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    Herman Daly, 84, Who Challenged the Economic Gospel of Growth, Dies

    Perhaps the best-known ecological economist, he faulted his mainstream peers for failing to account for the environmental harm growth can bring.Herman Daly, who for more than 50 years argued that the economic gospel of growth as synonymous with prosperity and progress was fundamentally, and dangerously, flawed because it ignored its associated costs, especially the depletion of natural resources and the pollution it engenders, died on Oct. 28 in Richmond, Va. He was 84.The death, at a hospital, was caused by a brain hemorrhage, his daughter Karen Daly Junker said.Dr. Daly, an ecological economist, was almost surely his field’s chief popularizer through his more than a dozen books and many journal articles, his faculty positions at the University of Maryland and, earlier, Louisiana State University, and his somewhat incongruous six-year stint at the World Bank.Although he was branded a heretic for his theories — or, worse, ignored — among traditional economists, he had plenty of adherents, who saw him as prophetic for anticipating climate change’s increasingly harmful impact and the vast sums of money needed to address it.“His ideas are really relevant now, unlike most other economists, whose ideas tend to lose relevance as time passes and circumstances change,” Peter A. Victor, an ecological economist and the author of the 2021 biography “Herman Daly’s Economics for a Full Word,” said in a phone interview.One of Dr. Daly’s key principles was that growth is “uneconomic” when its costs outweigh its benefits. That idea was tied to another: Earth, once empty, is now full — of people and what they produce — and charting a more sustainable path requires the use of fewer natural resources and the making of less waste.“That’s not really hard to understand,” Dr. Daly said in a 2011 video interview with WWF Sweden. “I can explain that to my grandchildren.”Yet another foundational concept was that the economy does not exist apart from the Earth’s biosphere but within it, and that its scale is limited by its reliance on finite natural resources.Such propositions might seem simple, but arguing against economic growth, Dr. Daly wrote in a foreword to Mr. Victor’s book, was like poking “a big hornets’ nest with a short stick.”“It rudely upsets a very large and comfortable consensus,” he added.He urged politicians, governments and other economists to abandon the relentless pursuit of growth in favor of a so-called steady-state economy, which would achieve a stable balance between supporting human life and preserving the environment. He employed an aircraft metaphor to explain his preferred approach.“The failure of a growth economy to grow is a disaster,” he told The New York Times Magazine in a profile of him this year. “The success of a steady-state economy not to grow is not a disaster. It’s like the difference between an airplane and a helicopter. An airplane is designed for forward motion. If an airplane has to stand still, it’ll crash. A helicopter is designed to stand still, like a hummingbird.”He proposed replacing gross domestic product with metrics like an “index of sustainable economic welfare,” which would tally not just the value of goods and services produced but also the ecological harm done in the process. To him, “sustainable growth” was nonsensical; “sustainable development” was the goal.In an interview, Joshua Farley, an economist and co-author with Dr. Daly of “Ecological Economics: Principles and Applications” (2004), boiled his colleague’s animating philosophy down concisely: “More isn’t always better.”Dr. Daly’s economic beliefs were grounded in hard sciences like the laws of thermodynamics, but also in ethical ideals, like the fair distribution of wealth, and in his faith as a Methodist who saw the Earth as the handiwork of an almighty creator.Even as his theories gained currency in recent years, they remained outside economic thinking’s mainstream. He did not seem to mind.“My duty is to do the best I can and put out some ideas,” he said in The Times Magazine interview. “Whether the seed that I plant is going to grow is not up to me. It’s just up to me to plant it and water it.”Dr. Daly received the Right Livelihood Award, which is sometimes called an alternative Nobel Prize, in 1996.Eric Roxfelt/Associated PressHerman Edward Daly was born on July 2l, l938, in Houston to Edward Joseph Daly, who owned a service station in Beaumont, Texas, where the family lived at the time, and Mildred (Herrmann) Daly, a homemaker who had worked as a bookkeeper before marrying. The family later moved to Houston, where Ed Daly opened a hardware store.Shortly before Herman turned 8, he contracted polio, which rendered his left arm useless. After unsuccessful efforts to repair it over several years, he opted for amputation when he was about to enter high school.