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Editor Daily Rundown: Americans Turn To Dollar Stores During Biden Recession

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Vince Coglianese Editorial Director
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AMERICANS TURN TO DOLLAR STORES DURING BIDEN RECESSION… 71 PERCENT JUMP SINCE OCT. 2021… WSJ: Dollar-Store Dinners and Vats of Shampoo Help Families Cope With High Prices

More Americans are embracing frugality as they face rising prices at every turn.

With energy costs up 41.6% and groceries 12.2% more expensive than they were last year, according to June’s Consumer Price Index, many families say that skipping vacations and restaurant meals is no longer enough. They are now finding ways to cut costs on essentials.

One way they are doing so is by relying more on dollar and discount stores for groceries. Average spending on grocery products at discount chains increased 71% from October 2021 to June 2022, according to analytics firm InMarket. Over that time period, spending on the same items in grocery stores decreased by 5%. Many large consumer brands—including Walmart and Unilever—attest that their prices aren’t going down anytime soon.

 

JEROME POWELL LAST WEEK… POOR ARE ‘SUFFERING FROM HIGH INFLATION… PAYCHECK DOESN’T COVER THE FOOD…’

Now, the macroeconomic—there are plenty of macroeconomic issues that don’t rise to the level of financial-stability concerns. By financial stability, you know, we think of that as things that might undermine the working of the financial system, so big, serious things. That’s not to say that people at the lower end of the income spectrum aren’t suffering, because they are. They’re suffering from high inflation. They’re going to the—you know, to the grocery store and finding that, you know, in many cases their paycheck doesn’t cover the food they’re accustomed to buying. We’re seeing actual, you know, real declines in food consumption, and you know, it’s very concerning. It’s very unfortunate. And that’s why we’re really committed to bringing down inflation—one of the reasons.

 

DON’T BELIEVE THE LACK OF HEADLINES… THE BABY FORMULA SHORTAGE IS STILL CRUSHING PARENTS… DAILY MAIL: Baby formula crisis WORSENS as out-of-stock levels hit 30%: Parents accuse Biden of forgetting about them and mom struggling to feed twins says ‘I’m sure these politicians’ babies eat’

The nationwide baby formula shortage has worsened with 30 percent of all brands reported out-of-stock, despite President Joe Biden’s efforts to make infant milk more accessible.

Families in Arizona and Wyoming have been hardest hit by the shortage with out-of-stock rates at 44  percent and 42 percent, respectively.

Biden and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have made it easier for foreign manufacturers to get shipments into the country, and appealed to companies such as Nestle and Reckitt to step up production.

French consumer goods company Danone on Wednesday said it had shipped more than 750,000 cans of its flagship Aptamil baby formula to the U.S. from Europe, with another 550,000 cans on the way.

However, parents struggling to feed their children have slammed the administration, with one Louisiana mom alleging it seems like those in power ‘just forgot’ about the ongoing crisis.

Amber Bergeron, who took to Facebook about the hardships of finding formula for her preemie twins, has described the ongoing crisis as ‘disgusting,’ noting she is ‘sure these politicians’ babies eat.’

 

‘WHY IS THIS STILL HAPPENING?’ … JAZZ SHAW…

So why is this still happening? Well, the Michigan Abbott plant where a very large percentage of American baby formula is produced is now partially reopened and the production lines are rolling. But it’s going to take several more weeks before they can get back to 100% capacity. Joe Biden’s Operation Fly Formula has helped a bit, bringing in the equivalent of roughly 800,000 bottles of formula per flight, but that’s not nearly enough to make up for the standard demand.

French producer Danone has exported more than 750,000 bottles to the United States and is promising another half million next week. They are exporting these products from New Zealand, along with some specialized formula for premie babies. All of these factors are helpful, but there are three million babies born in the United States each year and the majority of them consumes multiple bottles per day. There are still women out there offering their services as wet nurses, but they are few in number in comparison to the demand.

 

NEW LOW JOE… BIDEN ACHIEVES RECORD LOWS IN GALLUP SURVEY… GALLUP: Biden Job Approval Dips to New Low

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Joe Biden’s job approval rating has fallen below 40% for the first time and now sits at a personal low of 38%. Between September and June, the president’s rating had ranged narrowly between 40% and 43%. Before that, Biden mostly received majority approval ratings. […]

Biden’s sixth quarter in office, spanning April 20 through July 19, recently ended. During this time, an average of 40% of Americans approved of the job he was doing as president. No president elected to his first term has had a lower sixth-quarter average than Biden, although Jimmy Carter’s and Donald Trump’s ratings were only slightly better, at 42%. Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan also averaged below majority approval.

 

POST MILLENNIAL: CNN’s Van Jones on Biden: “If you just erase the past six months of nutty stuff … that’s a successful presidency” (VIDEO)

 

BREAKING FRIDAY… WSJ: Kate Bedingfield Will Stay as White House Communications Director, Reversing Decision to Step Down

 

ANALYSTS: ‘INFLATION REDUCTION ACT’ COULD ACTUALLY MAKE INFLATION WORSE… WITH NO MEASURABLE UPSIDE… POLITICO: Democrats’ newly rebranded “Inflation Reduction Act” would slightly raise prices before cooling them, economic analysts predict.

