White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki warned Americans to expect unusually high inflation numbers when the Consumer Price Index report is released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics on Tuesday. Psaki, again, blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for causing this round of higher prices on everything from gas to groceries due to his ongoing war in Ukraine.
But what the White House has yet to answer is how Putin’s actions in late February 2022 somehow managed to drive up inflation and the cost of gasoline for the entire year prior to his invasion.
“Because of the actions we’ve taken to address the Putin price hike, we are in a better place than we were last month, but we expect March CPI headline inflation to be extraordinarily elevated due to Putin’s price hike,” Psaki told the White House press pool Monday afternoon.
“We expect a large difference between core and headline inflation, reflecting the global disruptions in energy and food markets,” she added, noting that core inflation does not include energy and food data while headline data does.”
“I will say that anytime there’s heightened monthly data or inflation reporting or numbers, it is a reminder to us, to our allies on the Hill and hopefully to many of the American people that we need to do more to reduce costs for the American people,” Psaki added
“We have, of course, legislation that could do exactly that — cut the cost of childcare, of healthcare, of eldercare,” she claimed.
"We need to do more to reduce costs for the American people."
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki says the White House expects the Consumer Price Index report on inflation for March “to be extraordinarily elevated due to Putin’s price hike.” pic.twitter.com/MsImm8189U
— CBS News (@CBSNews) April 11, 2022
This is now the second month in a row that the White House has blamed “Putin’s price hike” for high inflation numbers.
In March, former President Barack Obama’s “car czar” Steven Rattner slammed President Joe Biden in a tweet for blaming February’s inflation numbers on Putin.
“Well, no. These are Feb #’s and only include small Russia effect. This is Biden’s inflation and he needs to own it,” Rattner tweeted.
In January, before any sanctions were imposed upon Russia, Harvard professor and former Obama economic advisor Lawrence Summers also warned that inflation was a major problem for the nation, The Daily Wire reported.
“We have a serious inflation problem whatever the precise CPI reading. Inflation is running well ahead of anything seen during the guns and butter Vietnam episode and 50 percent above where it was when Pres Nixon imposed wage price controls,” Summers tweeted.
In March, Eric Boehm also pondered that fact, questioning in article for Reason how the White House can blame Putin for the nation’s economic woes:
But if that’s all Putin’s fault, how do you explain the fact that energy prices—and gasoline prices, specifically—had been rising faster than just about anything else for much of the past year? In November, the Labor Department reported that energy prices were up 33 percent and gasoline prices up 58 percent over the previous year. In August, those numbers were 25 percent and 42 percent, respectively. What’s happening here seems to run a lot deeper than the events of the past few weeks.
Boehm — like the Hoover Insitute’s John Cochrane — blames government spending during 2020 and 2021 for inflation. He also noted that Summers, as well as Jeremy Siegel of Wharton School of Business, predicted high inflation well before Putin’s military aggression ramped up:
Finally, this brings us back around to the economists who were warning last year that Biden’s stimulus bill would be a recipe for high inflation. It’s unlikely that Siegel, Summers, and the rest had a crystal ball that could predict Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
What they were predicting—and, indeed, what we are now seeing—was persistently rising prices due to an excessive amount of money being dumped into the economy. Any attempt by the Biden administration to explain inflation that doesn’t include a hard look at its own policies is simply dishonest.
The CPI report is expected to be released Tuesday morning.