OPINION: This article contains commentary which may reflect the author's opinion
Voters say the two most important issues heading into the midterms are crime and inflation, according to an Aug. 22 Rasmussen Reports survey.
Rasmussen polled 1,000 likely voters from Aug. 17-18 with a margin of error of +/- 2% and found that 86% of likely voters said they were at least somewhat concerned about the rise in violent crime.
At the same time, 85% of Americans shared similar concerns over inflation.
Economists warned that U.S. inflation would become a burden to an already weak middle America unless the U.S. Federal Reserve took steps in 2021 to raise the interest rates.
But the Fed ignored the predictions and decided instead to wait until inflation was at historic highs before raising the rate by a .25-percentage point, which did little to solve the problem, and inflation got worse.
After the recent Consumer Price Index (CPI) report showed that core prices grew in August, the brokerage firm Nomura Securities predicted that the U.S. Federal Reserve would make the largest interest rate hike since the 1980s.
Nomura Securities told clients in a report that they anticipate the Feds will raise the short-term rate a shocking 1% at the September Federal Open Market Committee meeting.
Economists at Nomura Securities have changed their forecast and expect a 100 basis point Fed rate increase next week (followed by 50 bps each in Nov and Dec):
"The August CPI report … suggests a series of upside inflation risks may be materializing."
— Nick Timiraos (@NickTimiraos) September 13, 2022
“We continue to believe markets underappreciate just how entrenched U.S. inflation has become and the magnitude of response that will likely be required from the Fed to dislodge it,” Nomura Securities report stated, according to Market Watch.
“We believe it is increasingly clear that a more aggressive path of interest-rate hikes will be needed to combat increasingly entrenched inflation stemming from an overheating labor market, unsustainably strong wage growth and higher inflation expectations.”
Nomura forecasts that the Feds will raise the rate to 3.25-3.5% at the policy meeting on Sept. 20-21, a shocking increase since the rate was almost zero as recently as March 2022, also believing that the Fed will eventually boost that rate as high as 4.75% in 2023, according to the report.
Raising the interest rate makes it more expensive to borrow money. If the Fed raises the interest rate by .25%, it adds $25 a year in interest per every $10,000 borrowed. This increase, especially for variable-rate debt like adjustable mortgage rates, car loans, and credit cards, adds up.
Americans added over $67 billion in new debt during the second quarter of 2022, averaging around $8,942 per family, according to a study analyzing data from TransUnion, the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The data showed that this increase is 3.5 times more than the average debt taken on during the second quarter of the post-Great Recession.
Another problem is Democrats’ failure to save the expiring Obamacare subsidies would compound the issue for older Americans who could be forced to shoulder the burden of steep premium hikes.
Healthcare policy analyst Charles Gaba found that a 60-year-old couple could face a $17,000 per year premium increase if the Affordable Care Act (ACA) subsidies funded in the American Rescue Plan (ARP) are allowed to expire on Dec. 31.
“There’s no denying that if they are not extended, then there could definitely be a political impact,” Gaba told Business Insider.
In Georgia, where Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock competes against Republican Senate candidate Herschel Walker, Gaba predicts a 60-year-old pre-retired couple making $75,000 per year will see a 224% increase in their health care premiums for the lowest-cost silver plan if the ARP subsidies aren’t extended.
This means this couple will see an approximate monthly increase of $1,190 over what they are already paying to keep their insurance coverage.
Similarly, in Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin’s state of West Virginia, the healthcare premiums for the same senior couple have an annual increase of $32,448, a staggering 542% rise, according to Gaba.
‘Obamacare’ is unaffordable.
The premium hike could affect as many as 13 million people in the U.S., including the over 2.5 million new enrollees who joined due to the ACA subsidies provided in the American Rescue Plan.
Head of D.C.’s Obamacare exchange, Mila Kofman, told Politico that the added healthcare expense “is just not going to be sustainable for people.”
“They’re going to be choosing between their food, going to work, or keeping a roof over their head,” Kofman said.
Or choose not to participate in the government health care.
Last but not least, Americans increasingly feel less safe due to the rise in violent crime.
The Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA) released a report that found that violent crime was rising in the U.S.
“Compared to 2019 midyear figures, MCCA member cities have experienced a 50% increase in homicides and a roughly 36% increase in aggravated assaults,” the MCCA said. “These shocking numbers demonstrate how the sustained increase in violent crime has disproportionately impacted major urban areas.”
There have been almost 7,000 additional robberies and 4,000 more aggravated assaults in 2022 than recorded in 2021 from the 70 U.S. police and law enforcement agencies participating in the report, according to the MCCA, Daily Caller reports.
So going into the elections, the nations regards fiscal responsibility, high crime statistics, and affordable health care as crucial issues.