Editorial: No quick, easy solution for high inflation


A recent editorial by the Youngstown Vindicator:

If it seems as though Ohio’s economy is grinding to a slow slog, you’re not imagining things. Among other indicators, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose released data that show new business filings in the state decreased by 20 percent from March to April 2022, and 30% from April 2021 to April 2022.

In a news release sent from his state office, LaRose lamented soaring inflation has caused small business optimism to reach an all-time low.

“We’ve seen working Ohioans continue to pay the price for the current administration’s lack of leadership in reining in record high inflation,” said LaRose, who faces Democrat Chelsea Clark in the November general election. “Now, it’s Ohio small businesses who are left to suffer. The time for political games is over. It’s time for action. My message to Ohio entrepreneurs — I will continue to fight the bureaucratic incompetence in Washington and work with our legislative leaders to ensure the Buckeye State remains the destination state for starting a new business.”

Political games, indeed.

LaRose is correct, public officials — elected and otherwise — SHOULD be doing all they can to address the problem.

But the measures at their disposal are not perhaps as appealing as Ohioans might hope.

For example, among the moves that could be made by “the current administration” are increasing the number of immigrants legally allowed to work in this country, to address the worker shortage.

Or the Biden administration could ease tariffs put in place by President Donald Trump. Reports suggest American companies importing some Chinese-made products have paid more than $100 billion to cover those costs since the tariffs were imposed.

Meanwhile, the real power to do something about inflation lies with the Federal Reserve, which has been slow to act under Chairman Jerome Powell. The Fed increased its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point earlier this month.

More such moves eventually should ease inflation, but they will increase interest rates and make it more difficult to borrow.

There is no win-win way to solve the inflation problem, and LaRose knows it. He is right to hope those in Washington, D.C., who can make a difference will do so. And certainly the moves to cut red tape for entrepreneurs working with his own office are commendable.

But reining in inflation will not be painless, and will take a concerted, long-term effort. Political showboating helps no one.

— Youngstown Vindicator, May 26

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