Democrats and Republicans react to US Department of Labor inflation figures

Figures from the US Department of Labor released on Thursday show inflation worsened slightly in September, with prices on average 8.2% higher than a year earlier. Unsurprisingly, Democrats and Republicans react differently to information.

With less than a month to go until the midterm elections that will determine who controls the congressional agenda for the next two years, each side is trying to spin the latest version of the consumer price index by a way that will help the most or hurt the least.

President Joe Biden acknowledges that inflation is hurting Americans, but said his administration is doing everything it can to get prices under control and said there are signs of improvement.

“Overall, inflation is up 2% over the past three months,” President Biden said at an event in Los Angeles on Thursday. “That’s down from 11% in the previous three months, that’s progress.”

But what Biden calls progress, Republicans call further proof that the nation needs new leadership.

“The policies of this administration continue to fuel inflation,” MP Stéphanie Bice (R-OK5) tweeted on Thursday. “The American people need relief, not failed new policies in Democratic-controlled Washington.”

Senator James Lankford tweeted, “Inflation has been under control for 40 years until Biden takes office and Democrats start spending and cutting off US energy supplies.”

Domestic fossil fuel production, after a slight decline in 2020, has been steadily increasing since and, according to the Energy Information Administration, is on track to reach a record high next year.

The president and Democrats have said the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are to blame for inflation and say they have put the country in as strong a position as expected under the circumstances.

“We’ve created nearly 700,000 manufacturing jobs in the last nine months,” Biden told a cheering crowd. “Companies are investing here in America at a record pace.”

But the bottom line is that inflation remains stubbornly high, despite five interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve so far this year. Even the less volatile consumer goods price index, known as “core” inflation, hit a 40-year high of 6.6%.

“And that really means that even as supply issues start to resolve,” said CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger, “we’re seeing the service side of the economy picking up momentum with respect to the inflation”.

The next release of the Consumer Price Index will be November 10, two days after Election Day.

About Therese Williams

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