On Thursday, Joe Biden gave a speech in Culpeper County, Virginia, just ahead of Friday’s January inflation numbers. Aware of the impending bad news, he said that surging consumer prices are “necessities” and told everyone to maintain “peace of mind” while inflation is hitting numbers not seen since the early 80s with no end in sight.
Biden’s remarks came from a stage displaying signs promoting his spending bonanza languishing on life support. The signs read “Build Back Better: Lowering Costs for Families.”
Biden said that he knows food costs are up and said, “we’re working to bring them down.” He appeared to be attempting to bolster his credibility not by offering any actual actions his Administration is taking but by saying that he “grew up in a family where the price at the pump went up, you felt it.” As a result, he said he “understands,” even though he has been living the life of a wealthy Washington politician for a half-century.
Meanwhile, consumer confidence fell to an 11-year low amid the inflation ordinary Americans feel. The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index fell in last week’s report to 61.7, down from the January number of 67.2. Economists had predicted the index would come in at 67.5.
The survey’s chief economist, Richard Curtin, issued a statement calling the decrease from last month’s number “stunning.” He said that falling consumer confidence is due to “weakening personal financial prospects,” and rising inflation is the single most significant contributing factor.
Almost half of the consumers involved in compiling the index said they expect their incomes adjusted for inflation to decline in the coming year.
The inflation numbers released by the Labor Department show the consumer price index rose in January by 7.5 percent over the January 2021 level. That marks the largest year-over-year increase since February 1982, when consumer prices were up 7.6 percent.
The department’s index of “core prices,” which excludes more volatile food and energy costs, came in at 6 percent, up sharply from 5.5 percent the month before. The core price index stood at the highest year-over-year number since August 1982.