Biden Says Nation Is ‘Making Progress’ On Inflation. Here’s What America Thinks.

 An increasingly large majority of Americans say that inflation continues to strain their household budgets, a revelation that comes even as President Joe Biden and senior White House officials insist that the nation is “making progress” as inflation has decreased in recent months.

Some 61% of respondents to an April 2023 survey released by Gallup this week concurred that “recent price increases” have caused “financial hardship” for themselves and their households. The share of respondents answering in the affirmative continued to rise from 56% in August 2022, 49% in January 2022, and 45% in November 2021.

Roughly 15% of respondents in April 2023 additionally said that the hardship from elevated inflation has been “severe” and affects their ability to maintain a consistent standard of living. “As has been the case for the past two years, lower-income Americans report greater hardship from inflation than those in higher income brackets,” Gallup noted.

Another survey from Gallup showed that the “high cost of living” is the “most important financial problem” facing the plurality of American families: 35% referenced inflation, 11% referenced costs for owning or renting a home, 9% referenced excess debt, and 7% referenced low wages.

The surveys were conducted as headline inflation fell below 5% last month, marking a continued decline from the inflation rates exceeding 9% last summer. Price increases for food, shelter, and other central components of household budgets, on the other hand, still remain well above the 5% overall level.

The latest inflation data comes as officials at the Federal Reserve increased the target federal funds rate in an effort to slow price level increases, a policy regime that raises the cost of borrowing funds for consumers and businesses, thereby lowering inflation but dampening overall economic activity. Federal Reserve policymakers introduced a quarter-point rate hike earlier this month, continuing a slowdown from previous rate hikes and reflecting caution as the financial sector reels from the collapse of three medium-sized banks.

President Joe Biden has meanwhile faced criticism for repeated assertions that his policies, such as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, are responsible for the somewhat less severe headline inflation levels. Rates charted last month are still between three and four times higher than those seen before he assumed office in January 2021, as well as more than double the 2% benchmark that the Federal Reserve has maintained for decades.

“We are making progress in the fight against inflation,” he commented in one statement released last month. “The fight against inflation isn’t over, and every day my administration is working to give families more breathing room.” 

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre issued similar remarks last week and contended that House Republicans, who have refused to endorse an increase in the debt ceiling until meaningful federal budget reforms are enacted, could induce the “single biggest threat to our economy” if the nation defaults on obligations without an amendment to the debt limit.

Jean-Pierre has also claimed that Americans are saving money on gasoline under the administration’s energy policies, which broadly center on discouraging fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas while mandating a transition toward renewable power sources. Prices at the pump, as with overall inflation, have declined from last summer but remain considerably higher from the start of the commander-in-chief’s inauguration.

Biden Says Nation Is ‘Making Progress’ On Inflation. Here’s What America Thinks. Biden Says Nation Is ‘Making Progress’ On Inflation. Here’s What America Thinks. Reviewed by Your Destination on May 18, 2023 Rating: 5

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