Democrats’ latest reboot of Build Back Better, specifically marketed to fight inflation, won’t actually do so until after the 2024 presidential election.

That’s the takeaway from a fresh analysis today, delivered by the budget experts at The University of Pennsylvania’s business school. […]

The inflation impact would be incredibly minor and “statistically indistinguishable from zero,” the report says. So the budget analysts have “low confidence” that the package will have any impact on prices at all.

 

MANCHIN REACTS TO ANALYSIS: ‘I RESPECTFULLY DISAGREE’… (VIDEO)

 

MANCHIN CLAIMS ECONOMISTS ARE ROUTINELY WRONG…

 

TAX HIKES FOR EVERYONE… WSJ EDITORIAL BOARD: The Schumer-Manchin Tax Increase on Everyone

The JCT finds that average tax rates will increase for nearly every income category in 2023 under the bill.

Taxes will rise by $16.7 billion in 2023 on Americans earning less than $200,000 a year. Taxpayers earning between $200,000 and $500,000 will pay $14.1 billion more. This gives the lie to Democratic claims that no one earning under $400,000 will pay more taxes under the bill, a promise Mr. Biden also made in his campaign. The reality is that the Schumer-Manchin bill is a tax increase on nearly every American.

 

HOUSE DEMS PASS OBVIOUSLY UNCONSTITUTIONAL GUN BILL… House Democrats Pass ‘Assault Weapons Ban’ With GOP Support After Moderates Get Cold Feet (VIDEO)

The House of Representatives passed legislation on Friday that would ban most semi-automatic weapons currently in use in the U.S, including AR-15s.

The Assault Weapons Ban of 2021 Act, first introduced by Democratic Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, would ban semi-automatic weapons that contain a magazine, a pistol or forward grip and a “folding, telescoping, or detachable stock.” Two-hundred and fifteen Democrats and two Republicans supported the legislation, while 208 out of 213 “no” votes came from Republicans. The bill is not expected to pass the Senate.

“These military style weapons were designed for the battlefield, with maximum efficiency for when a soldier is engaged in combat. The military features banned by this bill are added to make these guns more accurate, more controllable, more concealable, and more deadly,” Cicilline said in a floor speech urging colleagues to support the regulation.

House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York touted the bill during a committee markup as banning weapons that are in “common use” across the U.S.

“The problem is that they’re in common use,” he said during an exchange with Republican North Carolina Rep. Dan Bishop.

 

FLASHBACK… ‘That’s The Point’: Rep. Nadler Admits Bill Will Confiscate Guns In ‘Common Use’ (VIDEO)

 

‘COMMON USE’ … ACCORDING TO THE SUPREME COURT, THAT’S EXACTLY THE CATEGORY OF GUN PROTECTED BY THE US CONSTITUTION… JUSTICE SCALIA, WRITING THE OPINION OF THE COURT, DC v. HELLER (2008)

We may as well consider at this point (for we will have to consider eventually) what types of weapons Miller permits. Read in isolation, Miller’s phrase “part of ordinary military equipment” could mean that only those weapons useful in warfare are protected. That would be a startling reading of the opinion, since it would mean that the National Firearms Act’s restrictions on machine guns (not challenged in Miller) might be unconstitutional, machine guns being useful in warfare in 1939. We think that Miller’s “ordinary military equipment” language must be read in tandem with what comes after: “[O]rdinarily when called for [militia] service [able-bodied] men were expected to appear bearing arms supplied by themselves and of the kind in common use at the time.” 307 U. S., at 179. The traditional militia was formed from a pool of men bringing arms “in common use at the time” for lawful purposes like self-defense. “In the colonial and revolutionary war era, [small-arms] weapons used by militiamen and weapons used in defense of person and home were one and the same.” State v. Kessler, 289 Ore. 359, 368, 614 P. 2d 94, 98 (1980) (citing G. Neumann, Swords and Blades of the American Revolution 6–15, 252–254 (1973)). Indeed, that is precisely the way in which the Second Amendment’s operative clause furthers the purpose announced in its preface. We therefore read Miller to say only that the Second Amendment does not protect those weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes, such as short-barreled shotguns. That accords with the historical understanding of the scope of the right, see Part III, infra.25

 

BARR: HUNTER CASE NEEDS A SPECIAL COUNSEL… MARGOT CLEVELAND: Former AG Bill Barr To Merrick Garland: Appoint A Special Counsel Already

Recent developments warrant the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Hunter Biden, former Attorney General William Barr says.

“[I]ntervening events, especially recent reports about FBI whistleblowers and the possible reach of the investigation, warrant adding the protections of special counsel status to assure that key decisions are made independently without political ‘favor,’” Barr told The Federalist. […]

This week, multiple FBI whistleblowers, including those in senior positions, accused FBI headquarters of “improperly discredit[ing] and falsely claim[ing] that derogatory information about Biden’s activities was disinformation, causing investigative activity and sourcing to be shut down,” according to a Monday letter from Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.

