The Inflation Issue Isn’t Going Away, and That’s a Problem for Biden

News & Politics

On Tuesday, the White House went into full gaslighting mode with some bizarre claims about inflation.

“Inflation is down two-thirds, and we have the lowest annual core inflation since May 2021,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed during the White House press briefing. “Prices fell over the last year for gas milk, eggs, chicken, appliances, and also used cars. Wages are rising faster than prices over the last year since the pandemic, and forecasts broadly expect progress on inflation to continue over the rest of the year.”

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Well, that’s news to pretty much everyone outside of the White House. On the same day that Jean-Pierre made this claim, the federal government reported that consumer prices went up again in February. CBS News aptly observed that “inflation remains a persistent thorn in the side of the Federal Reserve and for President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign.”

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in February, prices experienced a 0.4% increase, marking a slight uptick from the previous month’s 0.3%. The government’s report on Tuesday revealed that, compared to the same period 12 months ago, consumer prices surged by 3.2% last month, surpassing January’s annual pace of 3.1%.

CBS News highlighted that, excluding the impact of volatile food and energy prices, so-called “core” prices saw a 0.4% increase from January to February. This aligns with the prior month’s uptick and surpasses the pace considered consistent with the Fed’s 2% target. The closely monitored core inflation, known for offering a more accurate indication of the future inflation trajectory, is of particular significance in assessing the overall state of the economy.

“Like it or not, Biden era spending and stratospheric budget deficits mean that there is nothing his campaign can do to escape blame for the fact that the average person’s standard of living has deteriorated during his term,” Jason Trennert, chairman of Strategas, explains in an article for Fox Business. “We estimate that average working person’s standard of living has deteriorated by about 7% since 2021.” 

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Trennert notes that when we look at the costs of food, energy, housing, clothing, insurance, and utilities, which he notes are “the things one must buy to survive and raise a family,” it’s almost impossible for wages and benefits to rise fast enough before the election “to obscure the fact that the working men and women of this country are worse off than they were on inauguration day in 2021.” He calls those the Common Man Consumer Price Index.

Related: Is ‘Bidenomics’ Messaging Officially Dead Now?

“Prices could actually decline to even things out, I guess, but what economists call deflation only takes place that quickly in the presence of an economic catastrophe, and economic catastrophes have been notoriously unkind to incumbents,” he continues. “As it stands now, our Common Man CPI has outpaced the BLS’ headline number for seven consecutive months and 30 of the 35 months since Joe Biden’s inauguration.”

I guess the White House thinks it can convince people that prices are going down and wages are going up just by saying that they are. The administration tried this strategy with its “Bidenomics” messaging, which failed spectacularly. I’m not sure what makes the White House think that telling people to deny what they see with their own eyes and bank accounts is suddenly going to work, but hey, it can try again if it wants. Inflation is still a problem, and it’s not going away.

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