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West Virginia Democrat Senator Joe Manchin is blasting the Biden administration for responding to record-high inflation with ‘half-measures and rhetorical failures’ after the Labor Department revealed Tuesday that the average price of consumer goods hit a 41-year high.
He said Americans deserved to know ‘the truth’ of what fueled a staggering 8.5 percent inflation rate in March from the year prior — a price hike he likened to a new ‘tax.’
‘Let me be clear, inflation is a tax and today’s historic inflation data tells another chilling story about how these taxes on Americans are completely out of control,’ the moderate Democrat said.
‘Hard earned wages and financial savings are disappearing faster every month as prices continue to climb, while the pain and frustration of spending more on everyday items lingers over us all, especially among those who can afford it the least.’
The new data show Americans are being hit hardest at the pump, with the price of gasoline soaring by 49 percent. It’s part of a global trend of soaring fuel costs after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine plunged the global energy supply chain into chaos.
Tuesday’s inflation report is the first to capture the full picture of Vladimir Putin’s impact on the U.S. economy after he ordered his brutal attack on February 24.
President Joe Biden frequently points out the Russian autocrat’s role in Americans’ financial hardship, dubbing it ‘Putin’s price hike.’
The West Virginia Democratic Senator accused President Biden and the Federal Reserve of trying to fight inflation with ‘rhetorical failures’
Manchin appears to allude to the blame-shifting in his statement, claiming it is ‘a disservice to the American people to act as if inflation is a new phenomenon.’
He also takes aim at the Federal Reserve, who he accused along with the White House of not acting decisively enough to fight rising costs of groceries and housing that have outpaced record increases in wages and job growth.
‘The Federal Reserve and the Administration failed to act fast enough, and today’s data is a snapshot in time of the consequences being felt across the country,’ Manchin said. ‘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.’
‘The American people deserve the truth about why record inflation is happening and what must be done to control it.’
He continued, ‘Here is the truth, we cannot spend our way to a balanced, healthy economy and continue adding to our $30 trillion national debt.’
And to tackle the so-called ‘Putin price hike,’ Manchin reiterated his calls for a new tax credit for clean energy manufacturing, what he’s called an ‘all-of-the-above energy policy.’
The southern Democrat whose family owns a coal business in his home state of West Virginia argued that such incentives would help spur the shift from fossil fuels to green energy.
The consumer price index increased 8.5% in March from a year ago, a 41-year high
He’s previously expressed concern over the president’s electric vehicle push as a solution to the energy price crisis, citing supply chain issues.
‘It demands the Administration and Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, support an all-the-above energy policy because that is the only way to bring down the high price of gas and energy while attacking climate change,’ Manchin said.
‘The United States of America is equipped to be energy independent from Russia and other terror-sponsoring countries while also working to fight global climate change and break our dependence on the critical mineral supply change from China.’
The senator warned that the four decade-high price hike was ‘only the beginning’ unless his colleagues on Capitol Hill worked across the aisle to fix it.
‘The inflation number today is only the beginning unless we take immediate action to address the pain being felt across our nation. This is one problem facing the American people that one political party alone cannot fix. The American people cannot wait any longer,’ he said.
The last time inflation was this high, Reagan was in office and the ‘Great Inflation’ was ending
The ‘Great Inflation’ period from 1965 to 1982 was marked by soaring inflation that topped 14 percent by 1980
The new data puts inflation at the highest level since 1981, when the period known as the ‘Great Inflation’ was coming to a close.
Spurred by failed monetary policy and two oil crises in 1973 and 1979, the period from 1965 to 1982 was marked by soaring inflation that topped 14 percent by 1980.
Consumers suffered greatly from the rising prices, and outrage over the inflation crisis contributed to Ronald Reagan’s win over one-term incumbent President Jimmy Carter in 1980.
‘Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hit man,’ Reagan famously said on the campaign trail, and he devoted the first years of his presidency to tackling the issue.
Reagan’s controversial economic policy had four key pillars: reducing government spending, slashing taxes, reducing regulations, and tightening the monetary supply through higher interest rates.
Naysayers claimed at the time that Reagan’s policies would drive prices even higher, but history proved them wrong and inflation was soon back to sustainable levels.
Tuesday’s inflation report is a damaging setback for the White House as it seeks to highlight the country’s economic recovery from the pandemic ahead of the looming November midterms.
Airfares jumped 15 percent as the world’s major airlines race to make up for lost profits during the broad COVID-19 lockdowns.
The cost of shelter rose 5 percent as rent prices soar in the country’s major cities, after landlords in places like New York City were forced to slash them over the last two years.
Heating the home cost significantly more in March as well, with the price of gas utilities rising more than 21 percent.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said during Monday’s briefing that the White House expected ‘headline inflation to be extraordinarily elevated due to Putin ‘s price hike.’
Republican lawmakers have seized on Americans’ economic pain as a political cudgel.
A White House communications advisor shot back that GOP critics were acting in ‘lock-step’ with Putin.
The autocrat said Tuesday that rising inflation will put pressure on Western leaders.
‘Putin and @SenRickScott fully in lockstep in blaming Biden for Putin’s Price Hike. So surprising,’ Jesse Lee, senior communications advisor for the National Economic Council, wrote on Twitter that same day.
Senator Rick Scott, R-Fla., said the new 8.5 percent inflation figure’ should be a big wakeup call for Joe Biden, but we know nothing will change.
‘I have been sounding the alarm on Joe Biden’s raging inflation crisis for more than a year, but while inflation skyrockets higher each month, Biden and his incompetent lackeys remain missing in action,’ Scott continued.
‘Since they won’t acknowledge the facts, I will: As long as Joe Biden is in office, families will continue to suffer, debt will keep climbing and prices will skyrocket even higher.’
Tennessee Republican Senator Bill Hagerty dismissed ‘Putin’s price hike’ as political ‘spin’ from the federal government.
‘While President Biden will surely say this pain is the fault of Vladimir Putin and that inflation is a global problem, this is spin from a White House that refuses to take responsibility,’ Hagerty said in a statement.
‘The facts are real: Inflation continued to accelerate in March, as Putin’s invasion poured gasoline on the inflationary fire that the Democrats’ irresponsible economic policies—ranging from their massive wholly partisan stimulus spending to their war on American energy—ignited more than a year ago, creating this tidal wave of inflation now running at a multi-decade high.’
The president is in Iowa on Tuesday afternoon where he’s expected to greenlight the sale of higher-ethanol gasoline in a bid to lower prices.
The gasoline, known as E15, is banned during the high traffic period of June through mid-September due to air quality risks. However, it could cost consumers an average of 10 cents per gallon less.
He’s expected to make remarks about ‘Putin’s price hike’ and address the 8.5 percent inflation announcement.
Source: Daily Mail