Inflation Surge: Wednesday’s release of record breaking inflation numbers has been met with fear, frustration, and even unconcern from some. Here’s what both sides are saying. To have stories like this and more delivered directly to your inbox, be sure to sign up for our newsletter.
Top Story: Inflation Surge
On Wednesday morning, new inflation numbers were released for October 2021. The staggering 6.2% increase is the highest Consumer Price Index (CPI) surge in 30 years. If you’re not familiar, CPI is a measurement used to track price changes of consumer goods and services (e.g., grocery items such as milk or resources like gasoline). American citizens and consumers are therefore put in a pinch, as any benefit from rising wages is erased by the rising cost of essential everyday items. These figures are another unwelcome blow to the Biden administration, which has faced significant criticism on multiple fronts in the last few months. Here’s what both sides are saying.
On The Right
Right-leaning commentators believe it’s no surprise that costs have risen due to spending, and most lay the blame at the feet of the Biden administration. However, others call out the Fed as the “real culprit” behind these economic woes.
“Welcome to Inflation Nation” Patrice Lee Onwuka, Fox News Opinion:
“It’s no consolation that President Biden ignores how his policies are contributing to household economic pain and has no solution. … At best, the White House is spinning rapidly rising inflation as a ‘high class’ problem, but regular Americans aren’t buying it. Dollar Tree items are going up 25% and 50% due in part to rising freight, labor, and product costs. Home heating bills are up 21% – and cold weather hasn’t even set in yet. … President Biden has a big problem on his hands: inflation is accelerating because of his policies and Americans are starting to connect the dots. … If Congress follows through on his multi-trillion-dollar Build Back Better agenda, only the elites will be able to afford life in America. … President Biden campaigned as a man of the people. Yet, his policies are fueling their hardships.”
“Inflation hits worst levels since 1990 — but not for the reason you think” Brad Polumbo, Washington Examiner Opinion: “Indeed, many Republicans have used these concerning inflation increases to argue against the president’s plans to spend trillions on massive expansions of the welfare state and green-energy schemes. While these plans are indeed deeply flawed … federal spending isn’t the main reason for the inflation problem — monetary policy is. … Citizens upset over inflation should [look at the] Federal Reserve … To ‘stimulate’ the economy amid the COVID-19 crisis, the Fed engaged in a massive expansion of money supply — basically, it (digitally) printed a bunch of new money. As my Foundation for Economic Education colleague Peter Jacobsen, an economist, has explained, ‘If more dollars chase the exact same goods, prices will rise.’ The temptation will be to blame President Joe Biden, who certainly has played at least some small part in this concerning trend. Yet, we won’t solve this problem until we concentrate our criticism on … the Fed and its reckless monetary policy.”
“Socialists & Joe-cialists twist reality when it comes to inflation, economy” Ike Brannon, New York Post: “The Biden administration is doing its best to obfuscate [the] reality: [It] … attributed the spike in prices solely to an increase in gas prices … and transportation bottlenecks that it claims to be working vigorously to address. But to maintain that the elevated increases in the consumer price index are solely due to one or two industries, and that the government can quickly fix them, is nonsense.” Keep reading.
On The Left
Left-leaning commentators are varied in their opinions. While they’re critical of rising prices, some see a silver lining with respect to the recently passed infrastructure bill. A notable detractor is Senator Joe Manchin, who believes this is even more reason to not support a social spending bill. On the other hand, some believe the situation is not nearly as disastrous as others seemingly indicate.
“Inflation is bad. Infrastructure is good.” Zachary B. Wolf, CNN: “Infrastructure is the major accomplishment that could save President Joe Biden’s presidency. Inflation is the force majeure that could doom it. … [However], it’s much better news for Biden on infrastructure spending … The $1.2 trillion package is about to turn the country into a massive government-sponsored construction site. … While inflation is here and it isn’t going away, it’s not expected to be a permanent problem. ‘I think it’s almost certain to last for another six to nine months and could well last longer,’ said Larry Summers, a former treasury secretary who has warned against the Biden administration’s big spending agenda overheating the economy. Rising prices and the economy aren’t all bad news, according to Summers, who predicted workers will have more power. ‘After a long time when the big thing was workers looking for jobs, now we’ve got a big thing which is jobs looking for workers,’ he told CNN’s Brianna Keilar last week. ‘That should mean more of us have more power vis-a-vis our employers, and that’ll translate into higher wage increases.’”
“Crippling Inflation Could Kill Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Bill”: Darragh Roche, Newsweek: “President Joe Biden’s proposed Build Back Better Act could be at risk amid concern Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) won’t back the bill with inflation already at its highest level in 30 years. … Manchin, whose vote is crucial in passing the bill through the budget reconciliation process, has previously suggested he wouldn’t support a major spending bill that might exacerbate inflation. … ‘By all accounts, the threat posed by record inflation to the American people is not ‘transitory’ and is instead getting worse,’ Manchin wrote. ‘From the grocery store to the gas pump, Americans know the inflation tax is real and DC can no longer ignore the economic pain Americans feel every day.’ … ‘Throughout the last three months, I have been straightforward about my concerns that I will not support a reconciliation package that expands social programs and irresponsibly adds to our nearly $29 trillion in national debt that no one else seems to care about. Nor will I support a package that risks hurting American families suffering from historic inflation,’ Manchin said in a November 1 statement.”
“How COVID became the unlikely hero of our inflation crisis” James Surowiecki, MSNBC Opinion: “…any discussion of inflation needs to include the context in which it’s happening. … Providing that context, rather than just telling scary stories, is important not just because it’s accurate. It’s also important because when people see inflation as a force that’s disconnected from the underlying economy, their inflation expectations are likely to rise. And when inflation expectations rise, actual inflation tends to follow…” Keep reading.
Flag This: Inflation Surge
After nearly two years, the pandemic has faded into the rearview mirror for many Americans. Now, the issue that’s grabbed their attention is inflation. According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll from November 4, only “12% of US adults rated public health issues like the coronavirus as a top national priority, down from 20% in February. Meantime, two-thirds of the country, including majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents, say that ‘inflation is a very big concern for me.’” Confidence in the economy is also weakening. A November 1 poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows that “35% of Americans now call the national economy good, while 65% call it poor.”
It bears noting that these figures were released prior to Wednesday’s inflation numbers. Evidently, future polling could indicate worsened sentiments about the economy among everyday Americans.
Flag Poll: Inflation Surge
Do you believe the current rise in prices is temporary? Comment below to share your thoughts.