By Jack Birle | The Center Square
President Joe Biden attempted to quell fears over inflation during a speech about his administration’s handling of the economy Monday.
Biden acknowledged rising prices for products like lumber and automobiles but also said these price increases are a side effect of the economy emerging from the coronavirus pandemic.
“Some folks have raised worries that this could be a sign of persistent inflation, but that’s not our view,” Biden said. “Our experts believe, and the data shows, that most of the price increases we’ve seen were expected and expected to be temporary.”
Biden also said that his experts have no fears over any unchecked inflation occurring in the near future.
“There’s nobody suggesting there’s unchecked inflation on the way—no serious economist. That’s totally different,” Biden said.
Those comments take a different tone than Biden’s Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen who warned earlier this week of “rapid inflation” this year before it would level off in 2022.
Biden did, however, indicate that his administration would not be idle if the threat of serious inflation does arise.
“Now, I want to be clear: My administration understands that if we were to ever experience unchecked inflation over the long term that would pose real challenges to our economy,” Biden said. “So while we’re confident that isn’t what we are seeing today, we’re going to remain vigilant about any response that is needed.”
Biden’s optimistic remarks come after the Department of Labor announced last week a 5.4% increase in the consumer price index from June 2020 to June 2021.
Along with the statistics from the Department of Labor, a Wall Street Journal survey published last week found experts believe core personal consumption expenditure prices will increase by 3.21% by the fourth quarter of 2021 and nearly 2.3% by the fourth quarters of both 2022 and 2023. The survey indicated that the projected rise in prices would likely hurt consumers when purchasing all types of goods, from food to gasoline.
Republicans have criticized Biden’s handling of the economy and specifically the inflation occurring on most products.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., blamed Biden and other Democrats for inflation Monday.
“Prices on everything from gas to groceries are skyrocketing. Inflation is hitting hard-working middle-class families the hardest,” McCarthy said. “A key driver of these price increases and increased costs of living is crystal clear…massive increases in government spending by the Democrats.”
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., also criticized Biden for spending programs, which he blames for causing inflation.
“The Biden-Pelosi-Schumer reconciliation scheme is a reckless tax and spending plan that will crush working-class Americans,” Cotton said. “The taxes—including the hidden tax of inflation—will hit everyone. Not just the wealthy.”
Despite the critiques about his programs, Biden said the proposed $3.5 trillion reconciliation package and proposed $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package will boost the U.S. economy and fend off inflation.
“If your primary concern right now is inflation, you should be even more enthusiastic about this plan,” Biden said. “And as we promote—as we promote fair competition in our economy through the executive order I mentioned, it will drive down prices even further.”