“As traumatic as this was, it stopped me from wasting my time hoping I would recover and saved me from using lots of energy going through treatment that would be of little or no benefit,” he wrote in a 2014 personal history. “This painful experience taught me to concentrate on what I am able to do and not waste energy on things that I can’t do.”After graduating from high school in 1956, he entered what was then known as the Rice Institute (now Rice University) in Houston. When the time came to declare a major, he chose economics because, he said, he felt it merged science and the humanities.“As he later discovered,” Dr. Victor wrote in his biography, “that turned out not to be true.”Dr. Daly earned his bachelor’s degree in 1960 and then enrolled in a doctorate program at Vanderbilt University with a focus on development in Latin America.Two people he met while at Vanderbilt would play major roles in his life.One, his original thesis adviser, the Romanian mathematician and economist Nicolas Georgescu-Roegen, helped lay the groundwork for what became ecological economics with his 1971 book “The Entropy Law and the Economic Process,” which argued that all natural resources are permanently degraded when used for economic activity.The other was Marcia Damasceno, a Brazilian college student whom he married in 1963. Along with his daughter Karen, she survives him, as do another daughter, Terri Daly Stewart; his sister, Denis Lynn (Daly) Heyck, professor emeritus of Spanish language and literature at Loyola University Chicago; and three grandchildren.By the time Dr. Daly received his doctorate from Vanderbilt in 1967, he was teaching at L.S.U. There, he began to focus more closely on the interconnections between the economy, the environment and ethics, with an emphasis on the steady-state principles articulated by the 19th-century British economist John Stuart Mill. Dr. Daly published his first book, “Toward a Steady-State Economy,” in 1973. Dr. Daly’s 1996 book “Beyond Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development,” one of some 20 he wrote detailing his theories.He remained at L.S.U. until 1988, when, in an unlikely move, he joined the World Bank in Washington as a senior economist in the environment department. “It was a big surprise for me that the World Bank, whose basic policy was economic growth, offered me a job,” he wrote.While there, he developed his “three rules for sustainable development” and worked with others to try to change the bank’s system for measuring G.D.P. to reflect environmental costs. The efforts, he wrote, were “to little or no avail.” He moved to the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy in 1994, taking emeritus status in 2010.Dr. Daly’s other notable books include “For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy Toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future” (1989), written with the theologian John B. Cobb Jr.John Fullerton, a former commercial banker who now leads the Capital Institute, a research organization based in Stonington, Conn., whose work is aligned with the book’s prescriptions, is among those who have been influenced by “For the Common Good.”In an interview, Mr. Fullerton said one of Dr. Daly’s most important contributions was his focus on “a pursuit of development that was not physical to achieve prosperity.” Another, he said, was to argue that traditional approaches to finance and economics “lead us off a cliff.”Kirsten Noyes contributed research. More

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    Eurozone Inflation Reaches 10.7 Percent as Economies Slow Down

    The rise in consumer prices hit another record in October, with more than half of the countries that use the euro registering double-digit increases.Consumer prices in the countries that use the euro as their currency rose at a stunning annual rate of 10.7 percent in October, the European Commission reported on Monday, while economic growth across the continent grew by 0.2 percent over the quarter that spanned July, August and September.Prices have been on an relentless upward march since last year, as painfully high energy and food prices continued to push inflation to record levels. Over the past 12 months, energy prices rose by 41.9 percent while food prices increased by 13.1 percent.More than half of the 19 countries in the eurozone recorded double-digit inflation rates in the year through October, including Germany (11.6 percent), the Netherlands (16.8 percent), Italy (12.8 percent) and Slovakia (14.5 percent), with the Baltic countries at the highest end of the spectrum with rates over 21 percent.In September, the inflation rate across the eurozone was 9.9 percent. Twelve months ago, it was 4.1 percent.