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Inflation Hits 40-Year High As GOP Lawmakers Demand Biden Take Cognitive Test

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


Days after dozens of Republican lawmakers called on Joe Biden to take a “cognitive test,” there’s more bad news out of the White House.

U.S. consumer prices jumped by the most since 1982, marking the biggest gain in nearly 40 years.

“The consumer price index rose 7.5% in January from a year ago, according to a new Labor Department report released Thursday, marking the fastest increase since February 1982, when inflation hit 7.6%. The CPI – which measures a bevy of goods ranging from gasoline and health care to groceries and rents – jumped 0.6% in the one-month period from December,” CNBC reported.

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“So-called core prices, which exclude more volatile measurements of food and energy, climbed 6% in January from the previous year – a sharp increase from December, when it rose 5.5%. It was the steepest 12-month increase since August 1982,” the report added.

“U.S. annual CPI is the highest since 1982, and what’s worse is that this likely isn’t the peak,” said Seema Shah, chief strategist at Principal Global Investors. “Higher-than-expected monthly gains in core CPI indicate continued underlying heat and will do nothing to relieve pressure on the Fed to tighten sharply and urgently.”

The report added:

Price increases were widespread: Although energy prices rose just 0.9% in January from the previous month, they’re still up 27% from last year. Gasoline, on average, costs 40% than it did last year. Food prices have also climbed 7% higher over the year, while used car and truck prices – a major component of the inflation increase – are up 40.5%. Shelter costs jumped 0.3% for the month and 4% year-over-year.

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The inflation spike has been bad news for President Biden, who has seen his approval rating tumble as consumer prices rise. The White House has blamed the price spike on supply-chain bottlenecks and other pandemic-induced disruptions in the economy, while Republicans have pinned it on the president’s massive spending agenda and his energy policies targeting the oil and gas industries.

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Earlier this week, a group of Republican lawmakers called for Biden to take a cognitive test because they believe his “mental decline” has “become more apparent” and could be impeding his judgment.

Nearly 40 GOP congressional members want Biden to follow the precedent set by his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, as recent polling increasingly shows more Americans are not certain of Biden’s mental fitness for the demanding job of president.

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Led by former White House physician Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas, 37 other Republican colleagues signed a letter to Biden on Tuesday in which they said they had “concern” about his “current cognitive state.”

“My colleagues and I are again asking President Biden to immediately undergo a formal cognitive screening exam, such as the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MOCA),” Jackson said.

“As a former physician to three Presidents of the United States, I know what it takes mentally and physically to execute the duties of Commander-in-Chief and Head of State,” Jackson added. “Joe Biden has continually proven to me and to the world that something isn’t right. The American people deserve to have absolute confidence in their President’s cognitive ability.”

The Texas Republican said taking “the cognitive test will be an important first step” for Biden to reassure concerned Americans that he is fit for office or “in identifying and properly treating symptoms of impairment that are consistent with a variety of cognitive diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, Parkinson’s, or multiple sclerosis.”

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“This is not a partisan issue. When I discussed taking a cognitive test with President Trump, he was eager to assure the American people and to put the fake news media’s stories to bed,” Jackson wrote. “Why won’t President Biden do the same?

“We can only assume the worst if he doesn’t submit to the same standard that his own party demanded of the last Administration,” he noted further. “The precedent has been set.”

“While you underwent your annual physical exam on November 19, 2021, you either did not face a cognitive test or those results were withheld from the public,” the group of Republicans continued. They added that while the current White House physician cleared Biden physically, the GOP lawmakers wrote that they “are worried about your mental abilities.”

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