The Effects Of Two Years Of Biden’s Persistently High Inflation Are Weighing Down Americans

April’s Inflation Report Showed Prices Rising Again, ‘Far Above The Federal Reserve’s 2% Target Rate,’ As They Have Been For Two Straight Years, Leaving American Families Paying Ever More For Their Houses, Their Food, And Their Energy, While They Continue To Express Their Displeasure With Economic Conditions And Lack Of Confidence In President Biden


‘Consumer Prices In The United States Rose Again In April, And Measures Of Underlying Inflation Stayed High’

“Consumer prices in the United States rose again in April, and measures of underlying inflation stayed high, a sign that further declines in inflation are likely to be slow and bumpy. Prices increased 0.4% from March to April, the government said Wednesday, up from a 0.1% rise from February to March. Compared with a year earlier, prices climbed 4.9% …” (“US Prices Stay High, Showing Inflation Pressures Persist,” The Associated Press, 5/10/2023)

Prior to 2021, year-over-year monthly inflation had not been as high as it was in April 2023 since 1982. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 5/10/2023)

‘Inflation Has Moved Beyond Sticky At This Point … It’s Become Tenacious’

“[P]olicymakers are still fearful that inflation could become a permanent threat to workers and families who are also facing tighter credit conditions, rising loan payments and uncertainty about a recession.” (The Washington Post, 5/10/2023)


The Cumulative Effect Of Inflation Since President Biden Took Office Has Americans Paying Significantly Higher Prices For Food, Energy, Transportation, Housing, And More

Since President Biden took office, inflation has increased 16%. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Accessed 5/10/2023)

Meanwhile, Americans Continue Giving Up More Of Their Paychecks To Inflation, With Year-On-Year Real Average Weekly Earnings Decreasing 1.1%

“Real average hourly earnings decreased 0.5 percent, seasonally adjusted, from April 2022 to April 2023. The change in real average hourly earnings combined with a decrease of 0.6 percent in the average workweek resulted in a 1.1-percent decrease in real average weekly earnings over this period.” (Bureau of Labor Statistics, Press Release, Accessed 5/10/2023)

Persistently High Inflation Has Forced Higher Interest Rates, ‘Making Borrowing Far More Expensive For Consumers And Businesses’

“For more than two years, high inflation has been a significant burden for America’s consumers, a threat to the economy and a frustrating challenge for the Fed. The central bank has raised its key interest rate by a substantial 5 percentage points since March 2022 to try to drive inflation back down to its 2% target. Besides making borrowing far more expensive for consumers and businesses, those higher rates have contributed to the collapse of three large banks in the past two months and to a likely pullback in bank lending. The result could be a further weakening of the economy.” (“US Prices Stay High, Showing Inflation Pressures Persist,” The Associated Press, 5/10/2023)


Americans Remain Deeply Frustrated And Pessimistic About The Economy, And Have Little Confidence In Joe Biden’s Economic Policies

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on May 10th found 59% of Americans disapprove of President Biden’s handling of the economy. (Reuters/Ipsos Poll, 5/10/2023)

A May 2023 Gallup poll found that confidence in President Biden to do or recommend the right thing for the economy was the lowest for a president since the 2008 financial crisis. (“Americans Lack Confidence in Major Economic Leaders,” Gallup, 5/09/2023)

“Just 19% of U.S. adults rate current economic conditions as excellent or good, while 46% say conditions are only fair and 35% rate the economy as poor.” (Pew Research Center, 4/07/2023)

  • “While Americans’ views of current economic conditions continue to be largely negative, their outlook for the future has worsened. Today, 46% of the public say they expect economic conditions to worsen in the next year, while 36% expect conditions to be about as they are currently and 17% think the economy will improve.” (Pew Research Center, 4/07/2023)
  • “Roughly three-quarters of the public say they are very concerned about the price of food and consumer goods (72%), while a smaller majority (61%) say they are very concerned about the cost of housing.” (Pew Research Center, 4/07/2023)

‘U.S. Small Business Confidence Fell To More Than A 10-Year Low In April’

