While President Joe Biden’s most passionate Democrat groupies may be buying his administration’s “Putin’s price hike” rhetoric, the vast majority of Americans aren’t, including West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a fellow Democrat.
In a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, the senator railed against the administration for effectively lying to the American people about inflation.
“It is a disservice to the American people to act as if inflation is a new phenomenon,” he bluntly said, contradicting the administration’s narrative that inflation suddenly spawned into existence the moment Russia invaded Ukraine.
“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,” he continued, laying the blame for inflation at the feet of the administration.
“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.”
My statement on consumer inflation rising to 8.5%, the largest 12 month increase in four decades: pic.twitter.com/qlKlDVU2Vu
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) April 12, 2022
The truth, he argued, is that controlling inflation requires pursuing certain policies — ones which it appears this administration mostly opposes.
“Here is the truth, we cannot spend our way to a balanced, healthy economy and continue adding to our $30 trillion national debt,” Manchin said, referring to the policy of tightening the nation’s belt instead of spending, spending, spending.
“Getting inflation under control will require more aggressive action by a Federal Reserve that waited too long to act.”
“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 continued, referring to the policy of not attacking the oil/gas industry.
“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,” he contended.
Manchin concluded that America’s current inflation woes are “only the beginning” unless “immediate action” is taken.
The administration is admittedly taking some steps, but the problem, critics say, is that they’re all the wrong steps — such as tapping into the nation’s energy reserves and authorizing the use of E15 gas:
Biden during fertilizer, inflation, & food crisis – uh… let’s keep blocking American oil (of which we have plenty) and let’s grind up corn to try to keep the fuel prices down we are purposefully driving up – and as an added bonus, clog up fuel lines. https://t.co/MQAjkC1HtP
— Chip Roy (@chiproytx) April 12, 2022
Meanwhile, the administration continues to deflect blame for the crisis, claiming the true culprit is Russian President Vladimir Putin and his invasion of Ukraine.
“So, because of the actions we’ve taken to address Putin — the Putin price hike, we are in a better place than we were last month,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday while speaking about incoming economic data.
“But we expect March CPA — CPI headline inflation to be extraordinarily elevated due to Putin’s price hike. And we expect a large difference between core and headline inflation, reflecting the global disruptions in energy and food markets,” she added.
“We need to do more to reduce costs for the American people.”
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says the White House expects the Consumer Price Index report on inflation for March “to be extraordinarily elevated due to Putin’s price hike.” pic.twitter.com/MsImm8189U
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 11, 2022
However, this oft-repeated talking point is belied by a number of facts.
One, prices have been consistently rising since President Joe Biden took office.
Two, the price hikes observed since Putin invaded Ukraine have been marginal compared to the wider price-hike trend.
And three, the price hikes in the U.S. have been “much higher” than the price hikes seen in Europe.
The charts below illustrate these points:
— Chuck Ross (@ChuckRossDC) April 12, 2022
PutInflation in context pic.twitter.com/onADmgZWqi
— zerohedge (@zerohedge) April 12, 2022
U.S. inflation remains *much* higher than euro area inflation. This is the 12-month change in core HICP, a somewhat comparable measure for the two economies.
The US has consistently been ~4pp higher than Europe. That is a HUGE difference. pic.twitter.com/pboWfRluRR
— Jason Furman (@jasonfurman) April 12, 2022
Manchin, for his part, appears to understand these points. So does the public.
“When asked about who they blame for an increase in gas prices, a plurality (39%) blame the Biden Administration, 21% blame the sanctions on Russia, and 18% blame gas and oil companies,” according to an Emerson College poll published late last month.
So much for “Putin’s price hikes” …
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