By Steve Hunley

My wife Kim likes to save money.  Kim knows how to use coupons and I think there have been times when she’s gone shopping, got what she wanted or needed and the store had to pay her.  Last week, Kim came in to report the sad news that one of her favorite stores, the Dollar Tree, was having to raise its prices.  The fact is, the Dollar Tree announced it’s raising its prices to $1.25 and $1.50, a victim of the rampant Biden-inflation.  The Dollar Tree was the last of the stores to stick to its price of one dollar.  Joe Biden and the free-spending Democrats in Congress have managed to kill off the last of traditional dollar store concept stores.

The cost of shipping and everything contributing to the hyper-inflation – – – the price of bacon for instance is at a 50 year high – – – along with the insistence of the Democrats in Congress to spend every nickel your grandchildren will ever see, has killed off the notion of dollar stores.

That same vise grip will strangle more businesses and hurt more working people as time goes by.  The Democrats in Congress are having problems with the far Left of their own party who think 3.5 TRILLION dollars is too meager a sum to spend.  Nancy Pelosi has been trying to find a way to bring all the Democrats together in order to force passage of the social welfare/Green New Deal spending bill they laughingly refer to as the “Bring America Back Bill.”  Every indication has been present things have been coming back pretty nicely up until the Democrats went spend-crazy.  The truth is, we can’t afford those social programs we have now, much less what they propose to spend on everything coming and going in their socialist spending bill.

Real Democrats like Franklin D. Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy warned against an entitlement mentality.  Now the socialists are raging against Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who has announced he will not vote to spend more than $1.5 TRILLION.  That has infuriated the far left who have eagerly awaited the legislation supposedly launching Bernie Sanders’ entitlement dreamscape. Those mad at Joe Manchin and Kristen Sinema of Arizona aren’t really “progressives”, so let’s call them what they are: socialists.  Joe Manchin finally said last week what needed to be said:  “. . .we can’t even pay for the essential social programs, like Social Security and Medicare. . .” presently and adding more on top of that “is the definition of fiscal insanity.”  Joe Manchin is a Democrat and he’s right.

Clearly inflation is running at more than 4% for working people.  The rising cost of living is as regressive a tax as any that could be passed by any legislative body.  When food and gas begin to rise sharply, folks have less money for other necessities of life and very few luxuries.  Joe Biden has also broken his pledge not to raise taxes on the middle class.  The notion $3.5 TRILLION in spending is all paid for and costs nothing is just not true.  Go out and pay $80,000 for a new car, pay in cash and come home and try and convince your spouse it cost nothing.  Lose $1 million in an investment and try and convince your better half it cost you nothing.  There is no such thing as a FREE anything involving the government; it costs somebody something.  It all goes back to the notion expressed by this newspaper on numerous occasions: a lot of folks think the best tax is one you don’t pay, but derive a benefit from.  That is at the heart of the constant refrain sung endlessly by Democrat-socialists who they sing their hosannas to “tax the rich.”

One public official who understands the effect of inflation upon the working family is Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs.  A successful businessman and careful with a buck, Glenn Jacobs is acutely aware of what programs cost and rightly expects the most for the least expenditure.  I would have a lot more confidence in the economic development of Knox County were it to be brought entirely under the auspices of the mayor.  The news Smith & Wesson is moving lock, stock and barrel from Massachusetts to Blount County is wonderful news for our region.  Yet it also illustrates something is fundamentally wrong with the leadership of Knox County’s economic development community.  For years, we have depended upon the Knox County Development Corporation and the Chamber of Commerce for such things and Knox County taxpayers have subsidized them generously for decades.  The development corporation has been folded into the chamber. At the very least, it’s time to reconsider these subsidies and spend the money inside county government, which will give the mayor much more say in attracting businesses to Knox County.

Likewise the City of Knoxville has pretty well made a mess of such things.  As far as I can tell, every member of the Knoxville City Council decries crime is the result of poverty and they all holler good jobs is the cure; that and less policing.  Yet the city council dramatically downsized the scope of the Amazon project in Knoxville, which would have brought good-paying jobs to the community and its people.  Including many who would have been lifted from poverty by those same jobs.  Yet the city council quibbled and the bulk of the Amazon project went to . . . where else, but Blount County.  City voters ought to think about electing some folks to the city council who mean what they say and understand the value of a dollar.  They ought to elect some people who not only value business, but welcome business to Knoxville.  Currently, the Kincannon administration and its rubber stamp city council is following the same urban vision that have made once proud cities like St. Louis and Detroit brittle husks and shells abandoned by everyone who had the means to leave.  All that remains is largely poverty and crime, all built upon the promise of more and more entitlements and more and more social programs.

The present council is already spending more than it takes in and added another $50 million it doesn’t have on top of that.  Keep that in mind as you forgo bacon and beef in your diet.  Think about that as you pay more at the gas pumps.  The Democrats have gifted you with high inflation and soon, there will be tax hikes to take more of your money to match it.  And on top of the Biden-inflation, city dwellers will be presented with the bill for larding this year’s budget generously by Kincannon and company in the form of a tax hike.