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July 13, 2022

The Latest No Good, Really Rotten Inflation Report

9.1% is the headline rate over last year, but most folks are hit even harder by common expenses.

“If you were to ask me what do I think of the economy,” opined Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo earlier this week, “I’d say we have a very strong economy.” How strong? Eh…

The drastically rising price of everything continues to be foremost on the minds of every American, and today’s report on the Consumer Price Index brought more bad news. Inflation in June rose 9.1% over last June, the highest annual rate in nearly 41 years, as well as rising 1.3% from one month prior. Both numbers were higher than those always-wrong experts predicted. Regardless, much of the blame lies squarely at the feet of Vladimir Putin Joe Biden.

Inflation accelerated in June from May’s 8.6% rate largely because of gasoline, which hit an all-time record of $5.02 per gallon mid-June, though it’s back down to $4.63 today. (For context, gas was $3.15 a year ago and $2.39 when Donald Trump left office.) Diesel, which greatly affects the price of goods on store shelves, is at $5.61 today, down from a high of $5.82.

If there’s a bright side to this economic malaise, it’s that so-called core prices, which exclude more volatile items like food at home (up 12.2%) and energy (up 41.6%), were up “only” 5.9% in June, which was slightly lower than May’s 6% rate. If gas and diesel prices continue to ease, that too will cool inflation. Those things and the fact that some major retailers are signaling discounted prices could mean there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

That light also might be an oncoming train.

Biden loves to make hay about all the jobs he’s supposedly “created” since he took office. The reality is that politicians like him killed tens of millions of jobs in March and April of 2020 and now, more than two years later, we still haven’t replaced all of those jobs. “There are 755,000 fewer Americans employed today than prior to the pandemic, even as the population age 16 and over has increased by 4.2 million,” according to The Heritage Foundation’s Rachel Greszler. Trouble still looms in the restaurant and hospitality industries in particular, which really struggle to find and retain employees. Restaurants are still cutting back hours, shutting dining rooms in favor of drive-thru only, or closing entirely simply because they can’t find workers.

If that problem persists, it could jolt the jobs market on a larger scale.

“This has caused massive struggles for employers and is directly contributing to inflation,” Greszler added, “as employers have to pay workers more to do the exact same work they were doing before. Yet, even as average earnings are up $3,100 over the past year, the average worker is $1,800 poorer after factoring in a $5,100 inflation tax.” Inflation-adjusted wages have fallen 3.6% from a year ago, including a 1% drop last month.

Indeed, lower- and middle-income folks are being squeezed the most because, “core items” aside, rising prices are the worst among the goods and services they spend the largest portion of their budgets to buy — you know, food and energy. That’s also true of rent, which is a double whammy as more people are priced out of buying homes at nearly 15% higher prices and doubled interest rates.

Consumer confidence has been shaken as people spend their pandemic savings just to keep household budgets afloat. The stock market has tanked this year, robbing people of their retirement savings. It’s not just consumers. The small business owners who drive the economy are increasingly pessimistic.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve raised its short-term interest rate by three-quarters of a point last month and is likely to do the same again this month. The goal is to suppress demand and therefore reduce inflation, but the danger is pushing the economy into recession.

As for the White House, Joe Biden and his handlers deny reality in many ways. The new line is that today’s news is old news. “Today’s report is a reminder that inflation is too high — fighting inflation is my top economic priority,” Biden said in response. “And while the numbers today are not acceptable, they are also outdated. In the past 30 days, the average price of gas has dropped by 40 cents a gallon. That’s breathing room for American families, but oil prices have come down $20/barrel while gas at the pump has only come down 40 cents. Oil and gas companies must pass these lower costs on to consumers.”

To Biden, 13 days ago might as well be 13 months ago.

Previously, Biden has told us his runaway spending had nothing to do with rising prices, in large part because he’s just a bystander buffeted by global events like a pandemic and Putin’s invasion of Ukraine that are the real culprits. There’s a bit of truth there. Private Citizen Biden didn’t shut down anything outside his own campaign in 2020, and he didn’t invade Ukraine (though he did enable Putin to do so). He also didn’t start the COVID spending spree that got the inflation ball rolling.

But Biden has sold out to the radical Left and made the wrong decision at every turn, from rampant spending to money printing to his war on fossil fuels, and everyone can see the results of his policies. Whether stubborn Democrats will ever admit what they see is another matter. Voters, on the other hand, are likely to tell them loud and clear come November.


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