Thursday, March 17, 2022


Four charts

As inflation has continued to climb, so have the number of President Joe Biden’s excuses for why he’s not to blame. First, it was a “transitory” effect of the economy rebounding from COVID lockdowns. Then it was the result of supply chain problems because ports didn’t operate 24/7. Then it was due to a lack of competition among beef suppliers. Then it was greed. Now he’s settled on Vladimir Putin.

None of it is true. But the White House is so determined to take advantage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine it invited TikTok “influencers” to propagandize them. The mainstream press had already fallen in line, delivering stories about why Biden is not at fault. (The New York Times, for example, ran a “fact check” headlined: “Republicans Wrongly Blame Biden for Rising Gas Prices.”)

But Biden is to blame. He set off the current inflationary spiral with the $2 trillion “rescue plan” he and his fellow Democrats jammed through at the start of 2021. They claimed the money was desperately needed to get the economy back on track (it wasn’t) and dismissed warnings from even liberal economists that dumping all that money (while paying people not to work) at a time when the economy was rapidly rebounding would spark an inflationary spiral.

Former Obama administration economist Larry Summers rang the warning bell in early 2021, saying that the $2 trillion splurge could “set off inflationary pressures of a kind we have not seen in a generation.” Biden’s top economist, Jared Bernstein, said Summers was “flat-out wrong.” (Bernstein is still employed by this administration, and no one that we know of has issued a public apology to Summers for the vicious attacks hurled against him.)

But lest you doubt that Biden, not Putin, is to blame for the pain at the pump, at used-car lots, at grocery stores, and everywhere else these days, we present four charts below that make it clear that price spirals started long before Russia’s troops moved into Ukraine – and in fact began to accelerate right at the time Biden was signing his “American Rescue Plan” into law

Take a look and judge for yourself whether Biden is being honest about why inflation, which hasn’t been a problem in four decades, is suddenly reaching into Carter-era heights – just as economists such as Summers predicted.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. Issues & Insights chart.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. Issues & Insights chart.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. Issues & Insights chart.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. Issues & Insights chart.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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