“This is a significant acceleration,” said Lucrezia Reichlin, an economist at the London Business School. “Inflation is becoming broad-based.”Although economic growth overall slowed from 0.8 percent in the second quarter — April, May and June — some countries registered bigger expansions than analysts anticipated. Germany, Europe’s largest economy, grew by 0.3 percent during the third quarter, driven in part by consumer spending. Italy’s economy grew by 0.5 percent and Sweden’s by 0.7 percent. Elsewhere, growth slowed. In France and Spain, growth increased by just 0.2 percent. Austria and Belgium saw their economies shrink by 0.1 percent.In the larger bloc of 27 countries that make up the European Union, third-quarter growth also increased by 0.2 percent.The International Monetary Fund has warned that “European policymakers face severe trade-offs and tough policy choices as they address a toxic mix of weak growth and high inflation that could worsen.”Inflation is vexing many of the world’s economies and may worsen, particularly in the wake of Russia’s withdrawal from an agreement that allowed grain exports from Ukraine that is likely to push up food prices.Last week, the United States announced that consumer prices rose by 6.2 percent in the year through September, by one measure. Britain’s inflation rate was 8.8 percent over the same period.Central banks appear resolutely determined to halt the rise. “Inflation remains far too high and will stay above the target for an extended period,” Christine Lagarde, the president of the European Central Bank, said last week after announcing the bank was raising interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point for the second time in a row.The International Monetary Fund has also urged central bankers to stay the course possibly through next year. It noted that “almost half the recent surge in European core inflation remains unexplained by its usual drivers,” suggesting that the war in Ukraine and aftershocks of the coronavirus pandemic were contributing to a new inflationary dynamic.The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point when policymakers meet on Wednesday. It would be the sixth increase this year. The Bank of England, meeting on Thursday, is also expected to raise rates by the same amount.However painful higher interest rates may be for consumers and borrowers in the United States, the sting is even sharper in other regions around the world. Higher interest rates attract investors, which pushes up the value of the dollar. For emerging nations with high debt bills denominated in dollars, though, their already heavy burden grows even larger. At the same time, nations that have to import American goods or essentials like energy and food that are often priced in dollars, get much more expensive. Those countries get poorer.While most economists have urged a hard line on inflation, there are an increasing number of voices questioning whether central bankers are going too far, too fast. Higher interest rates are not going to suddenly increase the supply of oil, wheat and microchips, and may even exacerbate shortages by stunting investment.There is also fear that efforts to corral inflation will accelerate countries’ slide into recession by choking off investment and raising unemployment. Several analysts said on Monday that they expected growth in the final three months of the year to deteriorate.Andrew Kenningham, the chief Europe economist at Capital Economics, warned in a report that the eurozone “is heading for a deeper recession and higher inflation than most expect.” More

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    Chip Makers, Once in High Demand, Confront Sudden Challenges

    Demand for semiconductors was off the charts last year. But a sharp slowdown coupled with new U.S. restrictions against China have created obstacles.A few months ago, makers of computer chips seemed on top of the world.Customers could not get enough of the small slices of silicon, which act as the brains of computers and are needed in just about every device with an on-off switch. Demand was so strong — and U.S. dependence on a foreign manufacturer so worrying — that Democrats and Republicans agreed in July on a $52 billion subsidy package that included grants to build new chip factories in America.U.S. chip makers such as Intel, Micron Technology, Texas Instruments and GlobalFoundries pledged huge expansions in domestic manufacturing, betting on a growing need for their products and the prospects of federal subsidies.But lately, supplies of some semiconductors are piling up, which could spell good news for consumers but not for industry executives. Their bold investment plans are running into a sudden and unexpected slowdown in consumer demand for electronic gadgets, new U.S. restrictions on sales to customers in China, rising inflation and the unusual prospect of a simultaneous shortage of some chips and glut of others.That has left chip makers, which had been looking ahead to immense demand and opportunity, suddenly grappling with immense challenges. Many of the companies now face complex questions about whether and when to boost production, amid uncertainty about how long the current sales slowdown may last.