Inflation spiked by a painful 8.3% in April, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today, meaning that Americans’ wage growth of just 5.5% in April actually amounted to a 2.8% pay cut.
Anticipating another depressing inflation report, Biden on Tuesday blamed Republicans for the pain, also taking a swipe at the filibuster, which he defended for years before becoming hostage to the hard left. Yet, his party sidestepped the filibuster in March 2021, passing a massive $1.9 trillion stimulus package without a single Republican vote.
Just 37% of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of the economy, according to the RealClearPolitics average of polls. Asked by a reporter on Tuesday whether he or his policies shoulder any blame for the inflation, Biden rejected the question.
“I think our policies help not hurt,” he said, digging in his heels and ignoring the fact the COVID stimulus bill contributed to rising inflation, as well as a massive $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill passed in November. Unsurprisingly, the majority of the infrastructure bill wasn’t for actual infrastructure in any meaningful sense of the word.
“Increases in the indexes for shelter, food, airline fares, and new vehicles were the largest contributors to the seasonally adjusted all items increase,” BLS reported today.
Biden’s White House also issued a blame list, putting Russian President Vladimir Putin at the top. And while energy prices declined 2.7% in April, it wasn’t nearly comparable to the 11% energy spike in March.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) used gallows humor to push back on Biden.
“Biden said today he bears no responsibility for inflation,” Kennedy said on Fox News’ Jesse Watters show Tuesday night. “Most Americans say right, Jimmy Hoffa died of natural causes and the stripper really likes you.”
Senator John Kennedy on @JesseBWatters show:
“Biden said today he bears no responsibility for inflation…most Americans say right, Jimmy Hoffa died of natural causes and the stripper really likes you.”
— Kyle Becker (@kylenabecker) May 11, 2022
But it’s no laughing matter that families continue to suffer from inflation, especially retirees living on savings and fixed incomes. It’s no wonder that the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index reported by the St. Louis Federal Reserve, was 88.3 in April 2021, but nosedived to a mere 59.4 in March, a sharp warning sign of possible recession ahead.
Americans are stuck inside of a wage-price spiral due to an acute labor shortage. Wages and benefits rose 4.5% in the first quarter compared to the year before, the fastest increase since at least 2001, financial analyst Liz Peek recently reported. Given there are 11.3 million job openings, but fewer than 6 million people looking for work, this spiral is likely to continue and pass costs onto consumers.
The Federal Reserve also plays a key role in tamping down inflation, but rather than put a seasoned inflationary expert on that body, the Senate on Tuesday night gave Lisa Cook a seat on the Fed. Cook is a divisive figure who embraces racial essentialism, including critical race theory and reparations. Unfortunately, she’ll likely push the Fed to pursue a divisive, ineffective racial justice agenda that demands equality of outcomes rather than equality of opportunity. This is not the Fed’s mission, and keeping the inflation rate low and stable is tough. Cook’s socialist lens is the opposite of what America needs to slay the inflation dragon.
Carrie Sheffield is a senior policy analyst at Independent Women’s Voice. She previously managed municipal credit risk at Goldman Sachs and rated healthcare bonds at Moody’s Investors Service.
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