saying that they would back Trump were he to pull the U.S. out of NATO, giving Putin his ultimate prize.

Prior to the Trump presidency, no member of Congress would even consider pulling the U.S. out of NATO. Because this is such a shocking development, it deserves a HANDY LIST

Here’s a HANDY LIST of the 22 shameful Republican Members of Congress who would support Trump were he to pull the U.S. out of NATO, handing Vladimir Putin his biggest geopolitical achievement.

Bottom line as Americans are increasingly concerned about Russian encroachment into U.S. politics, shocking votes like the one on HR 676 must not be taken lightly. The mainstream media would do the public a great service if they confronted these 22 Republicans about their reasoning behind wanting to pull the U.S. out of NATO.

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