Inflation remains on the rise as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported consumer prices hit a 40-year high. The agency released a statement pointing out that consumer prices rose to 8.6 percent in the past 12-months, with May marking the fastest rate of growth since 1981.
As reported by the Associated Press, the increase in prices adds to the economic burden felt by many families and households around the country. Black households are one of the groups hardest hit in moments like this, as they tend to spend a larger share of their income on necessary goods.
In a statement, President Biden called the fight against inflation his top economic concern. The president laid rising domestic prices at Putin’s feet in a statement.
“Putin’s Price Hike hit hard in May here and around the world: high gas prices at the pump, energy, and food prices accounted for around half of the monthly price increases, and gas pump prices are up by $2 a gallon in many places since Russian troops began to threaten Ukraine,” Biden said.
He also called for Congress to act on legislation that would cut energy costs and make prescription drugs more affordable. The president also reiterated a call to fix the tax code so that wealthy Americans and corporations paid their fair share.
“I am so sick and tired of trickle-down economics,” the president said in remarks at the Port of Los Angeles.
Economist Cecilia Rouse, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, spoke with NewsOne about record inflation levels and rising costs. She put the historic inflation in terms of the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s war against Ukraine. It’s a challenge many countries are facing, Rouse explained.
“This is why the president, who very much understands the pain that and the challenge inflation brings to everyday Americans, is focused on this,” she said. “It’s why he wants to work with Congress to reduce costs of important expenditures that households make in terms of childcare, prescription drugs, energy, price, energy costs.”
Organizations like the Economic Policy Initiative and Groundwork Collaborative have pointed to the need to rein in excessive corporate profits while people struggle. A recent post from the Economic Policy Institute debunked the top five myths being pushed about inflation, including that larger corporate profit margins have nothing to do with inflation. The post also highlighted how investing in families could restrain inflation, not worsen it.
“While families are feeling the sting of soaring energy costs, oil and gas companies are cheering the nearly $100 billion in profits they’ve already made this year off families’ pain at the pump,” said Groundwork’s Chief Economist Dr. Rakeen Mabud. “It’s past time for Congress to pass an excess profits tax to stop the outrageous war profiteering by Big Oil.”
Rouse noted deficit reduction was another way to address inflation, pointing to the president’s efforts since taking office. She also said the resilience of the economy combined with a strong labor market, puts the country in a good place to address the issues.
“Fundamentally, this is us getting our supply back on track, getting our consumption patterns regulated to generate some moderation in prices,” Rouse said. “[President Biden] has put forward a number of proposals. He urges Congress to work with him to try to address these challenges.”