by Peter Roff
It is frustrating that so many otherwise competent, knowledgeable economists and commentators are failing to land a punch on President Joe Biden regarding inflation.
It’s not that people don’t know the economy is floundering. They do. Almost 66% of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track, according to the latest RealClearPolitics polling average, a sentiment driven by inflation and the difficulties it has caused for people trying to keep up with household expenses.
The frustration comes from the fact so few people who are in the public eye seem to care that Biden not only has it all wrong, he doubles down when challenged. The commentariat seems more concerned he referred to newly elected Maryland Democratic Gov. Wes Moore as “the boy” in a speech Tuesday to IBEW Local 26 than his contention in the same set of remarks that gas prices are down, inflation is coming down, and “take-home pay for workers has gone up over the past several months” because of his policies without mentioning it was his policies that produced the adverse economic conditions from which we’ve all recently suffered
“We got more to do, but I’m telling you, the Biden economic plan is working,” he said. Really? That’s not what the numbers say.
The Consumer Price Index for January 2023 was up by 6.4% compared to the previous year, exceeding what economists expected would happen. Core consumer prices ë which is everything but food and energy, rose by 5.6 % compared to last year. Meanwhile, real average hourly wages fell by 1.8%, meaning inflation has outpaced wage growth for 22 straight months.
If this is all temporary, as the president and other senior administration officials were saying months ago, it would be interesting to know what their definition of long-term is.
If that were not bad enough, the Republican National Committee press shop has been circulating a Primerica report showing 72 % of families that are middle-income “say their earnings are falling behind the cost of living.” It also cites a survey from Fortune Magazine saying eight in 10 middle-income households have been forced to dip into savings because of inflation.
None of that sounds like “the good news” the president shared with the Maryland labor local. He doesn’t seem to understand that four in 10 Americans, according to a recent ABC News/Washington Post poll, say they’ve “gotten worse off financially since Joe Biden became president.”
That, the pollster said, was the highest that percentage had been in surveys dating back 37 years.
The president says things are getting better but that’s like a child asking a parent to focus on the part of their room that’s been cleaned up rather than the mess that remains. Prices on most things are higher than they were when Biden took office — by a lot — as are mortgage rates and other costs that many middle-and low-income deal with through some form of short-term financing.
Brian Riedel, a senior economist with the Manhattan Institute think tank estimates inflation has been a $10,000 imposition on household income that will continue on an annual basis even after inflation gets back to the target set by the Federal Reserve.
None of this is mysterious. The data is there and we have years if not decades of experience understanding the cause-and-effect relationship between federal spending and inflation.
The longer it goes on, the bolder Biden gets while engaged in disassembling and blame-shifting. Is he living in the same America as the rest of us?
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A former UPI senior political writer and U.S. News and World Report columnist, Peter Roff is a Washington-based columnist and commentator. Contact him at RoffColumns AT gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter and TruthSocial @TheRoffDraft
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Joe Biden” by The White House.