That fact, as well as concern over the investigation’s complexity and scope, convinced the former attorney general of the need for a special counsel.

 

ANDY MCCARTHY AGREES…

Although I despise the pernicious institution of special counsel, I argued back in early December 2020, when it was clear that Biden had won the election and would be the next president, that the Biden investigation was primed for the appointment of one. That’s because there is no getting around two problems: (1) The Justice Department has a profound conflict of interest if it is in the position of having to investigate the president and/or his close family members, and (2) federal regulations instruct the attorney general that when the department is conflicted in this way, a special counsel (i.e., a scrupulous, experienced attorney from outside the government) is to be appointed.

 

PELOSI TOURS ASIA… NO WORD ON TAIWAN STOP… FOX: Nancy Pelosi arrives in Singapore as she begins tour of Asia

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, landed in Singapore early Monday morning to kick off her visit to the Indo-Pacific region. Her office said she plans to visit at least four Asian countries during her trip, but there was no mention of a stop in Taiwan amid threats from China.

Pelosi arrived with her Congressional delegation before dawn. She will visit Singapore President Halimah Yacob and Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, and meet with several Cabinet Ministers, according to a spokesperson for Singapore’s foreign ministry.

The Speaker is also expected to attend a cocktail reception with the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore.

Pelosi’s visit to Asia will not include any media access. The delegation includes Reps. Gregory Meeks of New York, Mark Takano of California, Suzan DelBene of Washington, Raja Krishnamoorthi of Illinois and Andy Kim of New Jersey.

 

CHINA EXPERTS EXPECT ‘DISPLAYS OF MILITARY MIGHT’ IF PELOSI VISITS TAIWAN… NYT: A Pelosi Trip to Taiwan Would Test China’s Appetite for Confrontation

She would be the most senior U.S. official to visit the island since 1997, when a previous speaker, Newt Gingrich, visited.

Mr. Xi has cast himself as the standard-bearer of a sacred cause — unifying Taiwan with China — and Beijing regards visits to the island by American officials as an affront to that claim. China’s foreign ministry has warned Ms. Pelosi of “serious consequences” if, as expected, she goes to Taiwan, and China’s military has issued vague warnings of readiness to defend national sovereignty.

But Mr. Xi is also confronting a brittle economic and political moment, and careening into a crisis over Taiwan could damage him, even as he rallies nationalist support. […]

If Ms. Pelosi follows through — she has not confirmed whether she will visit Taiwan — Mr. Xi is likely to use displays of military might to convey Beijing’s anger while seeking to avoid a volatile standoff that would spook markets and drag down China’s economy, experts said. […]

The Chinese government perhaps gave a foretaste of how it would respond if she visits when the military announced live-fire exercises in waters 80 miles from neighboring Taiwan’s coast. On Monday, the 95th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army, Chinese military media unleashed more statements about defending sovereignty, as well as video of China’s Dongfeng-17 ballistic missile. Chinese television also issued an unflattering video profile of Ms. Pelosi.

 

CHINA RELEASES VIDEO ATTACKING NANCY PELOSI’S CAREER… EVEN FEATURES MOMENT SHE ELBOW-CHECKED MAYRA FLORES’ DAUGHTER… (VIDEO)

 

BREAKING THIS AM… WSJ: Pelosi to Go Ahead With Taiwan Visit

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is planning to visit Taiwan, with meetings scheduled with government officials on the self-ruled island that China claims as its own, according to a person familiar with the matter, raising the prospect of increased tensions between the U.S. and China.

People whom Mrs. Pelosi is planning to meet with in Taiwan have been informed of her imminent arrival, this person said, though some details remain in flux. Some of Ms. Pelosi’s meetings have been scheduled for Tuesday evening, but most are set for Wednesday, the person said, adding that they include, but aren’t limited to, Taiwanese government officials.

“She’s definitely coming,” the person said. “The only variable is whether she spends the night in Taipei.”

 

NBA’S WINNINGEST CHAMPION DIES AT 88… REACTION POURS IN FROM CELTICS, MAGIC JOHNSON, JORDAN, BARKLEY… BLOOMBERG: Twitter Pays Tribute to Boston Celtics Pioneer Bill Russell

Bill Russell, who won 11 National Basketball Association titles in 13 years with the Boston Celtics spanning the 1950s and 1960s, has died. He was 88.

Russell won more titles than any other professional basketball player in the US, was inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame in 1975 and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama.

His final two championships were as a player-coach, the first African-American coach to win a title in any major US sport.

 

‘STAR TREK’ ACTRESS DEAD AT 89… SJ: Nichelle Nichols, Who Played Uhura on ‘Star Trek,’ Dies at 89

Nichelle Nichols, the trailblazing “Star Trek” actress who played Lieutenant Uhura and shared one of the first interracial kisses on prime-time TV, died Saturday, according to her family. She was 89 years old.

Ms. Nichols played communications chief Lt. Nyota Uhura in the “Star Trek” franchise of the 1960s, a Black woman in a position of authority on TV when few African-American women were given such roles.

She credited civil-rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for encouraging her to stay with the series past the first season, when she considered quitting to pursue a Broadway career.