“U.S. small business confidence fell to more than a 10-year low in April on worries about the near-term economic outlook and persistent worker shortages … The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) said on Tuesday its Small Business Optimism Index dropped 1.1 points to 89.0 last month, the lowest level since January 2013. It was the 16th straight month that the index remained below the 49-year average of 98.” (“US Small Business Sentiment Slumps To More Than 10-Year Low,” Reuters, 5/09/2023)

“Higher interest rates tied to the Federal Reserve's battle to tame inflation combined with tighter credit conditions following recent financial market stress are stoking fears of a recession this year.” (“US Small Business Sentiment Slumps To More Than 10-Year Low,” Reuters, 5/09/2023)


And Yet Democrats Are Looking To Promote Biden Economic Confidante Jared Bernstein, Who Was Spectacularly Wrong On Inflation

President Biden’s Pick To Lead The Council Of Economic Advisers Has Repeatedly Said The White House Didn’t Miss Anything On Inflation

JARED BERNSTEIN, Member of the Council of Economic Advisers: “Well, first of all, we’re having an inflationary story in every advanced economy in the globe, and in fact, inflation is historically elevated everywhere. So it is certainly not just one country’s fiscal or monetary policy.”
CNBC’S ANDREW ROSS SORKIN: “But then the question is, what did the White House miss [on inflation]? And what is the lesson of that?”
BERNSTEIN: “I don’t think the White House missed much at all [on inflation]…” (CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” 6/13/2022)

SEN. JOHN KENNEDY (R-LA): “I'm going to run out of time. Are you telling me that when you said inflation was transitory, you were correct?”
BERNSTEIN: “No, I'm not saying I was correct or incorrect. What I'm saying was that was an ambiguous ...”
SEN. KENNEDY: “You were saying you were correct.”
BERNSTEIN: “No, I'm saying that that was an ambiguous and unclear word that was poorly chosen, I think, for that discussion, because it meant different things to different people.”
SEN. KENNEDY: “Well, has it been transitory?”
BERNSTEIN: “Inflation has, in fact, behaved much as I just described.” (Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee Hearing, 4/18/2023)

Before President Biden Unleashed His Reckless Spending Spree, Bernstein Dismissed The Inflationary Risks

BERNSTEIN:I think [Larry Summers is] wrong. I think he is wrong in a pretty profound way about that -- about that claim in the following sense. And there’s a way in which Larry’s offering a warning that we’ve actually already heeded. So let me get into this a little bit. … But what Larry is worrying about here is inflation overheating. And right now we have inflation that’s been below the Fed’s target rate of 2 percent for well over a decade. And so we also have tremendous unused capacity in this economy. … That’s not overheating. It doesn’t mean there won’t be some heat. And where Larry got something importantly wrong, by the way, is by suggesting that the administration was being dismissive of any inflation -- potential inflationary pressures.” (CNN, 2/05/2021)

BERNSTEIN: “I mean, one thing is just wrong, which is that that our team is dismissive of inflationary risks. We’ve constantly argued that the risks of doing too little are far greater than the risk of going big, providing families and businesses with the relief they need to finally put this virus behind us. … I’m more concerned about…the damage that will do not just to their lives, but to the United States economy, to the productive capacity of the economy.  I’m more concerned about that than about the possibility which exists of higher inflation. So, this is risk management. This is balancing risks. And in our view, the risks of doing too little are far greater than the risks of doing too much.The risk is a deflationary risk, which motivates us to go home — or to go big or to go home.  And the costs of inaction, of not addressing these risks, are too steep and too costly to these vulnerable — to these vulnerable groups, relative to the likelihood of overheating.  That’s the way I think about it.” (White House Press Briefing, 2/05/2021)

  • BERNSTEIN: “Yes. I think we have to distinguish between heat and overheat. So by overheating, Larry is talking about the possibility of inflation really taking off. Well, we have an unemployment rate that is almost twice what it was before this crisis. … And with inflation running well below 2%, which is the Federal Reserve’s target for almost a decade now. Again, we need to generate heat that’s not going to be overheat.” (CNN, 1/22/2021)

