Following the release of August’s consumer price index report, Washington Post columnist Henry Olsen said that the numbers could be “bad political news” for Democrats heading into the midterms, and may curtail their chances in 2024.
Inflation rose 8.3% in August from a year ago, according to the Tuesday report. Later that day, the Biden administration held a celebration on the White House lawn focusing on the Democrat-passed Inflation Reduction Act
Despite the party’s self-congratulations, the federal government is likely to hike interest rates even further. Such a move may be good for cutting grocery costs, but bad for Democrats as voters head to the ballots, Olsen claimed.
The columnist urged readers not to be fooled by the .1% increase from July to August, since food prices have increased 13.5% since the same time last year. That means that the money saved on decreasing gas prices isn’t being saved, but simply “goes out the door” to pay for groceries.
“President Biden will rightly tout falling gas prices as an accomplishment. But it will be hard to argue that inflation is under control when prices for eggs, a family staple, are up by almost 40 percent in the past year,” Olsen wrote. “Democrats might still do better than expected in the midterms, but they will not be able to wish away the inflation issue before votes are cast.”
Olsen continued on, claiming the bad news for Democrats is likely to get worse next year, anticipating a rise in the U.S. unemployment rate and the serious possibility of a “moderate to steep” recession.
This poses “huge political risks” for the Biden administration, according to Olsen, who also slammed Biden and the Fed for not taking rising prices seriously, thus delaying action.
“That might have delayed the political impact of unemployment until after the midterms (although inflation’s persistence will not be good for Democrats), but it also will force Biden to decide whether to run for re-election as job losses pile up and economic news gets worse,” Olsen added.
The New York Times, The Washington Post and more reported on Tuesday that the August inflation numbers remained “stubbornly high” despite falling gas prices, as the price of groceries climbed 0.7%.
Economists predicted inflation would decrease between July and August, but it rose 0.1% on a monthly basis.
Biden released a statement after the inflation numbers were released, claiming “overall, prices have been essentially flat in our country these last two months.” He added that there was more work to be done and “some price increases” slowed “from the month before at the grocery store.” Food prices rose 11.4% from last year, according to the report, the highest increase since 1979.
Fox News’ Hanna Panreck contributed to this report.