That was quite a performance from President Biden today, complete with the usual verbal stumbles– “the number one threat is the strength in, and that strength that we’ve built, is inflation,” “Senator Rick Scott of Wisconsin,” “I know you’ve got to be frustrated, I know, I can taste it,” and so on. The president blamed high inflation on Covid-19 pandemic, and then Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – even though inflation started rising well before the February 24 invasion. He argued that there was no competition in the meat-processing industry, because there are only four major companies. And then he blamed greedy corporations for price-gouging, and added he had “no problem with companies getting and generating reasonable profits.”

And Biden blamed Congressional Republicans, even though they’re the minority party on Capitol Hill.  Biden declared that the GOP wanted to exacerbate the financial pressures on American families by raising taxes on the middle class. “Their plan has made working families poorer,” Biden said, even though the plan he was referring to — Rick Scott’s plan, which has been criticized by quite a few right-of-center economic thinkers, including our Dominic Pino —  has not been enacted.

The protest comes after pro-abortion group Ruth Sent Us posted what it claims are the home addresses of the Court’s six conservative justices online.
Biden insisted there are certain factors that absolutely could not be blamed for inflation, and those were him, his policies, and increased federal spending putting more money into the economy. “Think about what they say! The vast majority of the… of the, uh, uh, of the economists… think that this is going to be a real tough problem to solve… but it’s not because of… spending. We’ve brought down the deficit! The bottom line is, how much does America owe? How much in the hole are we going? We’re reducing that.” (Once again, the president hopes everyone hears the words “we have reduced the deficit” – which is how much federal expenditures exceed revenue — and thinks it means “we have reduced the debt” – which is the total amount the federal government owes, cumulatively.)

Oh, and the president surprised a few people by not saying anything about the ongoing national shortage of infant formula.

Why did the president come out, metaphorical guns blazing, on the issue of inflation today? Because tomorrow the Consumer Price Index numbers for April get released, and as you would expect, they’re going to be terrible.

Most banks think tomorrow’s CPI inflation number will be 8.1 percent, although a few say 8.2 percent or 8.3 percent, and one or two think 8 percent or even 7.9 percent. The number for March was 8.5 percent, so technically those projected numbers would represent a very slight improvement, but this would represent a decline from the worst number in about forty years to likely the second-worst or third-worst number in forty years.

Tomorrow will likely bring some attempted-spin headlines of “New Numbers Show Inflation Improving” or “Inflation Slowing Down” but anyone who’s going out and buying gas, groceries, cars, homes, or any other large purchase can tell that inflation is still rampaging through the American economy, smashing the purchasing power of almost every American. The CPI number for May is likely to be really bad, too. AAA announced the highest-ever recorded national average price for a gallon of gas is… today, at $4.37.

The monthly Consumer Price Index update release day is going to be a bad one for the administration, every month from now until the midterms — and probably some time after that, too. The only thing Joe Biden can do is get in front of it and insist that it’s everyone’s fault except his.

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