The consumer price index (CPI), which measures what Americans pay for everyday items such as food and gas, soared to the highest level in 41 years.
The CPI leapt 8.5% from a year ago, according to Labor Department data released Tuesday. Taking out food and energy, the CPI still increased by 6.5%.
The soaring inflation has not been seen since the late 1970s, when Carter was president, and the early ’80s, after Ronald Reagan took over.
In an odd twist, Dow futures jumped up more than 200 points after the inflation rate was released at 8:30 a.m. and before the markets opened.
“Price increases came from many of the usual culprits,” CNBC reported. “Food rose 1% for the month and 8.8% over the year. Energy prices were up 11% and 32% respectively, while shelter cost, which make up about one-third of the CPI weighting, increased another 0.5% on the month, making the 12-month gain a blistering 5%.”
The White House has repeatedly sought to distance the president from soaring inflation, going so far as to coin a new term, “Putin’s price hike.” For instance, on Biden’s official schedule for Tuesday, the White House said he would deliver a speech in part on administration efforts to “reduce the impact of Putin’s Price Hike.”
But for the record, here is how much inflation has risen every month since Biden took office (he was inaugurated on January 20, 2021), compiled using the Consumer Price Index data provided by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics:
- January 2021 — 1.4%
- February — 1.7%
- March — 2.6%
- April — 4.2%
- May — 5.0%
- June — 5.4%
- July — 5.4%
- August — 5.3%
- September — 5.4%
- October — 6.2%
- November — 6.8%
- December — 7.0%
- January 2022 — 7.5%
- February — 7.9%
- March — 8.5%
For the record, Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine on February 24.
When Biden took office, a gallon of regular gasoline was $2.33, according to AAA. The average price of a gallon of gasoline is now $4.10, up 43% from a year ago.
The new dismal numbers point to more interest rate hikes by the Fed, the Associated Press reported.
“The latest evidence of accelerating prices will solidify expectations that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates aggressively in the coming months to try to slow borrowing and spending and tame inflation. The financial markets now foresee much steeper rate hikes this year than Fed officials had signaled as recently as last month,” the AP reported.
And the wire service noted that incomes for Americans are not keeping pace with inflation.
“Many Americans have been receiving pay increases, but the pace of inflation has more than wiped out those gains for most people. In February, after accounting for inflation, average hourly wages fell 2.5% from a year earlier. It was the 11th straight monthly drop in inflation-adjusted wages,” the AP reported.
Consumers the price hikes daily at the grocery store. “The cost of meat, poultry, fish and eggs is 13% higher since February 2021,” CNBC reported. “Fresh fruit has gone up 10.6% in price in that time, while the price for vegetables has remained much more stable, increasing just 4.3%. The price of pre-packaged cereals and baked goods has increased 7.7%.”
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent, and ran the Drudge Report from 2010 to 2015. Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.
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