“Six months ago, I would have said we were in this hypergrowth phase,” Rene Haas, chief executive of Arm, the British company whose chip technology powers billions of smartphones, said of the broader industry. Now, he said, “we’re in a pause.”For many consumers, products that were scarce because of a chips shortage may start becoming more available, though not immediately. Automakers, which have struggled to make enough cars with the lack of chips and other components, said they were getting more but still face some problems. Prices of smartphones and computers could also fall as chip supplies grow and prices plummet for two types of memory chips they use.But for now, not everyone is able to get all the chips they need, and prices remain high for many kinds of semiconductors. “We are still way above prepandemic pricing,” said Frank Cavallaro, chief executive of A2 Global Electronics and Solutions, a chip distributor.Fears of a slump, which have clobbered semiconductor stocks this year, are evident in recent earnings announcements from chip makers. South Korea’s SK Hynix on Wednesday reported a 20 percent drop in revenue and said its business of memory chips “is facing an unprecedented deterioration in market conditions.” Intel provided more evidence of a downturn in its third-quarter results on Thursday, including a 20 percent drop in revenue and a $664 million charge to cover cost-cutting measures expected to include job cuts.The Biden administration delivered its own blow this month with sweeping restrictions aimed at hobbling China from using U.S. technology related to chips. The measures restrict sales of some advanced chips to Chinese customers and prevent U.S. companies from helping China develop some kinds of chips.That hurts semiconductor companies like Nvidia, which makes graphics chips used to run A.I. applications in China and elsewhere. The Silicon Valley company, already suffering from a sharp sales decline for video game applications, recently estimated that the U.S. restrictions would probably reduce revenues in its current quarter by about $400 million.The sanctions may bite even harder at companies that sell chip-making equipment, which relied heavily in recent years on sales to Chinese factories.Lam Research, which produces tools that etch silicon wafers to make chips, estimated that the China limitations would reduce its 2023 revenue by $2 billion to $2.5 billion. “We lost some very profitable customers in the China region, and that’s going to persist,” Doug Bettinger, Lam’s chief financial officer, said during an earnings call last week.Applied Materials, the biggest maker of chip manufacturing tools, also said sales would suffer because of the restrictions. On Wednesday, another maker of chip manufacturing tools, KLA, said its revenue next year was likely to shrink by $600 million to $900 million as it reduces equipment sales and services to some customers in China.Worries about foreign competition are nothing new in semiconductors, an industry known for boom-and-bust cycles. But it has rarely faced a player as potent as the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, whose factories on the island churn out chips designed by companies including Apple, Amazon, Nvidia and Qualcomm.China claims Taiwan as its own territory, creating a potential risk to chip supplies. That helped drive the recent bipartisan support for the U.S. chip legislation, which was heavily pushed by President Biden.President Biden trekked to Albany, Ohio, last month for the ground breaking of a $20 billion Intel manufacturing campus. Pete Marovich for The New York TimesHe trekked to Ohio last month for the ground breaking of a $20 billion Intel manufacturing campus. On Thursday, President Biden visited a site near Syracuse, N.Y., where Micron has vowed to spend as much as $100 billion over 20 years on a large complex to build memory chips, a project he called “one of the most significant investments in American history.”Those plants will be needed at some point, industry executives said. But they are now grappling with the sudden and sharp decline in chip demand. The problem is particularly acute in processors and memory chips, which perform calculations and store data in personal computers, tablets, smartphones and other devices.Those products were hot commodities as consumers worked from home during the coronavirus pandemic. But that boom has now cooled, with PC sales dropping 15 percent in the third quarter, according to estimates by International Data Corporation. The research firm also predicted that smartphone sales would fall 6.5 percent this year. Demand has been tempered by inflation as well as a lengthy Covid lockdown in China, analysts said.At the same time, inventories of chips piled up. Computer makers spooked by the shortage bought more components than they ended up needing, said Dan Hutcheson, a market researcher at the firm TechInsights. When customer demand dried up, they started slashing orders.