President Joe Biden was just three minutes into his half-hour address at the Port of Baltimore earlier this month when he acknowledged the toll that soaring inflation is inflicting on many Americans, according to a report by USA Today.
Calling rising prices “one of the most pressing economic concerns of the American people,” Biden said the pain that many Americans are feeling is real.
“Everything from a gallon of gas to a loaf of bread costs more, and it’s worrisome,” he said as an orange sunset over the harbor. “Even though wages are going up, we still face challenges, and we have to tackle them. We have to tackle them head-on.”
In reality, economists warn, there’s not much Biden can do to tame inflation.
“There’s no slam-dunk solution,” said Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.
Biden has since taken several steps that his administration hopes will ease gas prices, including the announcement that he is releasing 50 million barrels of oil from the nation’s emergency stockpile. He also has urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate what he called “mounting evidence of anti-consumer behavior by oil and gas companies.”
Just hours before Biden spoke in Baltimore, the federal government reported that inflation has surged over the past 12 months as the U.S. economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. The consumer price index increased by 0.9% in October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said, leaving prices 6.2% higher than a year earlier. It’s the largest 12-month increase since 1990.
Economists attribute the rise in consumer prices over the past year to several factors, including supply chain breakdowns, labor shortages and a sudden burst of spending after widespread lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic.