Casey Harper (The Center Square).
After yet another month with record-high inflation, critics lambasted Biden’s administration on Thursday. This made a variety of products and services more costly for Americans.
Democrats received a scathing attack from Republicans on this data. Democrats claimed runaway federal expenditures had made Americans feel the pinch.
“The government numbers that came out today confirmed what everyone already knows,” U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said. “That inflation is out of control. … If you have a small business, you have to raise prices. This could mean you’re losing clients. This could lead to your demise. That’s what’s happening in the real world, and remember Joe Biden said we didn’t have inflation. They said that this would pass and it was temporary. Now it continues to linger, continues to hurt people, and they don’t do anything about it.”
Others called the rising prices a hidden “tax,” since inflation is tied in part to the federal printing of money, which allows the federal government to spend more.
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“Biden’s [inflation] just taxed every American,” U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said.
This was after the Bureau of Labor Statistics had released data on its Consumer Price Index (CPI), a key indicator of inflation. This data indicated that prices had increased by 0.6% for January and 7.5% over the previous year. It was one of the most significant inflation spikes since the 1980s.
“The all items index rose 7.5 percent for the 12 months ending January, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending February 1982,” BLS said. “The all items less food and energy index rose 6.0 percent, the largest 12-month change since the period ending August 1982. The energy index rose 27.0 percent over the last year, and the food index increased 7.0 percent.”
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The White House has stood by its economic efforts, and cited the improvement in the unemployment rate as evidence. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday that “inflation is expected to decrease and moderate over the course of this year.”
So far, economists have been split on that, some agreeing with the White House’s prediction and others saying inflation could continue into 2023.
Recent wage increases have been cited by the White House. Inflation has pushed those higher wages to the bottom.
“Yet another month in the Biden economy when the number on paychecks went up while the value of those checks went down,” said Andy Puzder, senior fellow at the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy.
The overall data shows that food and energy prices have increased significantly and Americans are paying more to shop at grocery stores and pump. The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, one of the nation’s leading business schools, released a report in December that estimated that the average family spent an additional $3,500 last year because of inflation.
“Increases in the indexes for food, electricity, and shelter were the largest contributors to the seasonally adjusted all items increase,” BLS said. “The food index rose 0.9 percent in January following a 0.5 percent increase in December. The energy index also increased 0.9 percent over the month, with an increase in the electricity index being partially offset by declines in the gasoline index and the natural gas index.”
In the past year, gas prices have skyrocketed. AAA states that nationwide average gasoline prices are $3.47/gallon. This is just one dollar higher than it was last year.
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“With inflation soaring ever higher, the time is now to increase energy supply, and not from foreign adversaries who wish us harm, but from all the domestic sources that helped America achieve energy independence,” said Daniel Turner, founder and executive director for Power The Future, an energy workers advocacy group. “Sadly, the policies of the Biden Administration have served as a proverbial boot on the throat of our energy industry. It’s no coincidence that while oil and gas reserves are at their lowest, inflation is at its highest.”
Turner forecasted that gas prices would rise even further.
“Five dollar a gallon for gas is on our horizon, and many middle-class families are stretching to pay drastically higher heating bills,” Turner said. “The clueless response from President Biden aren’t working: begging OPEC to increase foreign output while doing everything in his power to shackle proud American producers who could offer much-needed relief.”
These inflation figures could impact Democrats’ chances of winning the November election. Republicans have attacked the Biden government for inflation, drawing attention to the $trillions spent by the federal government during his first year as president. As long as the prices are high, this message will continue into November.
This article was Syndicated by permission of The Center Square.