“Jared Bernstein, a member of Mr. Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers, said the administration believes the risks of high and persistent unemployment, hunger, eviction and other fallout from Covid-19 without stimulus outweigh the risks of inflation with stimulus.” (“Is Inflation a Risk? Not Now, but Some See Danger Ahead,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/01/2021)

Even After More Than A Year Of Higher Inflation From Biden’s Reckless Spending, Bernstein Claimed The White House Should Not Pivot On Its Economic Policies

FOX NEWS’ BILL HEMMER: “Is it time for this White House and the Biden administration to pivot on its economic policies?”
JARED BERNSTEIN, Member of the Council of Economic Advisers: “No…”
HEMMER: “I asked you that question and you said no. So are you saying no change? Are you saying no change in policy?”
BERNSTEIN: “Let me explain why, because the policies that we’re doing to help mitigate and ease price pressures are having effect.” (Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom,” 10/13/2022)


After Two Years Of High Inflation Accelerated By Biden’s Economic Policies, Americans Are Struggling With Higher Costs For Nearly Every Basic Area Of Life

More And More Americans ‘Have Found Themselves Confronting Financial Hardship’ With Savings Dwindling While ‘The Most Disastrous Outcomes For U.S. Households, Like Auto Repossessions And Home Foreclosures, Have Begun To Climb’

“[A] growing number of Americans … have found themselves confronting financial hardship as the U.S. economy has slowed…. The slowdown is starting to show up in Americans' personal finances. According to a recent survey from Bankrate, 49% of U.S. adults have less savings compared to a year ago. Ten percent of those surveyed said they have no savings at all. The upshot: The most disastrous outcomes for U.S. households, like auto repossessions and home foreclosures, have begun to climb.” (“With Car Repossessions And Home Foreclosures Rising, Some Americans Are Living On A Financial Cliff,” NBC News, 4/29/2023)

“[H]ome foreclosure filings have begun to surge. According to data from ATTOM, a property analytics company, U.S. foreclosure filings totaled 95,712 in the first quarter of 2023. That's 6% higher than in the previous quarter and 22% higher than a year ago. March alone saw 36,617 U.S. properties in foreclosure, a 20% increase compared to February and 10% higher than a year ago. It was the 23rd consecutive month with a year-over-year increase in foreclosure activity.” (“With Car Repossessions And Home Foreclosures Rising, Some Americans Are Living On A Financial Cliff,” NBC News, 4/29/2023)

Housing Costs Continue To Fuel Inflation, While Higher Mortgage Rates Are Discouraging Sellers, Further Driving Up Housing Prices For Both Buyers And Renters

“Housing costs continue to be the latest driver month to month. Rent was up 0.6 percent in April compared with March and is not expected to cool off until the number of homes available significantly increases or until cooling in the rest of the housing market finally trickles down to leases. Economists are not expecting that to happen in the near term.” (The Washington Post, 5/10/2023)

“The housing market typically comes to life in spring, when buyers emerge in the warmer weather. This year, the market appears stuck in a deep freeze, and the biggest culprit is a lack of sellers, housing experts say. There is interest among buyers … but the number of homes for sale is low. The mismatch is caused in part by homeowners who are inclined to sell but are sitting on the sidelines, scared off by the steep prices and mortgage rates that they would face as buyers. More than three-quarters of sellers in a recent survey by Realtor.com said they felt ‘locked in’ to their home by their own low mortgage rate. More than half said they planned to wait until rates fell before putting their homes on the market.” (“Home Buyers Are Eager but Sellers Are Scarce, Creating ‘Real Gridlock,’” The New York Times, 4/29/2023)

