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WH: Yes, Inflation Is Both 'Transitory' and Putin's Fault

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

The buck stops...over there, always. The Democrats' lame "Putin price hike" isn't sparing President Biden from deep voter anger – in part because the drastic surge in US inflation began long before Russia's Ukraine invasion, and everyone knows it. They can yell about Putin, and even slander Republicans as Kremlin propagandists, or whatever, until they're blue in the face. They're in charge, the country is in pain, and they're losing. And they know it. Biden is drowning on the inflation issue for a reason. But sometimes it almost feels as if they want to lose. Why else would they have Dr. Anthony Fauci out there blathering about the "prudence" of extended mask mandates when the data doesn't justify them? And why else would they be clinging to this absolute stinker of a talking point? My goodness: 


I mean, all inflation at some point becomes "transitory." It doesn't last forever. But it's now been with us for the entirety of this presidency, and the burning question now is whether this bout ends without triggering a recession. It may also be irrelevant at this point whether it subsides before or after the election, as the ruling party appears poised to endure a beating either way. Still, talking about how temporary inflation is truly feels self-destructive at this point. Indeed, it felt that way months and months ago, when major figures abandoned that framing as counter-productive. This was early December: 

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell surprised market players earlier this week when tweaking his tone about inflation. Now, economists in Europe say the European Central Bank needs to do the same. Powell told U.S. lawmakers that “it’s probably a good time to retire that word (transitory) and try to explain more clearly what we mean” when talking about inflation.

That was the Fed Chair. This was Biden's own Treasury Secretary, around the same time: 

Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen on Thursday said she believed it was time to stop characterizing inflation as temporary and suggested that the Omicron variant of the coronavirus could prolong the problem of rising prices...Ms. Yellen’s remarks echoed those of Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, who said earlier this week that inflation was more than a short-term issue. “I am ready to retire the word transitory,” Ms. Yellen said. “I can agree that that hasn’t been an apt description of what we are dealing with.”

Yet here's Circle Back, perhaps counting down the days until her MSNBC contract commences, courageously sticking to a line tossed aside by her own administration's experts last year. And she's deploying it in the context of back-to-back days of terrible inflation reports, on both the consumer and producer sides: 

Suppliers raised prices sharply last month, a sign inflation continues to percolate through the U.S. economy...Producer prices rose 11.2% on a 12-month basis, compared with an upwardly revised 10.3% increase in February. That marked the fourth consecutive month with a double-digit gain and was the highest since records began in 2010...The report comes a day after the government said consumer prices increased by 8.5% in March to a four-decade high, adding pressure on the Federal Reserve to speed up a series of interest-rate increases expected in May and June. These developments complicate the Fed’s tough challenge to cool inflation without causing unemployment to rise. 


Some of the factors at play truly are beyond Biden or the government's control, and there is an element of truth to the Russia war excuse. But some of the problem is Democratic policies, which were warned against by even some Democratic economists who were very concerned about the threat of inflation (Larry Summers is now talking about a recession). Biden and the Democrats tried to add trillions more in new spending, beyond the existing trillions in unsustainable emergency "COVID" expenditures (on which the White House is now insultingly crying poverty). But they're out here blaming absolutely everyone else for everything. Including this: 

You can question the effectiveness of Abbott's move, but some facts are unavoidable: The border is a total mess, the federal government isn't doing its job (in fact, Biden is about to make it much worse), and border states are being left to fend for themselves in large measure. Criticizing the way a governor is trying to make up for the federal government's dereliction is pretty rich. Also, Abbott's policy on this front is brand new and likely has made no major impact yet. Beyond that, Texas has been one of the red states driving the post-COVID recovery, no thanks to Biden. This White House has dumped on Texas and Florida at every opportunity while trying to steal credit for the gains being made in those states thanks to policies that are the opposite of the Democratic Party line. Regardless, Biden's endless blame parade isn't selling


I'll leave you with the vice president at least seeming to understand – in her own special way – that breezy talkers like "transitory" aren't going to cut it: 

Memo to Psaki: We must acknowledge the acknowledgment, not only of the significance of the passage of time but also of the lasting pain of inflation. And that time is every day. 


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