Despite the claims by some that worries about inflation are overwrought, the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed Wednesday that the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.6% in August, rising 3.7% over the last 12 months to an index level of 307.02. That followed a rise of 3.2% in July in consumer price growth, making that two successive months of price ascension, stoking fears that inflation may be more difficult to reduce than optimistic economists had estimated.
As a sign of how much the Biden presidency has harmed consumers, food prices rose 4.9% between July 2022 and July 2023. In August 2022, food’s rate of inflation had risen a whopping 11.4% since the previous August, the highest rate over a month since May 1979. During the Trump presidency, food prices never rose more than 2.1% until the COVID-19 virus struck; in April 2020 they rose 3.5%, rising to 4.5% in June before subsiding to 3.8% in January 2021, when he left office.
But food prices exploded under Joe Biden, literally tripling from the time he took office until August 2022.
The year-over-year change of the CPI is generally used to determine the rate of inflation. The CPI index level at the end of January 2021, the month Joe Biden was inaugurated, rested at 262.65. In the last year of Barack Obama’s presidency, the CPI-U rose 2.5%, the biggest increase since 2012. In the four years of the Trump presidency, the CPI-U rose 2.1%, 1.6%, 2.5%, and 1.4%. The CPI measures the change in prices paid by consumers for goods and services; the CPI-U represents roughly 93% of the total U.S. population.
The climb followed a rise of 0.2% in July. The index for gasoline was responsible for over half of the increase in the CPI in August; the food index rose 0.2% in both July and August. The index for food at home increased 0.2% in August; the index for food away from home rose 0.3%. The food index increased 4.3% over the last year.
To calculate the CPI, BLS collects prices from 75 urban areas across the country; taxes directly associated with the purchase and use of items are included. Price changes are aggregated; data collected locally is combined to ascertain a U.S. city average.