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President Joe Biden gave a speech this afternoon on the state of the economy. According to its billing, it would address “lowering prices for the American people.” Yet Biden seemingly wants us all to forget about price inflation as an economic issue.
In his half-hour or so of jawboning, Biden mostly crowed about his alleged achievements and almost entirely avoided the topic of large-scale price inflation. He did acknowledge such inflation in the world of gasoline, yet, as Reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey reported today, the Biden administration continues to pursue policies that restrict supply and thus goose up gas prices, despite his new sleight-of-hand about opening up strategic petroleum reserves.
Biden apparently wants us to believe that only the genius and strength of his government telling ports to stay open longer and stores to stock their shelves more frequently are behind any turnaround in the much-worried supply chain crisis of the season. One hopes no American believes it takes federal action for private businesses to try to keep themselves in business and profitable.
When it comes to overall price inflation, the combination of Biden’s decision this week to keep Jerome Powell in his Federal Reserve chair (indicating Biden thinks the inflationary monetary policy decisions of the past few years are just fine) and the president’s seeming belief that the only inflationary problem people care about is in gas (or perhaps his belief that inflation right now is entirely and only a supply chain problem, an opinion shared by many) makes it clear that Biden thinks inflation is a problem he can just ride out politically while fellow Democrats blame current inflation on greedy corporations.
Biden wants to ignore, and wants us to ignore, that Consumer Price Index-measured price inflation is now hitting 30-year highs of 6.2 percent yearly, and he apparently hopes voters will believe this has little to do with governmental policies both monetary and fiscal, such as injecting gigantic new purchasing power into the economy in the trillions via COVID-19 relief and quadrupling the M1 monetary supply in the last year and a half, which, other things being equal, will likely lead to those dollars being worth less, i.e., price inflation.
Biden might want to give some thought to the fate of another Democratic president, Jimmy Carter, who found that the American people don’t like seeing everything get more expensive. Carter also learned that those same people tend to blame the managers of the money supply for inflation.
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is a senior editor at Reason and author of Ron Paul’s Revolution: The Man and the Movement He Inspired (Broadside Books).
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