“You see multiple issues converging,” said Syed Alam, who leads Accenture’s global high tech consulting practice, including semiconductors.Handel Jones, chief executive at International Business Strategies, predicts that total sales for the chip industry will still grow 9.5 percent this year. But he expects revenue to decline 3.4 percent to $584.5 billion next year. Last year, he had predicted steady yearly growth for the chip industry from 2022 until 2030.Warning signs included Intel’s second-quarter results, which it announced in July. The company posted a rare loss and a 22 percent drop in revenue, blaming its own missteps and customers who cut chip inventories.At Micron, the mood also changed quickly. In May, the company gave bullish presentations at an investor event in San Francisco about long-term demand for its memory chips. By the next month, it was warning of slowing demand and falling chip prices.In September, the company reported a 20 percent drop in fourth-quarter revenue. It also slashed planned spending on factories and equipment by nearly 50 percent in the current fiscal year.The swing in demand might seem to undercut Micron’s widely publicized expansion plans, which include the Syracuse complex and a new $15 billion factory in Boise. But chip manufacturers often juggle different time schedules. Since new factories take roughly three years to complete, waiting too long to build can leave them short-handed when sales rebound.“The long-term outlook for memory and storage is robust,” said Mark Murphy, Micron’s executive vice president and chief financial officer. The cuts in near-term capital spending, he added, are a needed response “to bring our supply in line with demand.”Intel’s situation is even more complex. The company has major factory expansions underway in Arizona, Oregon, New Mexico, Ireland and Israel, in addition to the new manufacturing campus in Ohio and one planned for Germany. Intel is also determined to start competing with T.S.M.C. in manufacturing for other companies, as well as making chips it designs.The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company is a potent player in semiconductors, with factories that churn out chips designed by companies including Apple, Amazon and Qualcomm.An Rong Xu for The New York TimesIntel now plans to construct factory buildings while holding off on purchases of the costly machines inside them, which are a much bigger expense.Those purchases can be tailored to emerging demand for particular kinds of chips, said Keyvan Esfarjani, Intel’s executive vice president who oversees construction and operation of its factories. He said the long-term need to reduce U.S. and European dependence on chips made in Asia was too important to be halted by short-term business cycles.“This is beyond Intel,” Mr. Esfarjani said in an interview last month. “This is important for people, for communities, for the United States. It’s important for national security.” More

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    Republicans Denounce Inflation, but Few Economists Expect Their Plans to Help

    Proposed tax and spending cuts by the G.O.P., which is making a push to take back Congress, are unlikely to bring down rapidly rising prices any time soon.WASHINGTON — Republicans are riding a wave of anger over inflation as they seek to recapture the House and the Senate this fall, hammering Democrats on President Biden’s economic policies, which they say have fueled the fastest price gains in 40 years.Republican candidates have centered their economic agenda on promises to help Americans cope with everyday price increases and to increase growth. They have pledged to reduce government spending and to make permanent parts of the 2017 Republican tax cuts that are set to expire over the next three years — including incentives for corporate investment and tax reductions for individuals.And they have vowed to repeal the corporate tax increases that Mr. Biden signed into law in August while gutting funding for the Internal Revenue Service, which was given more money to help the United States go after high-earning and corporate tax cheats.“The very fact that Republicans are poised to take back majorities in both chambers is an indictment of the policies of this administration,” said Senator Bill Cassidy, Republican of Louisiana, noting that “if you look at the spending that they did on a partisan basis, we certainly would be able to stop that.”But while Republicans insist they will be better stewards of the economy, few economists on either end of the ideological spectrum expect the party’s proposals to meaningfully reduce inflation in the short term. Instead, many say some of what Republicans are proposing — including tax cuts for high earners and businesses — could actually make price pressures worse by pumping more money into the economy.“It is unlikely that any of the policies proposed by Republicans would meaningfully reduce inflation in 2023, when rapidly rising prices will still be a major problem for the economy and for consumers,” said Michael R. Strain, an economist at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.As they position themselves for the midterm elections, Republicans have also indicated that they might try to hold the nation’s borrowing limit hostage to achieve spending cuts. The debt ceiling, which caps how much the federal government can borrow, has increasingly become a fraught arena for political brinkmanship.The State of the 2022 Midterm ElectionsBoth parties are making their final pitches ahead of the Nov. 8 election.Florida Governor’s Debate: Gov. Ron DeSantis and Charlie Crist, his Democratic challenger,  had a rowdy exchange on Oct. 24. Here are the main takeaways from their debate.Strategy Change: In the final stretch before the elections, some Democrats are pushing for a new message that acknowledges the economic