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Rasmussen: Americans Are Worried About Inflation

Majority don't trust Fed to fix it.

1:01 PM, Aug 25, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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Things are getting more expensive, and the American people know it. A new poll from Rasmussen Reports found three-quarters of Americans say they are concerned about inflation, with 81 percent saying they are paying more for groceries and 71 percent saying they expect to pay even more for groceries a year from now. Here's more:

Forty-three percent (43%) are now confident the Federal Reserve will be able to keep inflation under control and interest rates down. That's up six points from last month and the highest level of confidence since February. However, 50% still do not share that confidence. These findings include 11% who are Very Confident in the Fed and 14% who are Not At All Confident.

Republican Senate candidate Jeff Bell of New Jersey responded to the poll in a statement. "It's clear that inflation is a bigger problem for the average American than the Federal Reserve or the Democratic Party would like to admit," Bell said. "We know that the government's measurement of inflation is understated because of how much it weights housing costs (41%), and it's clear in the data that on everyday purchases like groceries people are experiencing problematic inflation. This is making it harder to save money and improve one's standard of living."

He went on to criticize his Democratic opponent, Cory Booker, for supporting a monetary policy that lets "the rich get richer while everyone else suffers under rising prices."

Booker, the former mayor of Newark, is perceived to have an easy path to reelection, but Bell has been slowly gaining on the Democrat. The latest poll of the race found Booker leading Bell by only 10 points. Bell's inflation-focused campaign for Senate is the subject of an Andrew Ferguson article in the latest issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD. Here's an excerpt:

Bell came up empty in his search for a senatorial candidate who would make the gold standard the central issue of a campaign this fall. This left him nowhere to turn but the mirror.

“I’m a one-issue candidate,” he says over dinner in the hotel restaurant, with his staff tapping away across the lobby. “I don’t really want to get into state issues. With no money, my only real opportunity is to be known for just one thing.” 

So Bell, an eloquent and ardent pro-lifer, defense hawk, and foreign-policy interventionist, ties nearly every issue he’s asked about back to the destructive power of paper money. He spent $90,000 on his primary campaign. Almost $60,000 of that went to mail a three-page letter to a list of 99,000 Republicans who had voted in the 2013 primary. The letter is charming and impressive in its earnest refusal to pander and condescend to its audience, or to affect the breezy tone of typical campaign come-ons. Breeziness is probably hard to do anyway when you’re talking about the gold standard. 

“Why is it so important to return to gold-dollar convertibility now?” his letter asked the unsuspecting Republican voters of New Jersey. “Things have gone too far for limited half measures to work” [overemphasis in the original]. A return to the gold standard, he concedes, would of course result in higher interest rates, as the dollar sought its own level of value without direction from the Fed. 

“Washington’s political elites and Wall Street’s financial elites are deathly afraid that cutting off the dollar printing press will hasten a new financial crisis,” the letter goes on. “They may well be right. What they don’t want to think about is that a new financial crisis will happen anyway. [Meanwhile], the U.S. economy is trapped in a bleak landscape and the middle class continues to be ground down.”

Read the whole thing here.

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