Biden officials admit inflation is a problem, blame COVID, Ukraine war
Biden administration officials acknowledged Sunday that Americans are suffering from high inflation — but they continued to blame supply chain problems for the Covid-19 virus, oil company greed, and the war in Ukraine.
Inflation is a problem. I’ll give it to you, and we’ll put it under control because we’ll stick to it until we do,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo He said on “State of the Union” on CNN.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg added on ABC News’ This Week, “Well, look, the first thing is realizing that this is the real challenge that we all face, that families are feeling this pain and that we act on it he-she.”
Their comments come just days after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen admitted that the administration was “wrong” last year when it thought inflation would be a “transient” problem that would soon pass.
Yellen and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell both repeated the “temporary” claim even though inflation was rising to 40-year highs.
“I think I was wrong at the time about the path inflation would take,” Yellen said on Tuesday. “There have been unexpected and major shocks to the economy that boosted energy and food prices, and supply bottlenecks that have impacted our economy badly that I didn’t fully understand at the time.”
Inflation, which hit 8.3% in April, is high on Americans’ minds and is becoming a hot issue in the upcoming midterm elections, as Democrats’ control of Congress is at stake.
80% of Americans say inflation is an important factor in how they vote in November, while 74% say gas prices, near $5 a gallon, are key, according to an ABC News/Ipsos poll.
Both Raimundo and Buttigieg said the Biden administration is striving to control inflation.
“This is what I know: President Biden gets up every day and goes to bed every night and thinks, ‘What can we do to reduce inflation?'” Anyone who presents him with a good idea that he thinks will help American families, she said, is open to doing so.
Earlier in the interview, Raimondo acknowledged that Americans were “struggling,” but also said: “I don’t think anyone predicted Putin’s war in Ukraine or various other things that were not expected.
“The truth is that the reason for this inflation is the supply chain problems caused by COVID that we are still struggling with. Putin’s war has driven up food and gas prices… We can’t deny it. We know Americans are struggling and demanding changes.”
Buttigieg also said inflation is the president’s top priority.
“But we also know that the price of gasoline is not determined by a disk in the Oval Office,” he said. “And when an oil company decides, hour by hour, how much they will charge you for a gallon of gas, they don’t call management to ask what they should do; they do it based on their goal of maximizing their profits,” Buttigieg said.
“It was so amazing now to see these oil companies, which are almost ridiculously profitable, and hear these oil executives in the records talk about how they are not going to increase production. Why are they? They are doing a great job now,” the transport minister continued. .
Raimondo also rejected the argument made by some Republicans that the president’s US bailout passed last year flooded the economy with cash and created higher prices.
“I shudder when I think… What are we going to live with now if we don’t have the American bailout. Remember, that was the money for vaccination, which actually allowed us to get everyone back to work. This was the money for emergency rent relief.”