Ahead of Tuesday’s news that inflation had risen to its highest annual rate in more than four decades, the Biden administration briefly came clean about the numbers, but was already laying the groundwork for the excuses and rationalizations it planned to unleash upon an angry nation, as the Washington Times reported.
Before the Labor Department even issued its thoroughly depressing consumer price report, White House press secretary Jen Psaki attempted to get out in front of the story on Monday by claiming that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his aggression in Ukraine were to blame for the pain being felt by everyday consumers here at home.
“Because of the actions we’ve taken to address the Putin price hike, we are in a better place than we were last month. But we expect March [Consumer Price Index] headline inflation to be extraordinarily elevated, due to Putin’s price hike,” Psaki explained.
Indeed, when the data were ultimately released the next day, the nation learned that inflation had indeed increased by a startling 8.5% over the last year, representing the worst such figure since 1981. During the time period at issue, food prices rose 8.8% and gasoline prices skyrocketed 48%, causing very real hardship for millions.
It did not take long for prominent voices – on both sides of the aisle – to blast the administration’s characterization of what is driving inflation as well as the policy stances they believe may only make the situation worse.
Offering the citizenry an especially blunt assessment of the situation was Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who said, “If you want inflation to go down, Americans will have to change leadership. If the Biden administration truly wants to find the cause of record high inflation, all they have to do is look in the mirror.”
“These dramatic, record-setting increases in inflation weren’t caused by Vladimir Putin, but by the bad choices of President Biden and the Democrats who control Congress,” Graham added.
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, thought by many to have his eye on the GOP presidential nomination in 2024, slammed the administration as well on Tuesday, saying, according to the New York Post, “When you’re printing trillions and trillions of dollars, the idea that you can just do that ad infinitum without there being any consequences was completely foolhardy.”
Harsh words also came from a member of the president’s own party, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who declared, “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.” Though the lawmaker also opined that “[t]he American people deserve the truth about why record inflation in happening and what must be done to control it,” based on Psaki’s Monday spin, nothing of the sort appears to be forthcoming from this administration.