uncertainty troubling the electorate.Last Dance?: As she races to raise money to hand on to her embattled House majority, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is in no mood to contemplate a Democratic defeat, much less her legacy.Secretary of State Races: Facing G.O.P. candidates who spread lies about the 2020 election, Democrats are outspending them 57-to-1 on TV ads for their secretary of state candidates. It still may not be enough.Multiple top Republicans have signaled that unless Mr. Biden agrees to reduce future government spending, they will refuse to lift the borrowing cap. That would effectively bar the federal government from issuing new bonds to finance its deficit spending, potentially jeopardizing on-time payments for military salaries and safety-net benefits, and roiling bond markets.Mr. Biden has tried to push back against the Republicans and cast the election not as a referendum on his economic policies, but as a choice between Democratic policies to reduce costs on health care and electricity and Republican efforts to repeal those policies. He has accused Republicans of stoking further price increases with tax cuts that could add to the federal budget deficit, and of risking financial calamity by refusing to raise the debt limit.“We, the Democrats, are the ones that are fiscally responsible. Let’s get that straight now, OK?” Mr. Biden said during remarks on Monday to workers at the Democratic National Committee. “We’re investing in all of America, reducing everyday costs while also lowering the deficit at the same time. Republicans are fiscally reckless, pushing tax cuts for the very wealthy that aren’t paid for, and exploiting the deficit that is making inflation worse.”The challenge for Mr. Biden is that voters do not seem to be demanding details from Republicans and are instead putting their trust in them to turn around an economy that voters believe is headed in the wrong direction. Polls suggest Americans trust Republicans by a wide margin to handle inflation and other economic issues.In a nationwide deluge of campaign ads and in public remarks, Republicans have pinned much of their inflation-fighting agenda on halting a stimulus spending spree that began under President Donald J. Trump and continued under Mr. Biden, in an effort to help people and businesses survive the pandemic recession. Those efforts have largely ended, and Mr. Biden has shown no desire to pass further stimulus legislation at a time of rapid price growth.Representative Jason Smith of Missouri, the top Republican on the House Budget Committee, said in a statement that “the first step in combating inflation is to stop the historically reckless spending spree occurring under one-party Democrat rule in Washington, and that will only happen with a Republican majority in Congress.”.css-1v2n82w{max-width:600px;width:calc(100% – 40px);margin-top:20px;margin-bottom:25px;height:auto;margin-left:auto;margin-right:auto;font-family:nyt-franklin;color:var(–color-content-secondary,#363636);}@media only screen and (max-width:480px){.css-1v2n82w{margin-left:20px;margin-right:20px;}}@media only screen and (min-width:1024px){.css-1v2n82w{width:600px;}}.css-161d8zr{width:40px;margin-bottom:18px;text-align:left;margin-left:0;color:var(–color-content-primary,#121212);border:1px solid var(–color-content-primary,#121212);}@media only screen and (max-width:480px){.css-161d8zr{width:30px;margin-bottom:15px;}}.css-tjtq43{line-height:25px;}@media only screen and (max-width:480px){.css-tjtq43{line-height:24px;}}.css-x1k33h{font-family:nyt-cheltenham;font-size:19px;font-weight:700;line-height:25px;}.css-1hvpcve{font-size:17px;font-weight:300;line-height:25px;}.css-1hvpcve em{font-style:italic;}.css-1hvpcve strong{font-weight:bold;}.css-1hvpcve a{font-weight:500;color:var(–color-content-secondary,#363636);}.css-1c013uz{margin-top:18px;margin-bottom:22px;}@media only screen and (max-width:480px){.css-1c013uz{font-size:14px;margin-top:15px;margin-bottom:20px;}}.css-1c013uz a{color:var(–color-signal-editorial,#326891);-webkit-text-decoration:underline;text-decoration:underline;font-weight:500;font-size:16px;}@media only screen and (max-width:480px){.css-1c013uz a{font-size:13px;}}.css-1c013uz a:hover{-webkit-text-decoration:none;text-decoration:none;}How Times reporters cover politics. We rely on our journalists to be independent observers. So while Times staff members may vote, they are not allowed to endorse or campaign for candidates or political causes. This includes participating in marches or rallies in support of a movement or giving money to, or raising money for, any political candidate or election cause.Learn more about our process.