  • “A stalemate has mired the housing market, when it should be more robust. Sales of existing homes in March were down 22 percent from the year before, according to the National Association of Realtors…. ‘We are in a real gridlock situation,’ said Robert Frick, corporate economist at the Navy Federal Credit Union. ‘It’s going to be a tortuous process to unfreeze the market and take a long time to get back to a normal supply-and-demand situation.’” (“Home Buyers Are Eager but Sellers Are Scarce, Creating ‘Real Gridlock,’” The New York Times, 4/29/2023)
  • “Fewer homes for sale mean more competition among buyers, which leads to bidding wars and drives up prices. Although down from recent highs, the average price of a house remains about 40 percent higher than at the beginning of 2020, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index, which measures prices across the nation. ‘Everybody is a little surprised at the level of price resilience,’ said Todd Teta, chief product and technology officer for Attom Data Solutions, a real estate analytics firm.” (“Home Buyers Are Eager but Sellers Are Scarce, Creating ‘Real Gridlock,’” The New York Times, 4/29/2023)

“As uncertainty looms in the housing market, with consecutive Fed interest rate hikes, elevated mortgage rates and still-high home prices, potential homebuyers are considering the single-family rental market, says Brandon Lwowski, director of research at HouseCanary. ‘Demand for those rentals, on the single-family detached side, is outpacing the inventory,’ he says. ‘So we're still seeing this rise in prices.’” (“Single Family Homes For Rent Are Getting More Expensive. Here's Where Prices Are Going Up,” USA Today, 5/07/2023)

  • “[S]ingle-family monthly rental rates increased from $2,212 to $2,330 at the close of the first quarter of 2023 (last week of March) compared with the same period in 2022, a 5.3% increase…. At the close of the quarter, the median national rent for single-family detached rental was $2,395, a 20% increase since the same period in 2021 and a 6% increase since the same period in 2022…. As the Federal Reserve continues to raise rates, rental prices are still not expected to cool despite the increased number of listings, Lwowski says.” (“Single Family Homes For Rent Are Getting More Expensive. Here's Where Prices Are Going Up,” USA Today, 5/07/2023)

American Families ‘Experienced The Largest Annual Percentage Increase In Grocery Food Prices Since The 1980s’ And Some Are Increasingly Turning To ‘Installment Loans To Pay For Everyday Items Like Groceries’

“Between August 2021 and August 2022, shoppers experienced the largest annual percentage increase in grocery food prices since the 1980s…. The U.S. Government Accountability Office’s Food Prices: Information on Trends, Factors and Federal Roles revealed for a year the increase was around 11%.” (“Grocery Food Prices Increase The Most Since The 1980s: Report,” Supermarket News, 4/10/2023)

“US consumers are increasingly using … installment loans to pay for everyday items like groceries, highlighting the financial pain wrought by the worst inflation outbreak in four decades. Grocery prices jumped 8.4% in the year through March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Almost half of Americans have used BNPL apps, and of those, about 1 in 5 rely on such apps to buy groceries, according to a recent survey from LendingTree Inc. Some 27% of users use the loans as a bridge to their next paycheck.” (“Americans Using Buy Now, Pay Later for Food Risk ‘Cycle of Debt,’” Bloomberg News, 4/18/2023)

There’s No Relief In Sight For High Electricity Bills

“Economists say consumers should expect their electric bills to continue rising at a fast pace as liquified natural gas, a key fuel for generating electricity, remains in short supply in the U.S. and companies' operating costs rise. Average U.S. electricity prices could rise at a 10% clip again this year and possibly next, predicts Mark Wolfe, director of the National Energy Assistance Directors Association … ‘It’s fair to say, in aggregate, we’ll see upward pressure for 2023 on the cost consumers pay for electricity,’ said Dallas Federal Reserve economist Jesse Thompson.” (USA Today, 1/24/2023)

And Gasoline Prices Could Spike To $5 Per Gallon Again This Summer

“U.S. motorists face a repeat of last summer's high gasoline prices, analysts warned [in March], with fuel stockpiles heading towards multi-year lows ahead of the peak summer driving season that begins in [May]…. ‘We are in danger of going below 200 million barrels of gasoline storage for the first time in many years,’ said Robert Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho. Rising travel coupled with declining inventories could lift retail prices again this year, said Yawger, with last summer's $5 a gallon a possibility again.” (“Falling US Gasoline Stockpiles Signal A Repeat Of Last Summer's High Prices,” Reuters, 3/22/2023)



Related Issues: Economy, Small Business, Nominations, Inflation