President Joe Biden declared Friday that he takes no responsibility for the inflation crisis that unfolded under his watch.
Following a speech about the economy and a glowing January jobs report, one reporter managed to ask Biden whether, regarding the inflation crisis that has plagued Americans for more than a year, the buck stops with him.
"Do you take any blame for inflation, Mr. President?" the reporter asked.
"No," Biden responded.
When the reporter pressed him for his reason, Biden replied, "Because it was already there when I got here, man."
"Remember what the economy was like when I got here? Jobs were hemorrhaging. Inflation was rising. We weren’t manufacturing a damn thing here. We were in real economic difficulty. That's why I don't," he added, clearly annoyed by the question.
The narrative may be convenient for Biden, but it's simply not true.
When Biden took office in January 2021, inflation registered between 1.4% to 1.7%, below the Federal Reserve's target rate of 2%. Inflation began increasing in March 2021, ironically the same month that Biden signed his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 economic stimulus into law. Inflation peaked in June 2022 at 9.1%, a rate not seen in more than 40 years.
Inflation had previously not increased above 3% since 2011 when Barack Obama was president. Inflation remains, according to the latest data, above 6%.
Not only was inflation not an existing problem when Biden took office, but many economists believe that Biden's COVID stimulus overheated the economy, a fact even the New York Times admitted last year.
The stimulus-related overheating thus explains why the U.S. experienced disproportionately high inflation last year compared to other developed nations, according to economists at the San Francisco Federal Reserve.
"Since the first half of 2021, U.S. inflation has increasingly outpaced inflation in other developed countries," the economists said. "Estimates suggest that fiscal support measures designed to counteract the severity of the pandemic’s economic effect may have contributed to this divergence by raising inflation about 3 percentage points by the end of 2021."
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