Consumer Prices Rise 8.5%, Highest In 40 Years

Casey Harper (The Center Square).

Federal inflation data released today show prices continuing to climb at an unprecedented rate over the past four decades. This continues the trend towards soaring inflation.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, its Consumer Price Index (a crucial indicator of inflation) showed that prices increased by 1.2% in March. This is part of an 8.5% increase in the last 12 months.

“Increases in the indexes for gasoline, shelter, and food were the largest contributors to the seasonally adjusted all items increase,” BLS said. “The gasoline index rose 18.3 percent in March and accounted for over half of the all items monthly increase; other energy component indexes also increased. The food index rose 1.0 percent and the food at home index rose 1.5 percent.”

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This is due to the largest contributor, which has been fuel prices. Americans have witnessed gas prices increase significantly over the past one year. AAA reports that the national average gas price has increased to $4.10 from $2.86 last year.

“The all items index continued to accelerate, rising 8.5 percent for the 12 months ending March, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending December 1981. All items less food and the energy index grew 6.5 percent. This is the biggest 12-month increase since August 1982. The energy index rose 32.0 percent over the last year, and the food index increased 8.8 percent, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending May 1981.”

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki preempted the report Monday, saying they expected inflation to be “extraordinarily elevated” but blamed it on “Putin’s price hike.”

The Biden administration has consistently blamed Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, but critics point out inflation and gas prices have been rising since Biden took office, well before the February invasion. The critics blame excessive federal spending. 

“Under the Biden administration, the American people have become demonstrably poorer,” said EJ Antoni, an economic expert at the Heritage Foundation. “The dramatic rise in prices that we’re seeing means that American families can’t buy as much today as they could just 14 months ago. Prices have surged so rapidly that real earnings – earnings adjusted for price changes – have dropped 4.5% on Biden’s watch.

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“While COVID lockdowns and reckless government spending have caused significant economic harm, the Federal Reserve has also been asleep at the wheel by enabling the federal government’s spending spree with its money-printing policies,” he added.

Antoni called the rising prices a “hidden tax” on Americans fueled by federal policies.

“Meanwhile, Americans are losing savings and purchasing power from the ‘hidden’ tax of inflation,” he said. “If President Biden and others are serious about helping working Americans, they need to take responsibility for the mess they created, cut government spending, and end the regulatory war on American energy production.”

This article was Syndicated by permission of The Center Square.