OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
It is getting tougher and tougher for Democrats to point to any reason why Joe Biden’s first year in the White House is anything other than the unmitigated disaster many Republicans say it is.
Inflation has risen 7 percent since last December, the highest inflation rate the United States has seen in four decades, and the president is attempting to sell this to his constituents as “progress,” The Daily Mail reported.
Persistent supply chain issues have left grocery shelves bare across the nation this week, drawing comparisons to conditions in the former Soviet Union and putting further upward pressure on prices.
The Labor Department said Wednesday that the consumer price index rose 0.5 percent last month after surging 0.8 percent in November, with Biden apparently trying to highlight that slowing rate of growth as an achievement.
That increase pushed annual inflation to 7 percent in December, which is the highest level since June 1982, and up from November’s 6.8 percent annual rate.
In a statement, Biden called inflation ‘a global challenge’ and claimed the latest numbers were good news, showing the monthly rate of price increases slowed in December from the prior month.
“Today’s report—which shows a meaningful reduction in headline inflation over last month, with gas prices and food prices falling—demonstrates that we are making progress in slowing the rate of price increases,” he said.
“At the same time, this report underscores that we still have more work to do, with price increases still too high and squeezing family budgets,” he said.
But those are word games and do not reflect the reality of what Americans are seeing.
Yes, gas prices fell 2.2 percent in December from November, but it was still 50 percent higher than they were a year ago. Food prices rose 0.5 percent on the month and 6.3 percent higher they were a year ago, so why Biden was talking about falling food prices is a head-scratcher.
Biden then went on to blame inflation on the global situation which he cannot control, but the United States inflation has stayed higher than any of the other nations in the Group of Seven since he became president.
“Inflation is a global challenge, appearing in virtually every developed nation as it emerges from the pandemic economic slump,” the president said.
“America is fortunate that we have one of the fastest-growing economies—thanks in part to the American Rescue Plan—which enables us to address price increases and maintain strong, sustainable economic growth. That is my goal and I am focused on reaching it every day,” he said.
But maybe he should focus on something else because the last time another G7 nation had higher inflation than the United States was in January 2021, the month Biden entered the White House.
“Today’s inflation numbers show a meaningful reduction in headline inflation over last month. We are making progress in slowing the rate of price increases. But there is still more work to do — I remain focused on lowering costs for families and maintaining strong economic growth,” he, or his handlers, said on Twitter on Wednesday.
Today’s inflation numbers show a meaningful reduction in headline inflation over last month. We are making progress in slowing the rate of price increases. But there is still more work to do — I remain focused on lowering costs for families and maintaining strong economic growth.
— President Biden (@POTUS) January 12, 2022
On Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, in a congressional hearing that pointed to his likely confirmation for a second term in the job, said the U.S. central bank was determined to ensure high inflation did not become ‘entrenched.’
He added that rather than diminishing job growth, a policy tightening was necessary to maintain the economic expansion.
But Powell said it may take several months to make a decision on running down the Fed’s $9 trillion balance sheet, and the lack of a faster timetable for rate hikes gave support to riskier assets.