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Biden’s Empty Inflation Rhetoric

With US consumer prices growing at their fastest pace in four decades, inflation has become the single-most important economic policy issue. But you wouldn't know it from watching the Biden administration, which has maintained most Trump-era tariffs and other measures driving up prices.

WASHINGTON, DC – In response to surging prices, US President Joe Biden declared this month that “fighting inflation” is his “top economic priority.” He promises that his administration “will continue to do everything we can to lower prices for the American people.” Yet notwithstanding such statements of commitment, Biden has refused to lift the Trump administration’s tariffs on goods imported from China.

Consumer prices are growing at their fastest rate in four decades. In May alone, the Consumer Price Index increased by 1%, putting it 8.6% above its level one year before. And the problem is not just rising food and energy prices. Although core inflation, which excludes those factors, is not accelerating, it is at a high level and not declining, indicating that inflation is entrenched throughout the economy.

By stimulating consumer demand well above the economy’s productive capacity, the Biden administration’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package, passed in March 2021, contributed to the sharp rise in consumer prices. Now, the task of shepherding the economy back to an environment of low, stable inflation falls largely to the US Federal Reserve.