Therefore, even though President Joe Biden has few weapons at his disposal to address the economy, the White House has started to shift its stance on inflation. In an address given Tuesday amid a flurry of depressing news on rising expenses and interest rates, the president intensified his efforts to draw comparisons with Republicans. He unloaded a number of fresh attack lines.
Costs continue to rise. And the timer never stops.
“America must yet make a decision. At an AFL-CIO union gathering in Philadelphia, Biden declared that there was a choice between a government run by the few and for the few. “Or an administration for all of us, a democracy for all of us, and an economy where everyone has a fair chance,” Biden said.
However, with the midterm elections quickly approaching, voters’ tolerance appears to be running out, and the president and the party in power threaten to lose political support as a result.
For Democrats, the political landscape is harsh. We are approaching high-stakes midterm elections, and few economic issues are more politically unpleasant than rising food and gas costs, according to Dan Pfeiffer, a former top counselor to President Barack Obama.
The greatest part the White House can do at the moment, according to him, is to demonstrate to voters that they are making an effort. “Recognizing that truth trumps messaging, and there is no silver bullet message that makes a person feel good about a bad economic situation,” he added.
The epidemic, international stimulus plans, bottlenecks in the supply chain, and Russia’s assault on Ukraine are just a few examples of factors that Biden had nothing to do with driving higher prices. However, the government has come under fire for its inaction and tardiness in changing its narrative.
The White House had previously thought that inflation, which started last year, would be cyclical and perhaps even obvious by this summer as people started to consider the next election. Then, after it was discovered that this presumption was incorrect, there was the idea that it peaked in April and would soon begin to decline.
But that also turned out to be false. According to the most recent consumer price index released on Friday, prices increased 8.6 percent in May compared to a year earlier, the highest level in 40 years. In addition, prices rose faster in May than in April, indicating that the inflationary peak had not yet been reached.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen stated in public that the administration miscalculated inflation as the negative figures mounted. Although correct, the assertion was met with grimaces in the West Wing, where staffers pointed out that the Federal Reserve and the majority of respected forecasts were also wrong.
In fact, the Fed has the primary responsibility for containing inflation, and it is anticipated that the Fed will raise interest rates at its meeting on Wednesday, possibly by as much as 0.75 percentage points more than initially anticipated. The amount by which inflation will slow down before November is uncertain, and the issue has captivated Biden’s senior advisers and threatened to overtake both his domestic and foreign goals.
Senior White House advisers have frequently met in closed-door sessions to urge agencies to search for ways to reduce expenses for Americans. In the meantime, Biden has complained to staffers that he hasn’t been ready to do more, criticizing the hand he took over from President Donald Trump and referring to inflation for days in West Wing meetings as the “bane of our existence.” During a late-night TV interview last week, he recited the statement.
With the midterm elections less than five months away, polls indicate that inflation is more on people’s minds than the European war or the recent string of mass shootings. The White House has renewed efforts to reframe how it is combating rising costs with a view on the calendar.
Keeping the rate of price rises (over 8%) lower than the present rate of wage increases is one important benchmark for the White House (around 5 percent.) Millions of Americans have chosen to overlook good economic news due to the general decline in purchasing power. By highlighting the positive results, the White House ran the risk of making Biden appear removed from people’s everyday lives.
Democrats have stepped up their criticism of Republicans for failing to offer their own remedies while still supporting some of the policies, such as Trump’s economic plans, that contributed to the increase in prices. In response to accusations that the Obama administration heated the economy, Biden himself pointed out a plan by Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) as continuing GOP efforts to harm working Americans.
On Tuesday, Biden furiously remarked on the economy, citing current deficit reductions, “I don’t want to hear any more of this nonsense about reckless spending. People’s lives are being changed by us! Republicans, though, have stuck to their talking points, blaming inflation on Democratic spending plans implemented during the epidemic.
House Minority Whip Steve Scalise argued that Democrats “blatantly utilized the epidemic to push their socialist aspirations of government dependency” (R-La.). “They ignored all the warnings about the inflation it would bring about, compensated people not to work, distributed significant stimulus checks, and extended government health care programs.”
Biden used a historically significant portion of the strategic oil reserves to lower gas costs to comment on the economy. The government said on Tuesday that the president would travel to Saudi Arabia the following month, in part to pressure the country to increase its oil output. Biden has frequently stated his unwillingness to travel to a country he had previously labeled a “pariah” and meet with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, who was thought to be responsible for the assassination and mutilation of Jamal Khashoggi.
Last week, Biden paid a visit to the Port of Los Angeles to promote the administration’s efforts to clear up supply chain hiccups. Aides also point out that the United States’ economy has rebounded more quickly than that of other countries and that inflation is a worldwide issue. Additionally, unemployment has decreased to 3.5 percent, which is almost pre-pandemic levels.
The president recently unveiled his strategy to combat inflation in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that was released by the White House. It featured a laundry list of announced earlier plans to address broken supply chains, invest more in infrastructure, and offer more child-care and clean energy tax credits, as well as allowing the Fed to do its rate-hiking job unhindered by presidential pressure.
If the government can’t get some of its programs into a budget reconciliation measure, it seems unlikely that Congress would take action on most of it for the remainder of this year. White House advisers admit that despite their best efforts, there will be no immediate reduction in inflation.
Examples of presidencies that were ruined by inflation and weak economies may be found all across history. And some economists worry that it might be months before Biden sees recovery.
Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, who notably anticipated a significant increase in inflation before the White House’s nearly $2 trillion American Rescue Plan passed Congress without a Republican vote last year, said in a question and answer session, “I’ve been skeptical of the peak inflation story and I still am.
Summers stated, “I continue to believe that it is improbable that we will be able to reduce inflation in a fashion that provides a soft landing and without a near-term material increase in unemployment.”
“All presidents are typically held responsible for the economic situation, but since Franklin Delano Roosevelt made ending the Great Depression a cornerstone of his presidency, the severity of both assumption and start blaming on the presidency for economic circumstances has enhanced,” said Wendy Schiller, director of the A. Alfred Taubman Center for American Politics and Policy at Brown University.
She noted that Biden still has two years for things to stabilize, which is “literally his saving grace, but not for Congressional Democrats.”