Inflation continues to hit record highs under Joe Biden’s dreadful leadership. I’m not surprised. Are you?
On Tuesday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose a staggering 8.5 percent in March from a year ago, the fastest annual CPI hike in more than 40 years. The CPI surge even outpaced the gloomy predictions of economists, who expected to see an 8.4 percent increase of consumer prices last month.
It does not appear that things will be getting better anytime soon.
On Wednesday, the BLS shared their latest data for the Producer Price Index (PPI), which measures the prices paid by wholesalers for their goods. Over the past year, it surged by 11.2%, the highest yearly growth on record. The prices wholesalers pay inevitably make their way to retail prices at gas pumps, grocery stores and just about everywhere else consumers shop.
And it doesn’t matter what you’re buying — retail prices are already surging across the board.
According to the BLS report, core prices, which exclude food and energy, increased 6.5 percent over the past 12 months, "with virtually all of its major component indexes rising over the span."
The shelter index, which measures housing costs for Americans, registered a 12-month gain of 5 percent, the highest since 1991. The index for household furnishings and operations, meanwhile, increased a whopping 10.1 percent over the past year -- the largest increase since 1975.
Sadly for working class Americans, there is no silver lining in the data. Inflation is dramatically outpacing wage gains, meaning that even workers who are getting raises or switching to new jobs with higher salaries are actually worse off than they were before Biden took office.
Inflation has outpaced wage growth every month since Biden and his Democrat allies passed their $1.9 trillion spending spree lasts March, pouring kerosene on the fire of inflation.
Everywhere you look, Biden is setting new economic records -- and not the good kind. Every month, Americans await the latest CPI data to find out not whether, but rather how much inflation increased in the past month. It’s become a morbid ritual.
The Biden White House has had two things to say about this alarming economic decline.
First, the Biden administration and its allies insist that the worst is behind us, and that inflation will soon begin to improve.
Second, Biden has sought to "Putinize" negative economic reports by blaming Russia for his own policy failures.
Neither of these arguments accurately represent reality.
Three months ago, Biden predicted that the inflation crisis will hit its "peak" in December 2021. "I think you’ll see it change sooner, quicker, more rapidly than people think," he said at the time, arguing that 6.8 inflation is "the peak of the crisis."
This wasn’t just a misguided prediction -- Biden’s comments demonstrate that his administration was utterly unprepared to mitigate the negative impact of his failed policies. But don’t just take my word for it. Democrat Senator Joe Manchin said as much when responding to the latest CPI report, noting that the Biden administration "failed to act fast enough" to slow down inflation.
"The Federal Reserve and the administration failed to act fast enough, and today’s data is a snapshot in time of the consequences being felt across the country," Manchin said. "Instead of acting boldly, our elected leaders and the Federal Reserve continue to respond with half-measures and rhetorical failures searching for where to lay the blame."
Blaming Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, is just another attempt to distract the American people from the real causes of the ongoing economic turmoil. As I pointed out last month, it's laughable to blame Russia for our current economic woes -- Biden’s own remarks in December clearly prove that the historic rise in consumer prices long predated Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
More importantly, the Biden administration has consistently pursued policies that have hamstrung U.S. oil and gas production, driving up the cost of fuel and energy across the country. From killing the Keystone pipeline to embarking on a global quest to shut off financing for oil and gas projects, the Biden administration has reduced the worldwide supply of oil driving prices up at the pump and making America more reliant on hostile countries such as Russia and Iran.
Efforts to blame Putin and the oil companies for increased prices at the pump may make Biden and his congressional allies feel more comfortable as we approach the midterms. But according to a recent ABC News/Ipsos poll, 52% of Americans blame Democrats for the recent increase in gas process, while only 33% (basically the Democrats’ base) blame Republicans. Come November, it will be Democrats and Republicans on the election ballots, not Putin or Big Oil.
Increasingly, voters are concluding that a policy agenda to usher in an era of stagflation would look almost exactly like Joe Biden’s agenda. Yet, he keeps doing the same things, apparently expecting inflation to magically disappear. It won’t work, and everybody outside the "unconvincables" – also known as the Democrat’s base – knows it.
Andy Puzder was chief executive officer of CKE Restaurants for more than 16 years, following a career as an attorney. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy. He was nominated by President Trump to serve as U.S. labor secretary. In 2018, Puzder authored "The Capitalist Comeback: The Trump Boom and the Left's Plot to Stop It" (Center Street). His latest piece, a Broadside by Encounter Books titled, "It’s Time to Let America Work Again" was released on July 20, 2020.