I have been surprised that Democrats have been so mealy-mouthed about inflation. Yes, inflation is bad, and it hurts everyone, especially those living from paycheck to paycheck. Gasoline costs more than we are used to paying (while the big gas and oil corporations are reporting record profits).

But why don’t Democrats tell the facts: Inglation is a global problem. The Ukrainian war—Putin’s war—has cut off energy supplies and raised prices. Europeans have as much inflation as we do, maybe more. There have been mass protests against inflation in other countries.

To hear Republican ads, Joe Biden is uniquely responsible for inflation. Is he causing inflation around the world or shouldn’t we be talking about the “Putin tax”?

Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times reveals an important truth: the Republicans have no plan to reduce inflation. It’s their biggest issue, by far, and they have not said what they would do to curb inflation.

A look at the GOP’s election manifesto, the “Commitment to America” recently issued by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Bakersfield), reveals no specifics. Nor have Republican candidates done so during the multitude of appearances they’ve made on cable talk shows, despite specific and pointed questions by the hosts….

Here, for example, is Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.) on Aug. 21, responding on “Meet the Press” when Chuck Todd asked, “What is the Republican plan to deal with inflation other than not supporting Joe Biden policies?”

“Well, we have a positive agenda. We have a commitment to America, and we’re going to get back to basics. … We don’t need more IRS agents. We need more Border Patrol agents. And we have a common sense plan to reduce the cost of living, to lower the cost at the pump.”

But what that “common sense plan” was, Barr didn’t disclose.

Nothing is new about this campaign technique from a minority party. It consists of repeatedly citing a problem and tying it to the party in power, assuming that voters’ impulse to “throw the bums out” will deliver electoral victory…

The “Commitment to America” also claims to have a scheme to “regain American energy independence and lower prices at the pump.” A couple of problems with that. One is that the U.S. already is energy-independent — it’s been a net exporter of oil almost every month since the last quarter of 2019 and a net exporter of natural gas since mid-2017, according to government statistics.

When McCarthy says he intends to “maximize production of reliable, American-made energy” as though that will bring prices down at the pump, he’s emitting vapor.

Additional production of energy within the U.S. will simply enter the international market, where it will be subject to global price pressures such as the supply reduction caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and by OPEC’s decision to reduce its own output. Those are the influences driving up gasoline prices here, not the pace of production from U.S. wells….

Republicans would extend the tax cuts they enacted in 2017, when they controlled both chambers of Congress and the White House — a giveaway mostly to the rich and corporations that blew a hole in the U.S. budget estimated at $1.5 trillion to $3 trillion over 10 years — and one without any lasting positive effect on economic growth.

They’re talking about benefit cuts for Social Security and Medicare recipients, which would certainly make it harder for those households to make ends meet. They’ve talked about refusing to increase the government’s debt ceiling next year, using it to extract benefit cuts. As I’ve reported, this is playing with fire….

Undoubtedly, more can be done. President Biden is jawboning oil companies about their huge run-up in profits, but that’s just one industry. Corporate profits have soared since mid-2020 while average worker earnings have remained muted — a little-noticed spur to inflation.

Has the GOP embraced those ideas? Of course not — corporate managements and the big oil companies are its patrons. Instead of pointing the finger at them, Republicans complain that Social Security beneficiaries are collecting too much and the rich are staggering under the burden of the lowest marginal federal tax rates in more than half a century.

If you want to know why that party has nothing to offer on inflation, it’s because anything that really would address it in a way that helps average Americans would hurt its friends. We can’t have that, can we?