News and Analysis

Musk Hammers Home The Issue Most Painful For Biden: ‘I Think The Official Numbers’ Are Much Worse
Elon Musk Joe Biden
Getty Images: Jonathan Newton | Erin Clark

Tesla boss Elon Musk said during a shareholder’s meeting for the electric car company on Wednesday that he believes inflation is much worse than what is being reported and that it is unlikely to slow down this year.

Musk’s comments come after statistics from the Labor Department showed inflation skyrocketed 8.5% annually in March, representing the largest 12-month increase since December 1981.

“I think the official numbers actually understate the true magnitude of inflation. And inflation appears to be likely to continue for at least the remainder of this year,” Musk said. “What’s keeping costs down, at least in the short term, is that we have locked in contracts with suppliers. Those modular contracts will obviously run out, and then we’ll start to see potentially significant cost increases.”

The issue of inflation will likely play a major role in the upcoming midterm elections, as numerous polls show it is major source of pain for American voters. Midterm elections are typically a referendum on the party that controls the White House, which is why Democrat President Joe Biden is trying to blame rising costs on Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

Recent polling from Pew Research found that “strengthening the economy” is the top issue for voters headed into the 2022 midterms and that concern over the issue is being driven by inflation.

“The public’s policy agenda reflects continued concerns over the economy,” the report said. “With inflation at a four-decade high, large majorities of Americans say prices for food and consumer goods (89%), gas prices (82%) and the cost of housing (79%) are worse than they were a year ago. Only 28% rate economic conditions as excellent or good.”

A recent Gallup poll also found that a large number of Americans were concerned about inflation and the impact that it is having on the country.

“Roughly one in five Americans mention the high cost of living/inflation (17%), or fuel prices (4%) specifically, as the most important problem facing the U.S. today,” the survey found. “Together, these account for over half of the economic issues that 35% of Americans cite as the nation’s top problem. Within that group, 11% identify the economy in general as the chief problem.”

A recent survey from The New York Times revealed that a staggering 90% of Americans said they were worried about inflation.

Biden has also faced scrutiny over his fitness for office, including in a poll earlier this year that asked respondents, “Is Joe Biden mentally fit to serve as President of the United States or do you have doubts about his fitness for office?”

A majority of Americans, 53%, said, “I have doubts about his fitness.”