Inflation cost the typical American household over $700 last month, according to a Wednesday analysis from Republican members of the Joint Committee on Taxation.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, year-over-year inflation reached 8.5% in July, with the slight moderation from the 9.1% reading in June driven by lower prices at the pump — even as prices for food, new vehicles, medical care, and shelter continued to rise.
The lawmakers’ State Inflation Tracker — which uses January 2021 as a benchmark month — determined that inflation cost average American households $717 in July 2022 alone. Even if prices stop increasing altogether, inflation will cost Americans $8,607 from August 2022 through July 2023.
“Americans are facing the highest inflation rates in decades, making it harder for them to afford everyday goods and more expensive to raise their families,” the analysis said.
Households in New England states such as Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts are witnessing the least severe inflation, while households in western states like Arizona, Idaho, and Utah are facing the most pronounced inflation. Price levels in Washington, D.C., are the highest in the country, with families paying an extra $1,037 per month to cover living expenses.
President Joe Biden and other White House officials, however, spun the latest price level news by noting that inflation was, on paper, 0% last month — with scant mention of continually rising prices for food and other commodities, as well as the fact that inflation was 1.4% when Biden assumed office.
“Today we received news that our economy had 0% inflation in the month of July,” Biden told members of the press. “Here’s what that means — while the price of some things went up last month, the price of other things went down by the same amount. The result: zero inflation last month. People are still hurting, but zero inflation last month.”
In the same way, White House officials downplayed the broader context of record-high gas prices in a manner favorable to Biden as costs dipped below $4.00 per gallon for the first time in months. National Economic Council Director Brian Deese told CNN that the somewhat lower prices reflect “meaningful savings people are going to feel in their lives,” while White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said on social media that the United States has witnessed “another day of falling gas prices” as the Senate works on “inflation-fighting legislation” — a reference to the $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act.
Prices at the pump dropped to $3.98 as of Friday, according to AAA, while figures from the Energy Information Administration show that prices were $3.53 in the days before the Russian invasion of Ukraine and more than $5.00 per gallon in early June. Nevertheless, gasoline was $2.39 per gallon in late January 2021 — meaning that current prices are 67% higher than at the beginning of Biden’s term, with 70% of the total increase occurring before the Russian invasion.
A slim 12% of Americans believe that the Inflation Reduction Act will actually decrease inflation, according to a recent YouGov poll, while 75% of Americans identified the cost of living and inflation as the most pressing economic issues facing their families in a recent CNN survey.