“Republicans,” he added, “will fight to bring down the cost of living and impose fiscal restraint in Washington, and that begins by ensuring Democrats are not able to impose round after round of new inflationary spending.”Economists largely agree that the Federal Reserve is most responsible for fighting inflation, which policymakers are trying to do with rapid interest rates increases. But they say Congress could plausibly help the Fed by reducing budget deficits, in order to slow the amount of consumer spending power in the economy.One way to do that would be to significantly and quickly reduce federal spending. Such a move could result in widespread government layoffs and reduced support for low-income individuals — who would be less able to afford increasingly expensive food and other staples — and could prompt a recession. “The amount of cuts you’d have to do to move the needle on inflation are completely off the table,” said Jon Lieber, a former aide to Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky who is now the Eurasia Group’s managing director for the United States.Still, Mr. Lieber said that likelihood would not sully the Republican pitch to voters this fall. “Midterm votes are a referendum on the party in power,” he said, “and the party in power has responsibility for inflation.”“The very fact that Republicans are poised to take back majorities in both chambers is an indictment of the policies of this administration,” said Senator Bill Cassidy, a Republican.Haiyun Jiang/The New York TimesBiden administration officials contend that the Republican plans, rather than curbing inflation, could worsen America’s fiscal situation.Administration economists estimate that two policies favored by Republicans — repealing a new minimum tax on large corporations included in the Inflation Reduction Act and extending some business tax cuts from Mr. Trump’s 2017 legislation — could collectively increase the federal budget deficit by about $90 billion next year.Such an increase could cause the Federal Reserve to raise rates even faster than it already is, further choking economic growth. Or, alternatively, it could add a small amount to the annual inflation rate — perhaps as much as 0.2 percentage points. Fully repealing the Inflation Reduction Act would also mean raising future costs for prescription drugs for seniors on Medicare, including for insulin, and potentially raising future electricity costs.“Their plan to repeal the I.R.A. and double down on the Trump tax cuts for the wealthy will worsen inflation,” said Jared Bernstein, a member of Mr. Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers. “On top of that, they’re also explicit that they’re coming for Social Security and Medicare, making this a terribly destructive agenda that starts by fighting the Fed and moves on to devastating vulnerable seniors.”Conservative economists say the inflation impact of extending Mr. Trump’s tax cuts could be much smaller, because those extensions could lead businesses to invest more, people to work more and growth to increase across the economy. They also say Republicans could help relieve price pressures, particularly for electricity and gasoline, by following through on their proposals to reduce federal regulations governing new energy development.“Those things are going to be positive for investment, job creation and capacity” in the economy, said Donald Schneider, a former chief economist for Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee and the deputy head of U.S. policy at Piper Sandler.A budget proposal unveiled this year by the Republican Study Committee, a conservative policy group within the House Republican conference, included plans to permanently extend the Trump tax cuts and to impose work requirements on federal benefits programs, in hopes of reducing federal spending on the programs and increasing the number of workers in the economy.“We know for a fact that federal spending continues to keep inflation high, which is why a top priority in next year’s Republican majority will be to root out waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayer money,” Representative Kevin Hern, Republican of Oklahoma, said in a statement. Mr. Hern, who helped devise the budget, called it “one of many proposals to address the dire situation we’re in.”As they eye the majority, top Republicans have suggested that they will consider an economically risky strategy to potentially force Mr. Biden to agree to spending cuts, including for safety-net programs. Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, who is the minority leader and is seen as the clear pick to be speaker should Republicans win control of the House, suggested to Punchbowl News this month that he would be open to withholding Republican votes to raise the federal borrowing limit unless Mr. Biden and Democrats agreed to policy changes that curb spending.How to use that leverage has divided Republicans. Some, like Representative Nancy Mace of South Carolina, who fended off a Trump-backed primary challenger, are supportive of that option.But other Republicans — particularly candidates laboring to present a more centrist platform in swing districts held by Democrats — have shied away from openly supporting cuts to safety-net programs.“Absolutely not,” Lori Chavez-DeRemer, a Republican and former mayor running in Oregon’s Fifth Congressional District, said when asked if she would support cuts to Medicare and Social Security as a way to rein in federal spending. “Cutting those programs is not where I, as a Republican, see myself. I want to make sure that we can fill those coffers.” More