But on Thursday in Los Angeles, Biden said the cost of living “is a key reason why I ran for president.”
In April 2019, year-to-year inflation was running at a low 2.0 percent. When Biden took office in January 2021, it was running at an even lower 1.4 percent.
But shortly before Biden spoke on Thursday, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that year-over-year inflation was 8.2 percent. This past June, under Biden’s watch, inflation reached 9.1 percent, the highest rate since 1981.
But on Thursday, Biden indicated that price inflation has been a persistent problem, pre-dating his own tax-and-spend agenda.
“Before I begin, let me say a few words quickly about today’s report on inflation,” Biden said. “Americans are squeezed by the cost of living. It’s been true for years, and folks don’t need a report to tell them they’re being squeezed,” Biden said.
“Fighting this battle every day is a key reason why I ran for President of the United States.”
Biden repeated that a lot of Americans are “hurting.”
“Today’s report shows, though, some progress. Overall, inflation was 2 percent over the last three months. That’s down from 11 percent over the prior three months. And that’s progress.
(It’s also fudging the numbers, using month-to-month inflation data because those numbers are lower than the 8.2 percent year-to-year figure.)
“But a lot of it is the result of getting the cost of living at the gas pump down by more — now even in California now — by more than a dollar nationally and — since the start of summer. And there’s a big difference for working folks,” Biden said — even as gas prices have been rising.
“But the price of gas is still too high,” Biden agreed, “and we need to keep working to bring it down. I’ll have more to say about that next week.
“We also need to make more progress bringing down the prices across the board. That’s why I just couldn’t disagree more with my Republican friends who say that the biggest problem in our economy right now is that working folks are making too much money.”
No, Republicans say Democrats are spending too much money: More money chasing fewer goods accelerates inflation.
But Biden said the biggest inflation drivers are “global inflation and the pandemic and Putin’s unconscionable invasion of Ukraine.” So things outside his control, in other words.
Biden touted his so-called Inflation Adjustment Act, which is mostly a green energy bill, with a few goodies thrown in to make its repeal unpalatable to those who benefit from it.
It does cap prescription drug prices for seniors and it does reduce the cost of insulin for diabetes patients as well as health care premiums for some Americans.
Biden and his fellow Democrats insists that lowering those costs will offset the soaring cost of food, energy, and shelter.
“Here’s my final point,” Biden said on Thursday. “We’ve got an election in a month. Voters have to decide.
“Democrats are working to bring down the cost of things and — that are talked about around the kitchen table, from prescription drugs, to health insurance, to energy bills, and so much more. We’re standing up for working people and their right to get a raise and get a better job.
“Republicans are campaigning every day on an agenda to raise your costs…”
Here Biden suggested that Republicans, including Sen. Rick Scott, want to put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block.
Even the Washington Post gave “four Pinocchios” to Sen. Patty Murray over her claim that “Republicans plan to end Social Security and Medicare if they take back the Senate.”
(Scott’s plan says all federal legislation should sunset in 5 years — that if a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again. He also wants Congress to issue a report every year telling the public what lawmakers plan to do when Social Security and Medicare go bankrupt.)
Biden told his fellow Democrats, “If Republicans win, inflation is going to get worse. It’s that simple.”
And if Democrats win — will inflation get better?