Americans are feeling financial pressure from inflation as the cost of goods such as food and gasoline have risen during the first year of the Biden administration. As the public grows increasingly concerned over the impact of inflation on day to day living, President Biden and his team have been attempting to convey that inflation is transitory and will soon be a thing of the past. Furthermore, the White House and its allies are arguing that the massive ‘Build Back Better’ spending bill will reduce inflation should it be passed into law.
In a press briefing on October 8, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki stated, “These inflation rises will be transitory, that they will come back down next year.”
The view that inflation is transitory has also been pushed by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers Cecilia Rouse, and President Joe Biden. In a July 19 press conference, Biden went so far as to say, “There is nobody suggesting there is unchecked inflation on the way. No serious economist.”
In an effort to sell the ‘Build Back Better’ agenda to both Congress and the American people, one of the Biden administration’s go-to talking points has been that passage of this bill, despite its massive price tag, would reduce inflation. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg has made this argument in multiple televised interviews. In an October interview on CNBC, Buttigieg said, “The President’s Build Back Better agenda as a whole will ease some of that inflationary pressure.” Earlier that month, Buttigieg told CNN’s Jake Tapper, “The overall Build Back Better vision is designed to reduce inflationary pressures.”
Another talking point that has been used in an attempt to generate support for Biden’s legislative agenda is that ‘17 Nobel laureates in economics’ claim the passage of both Build Back Better and the infrastructure bill would reduce inflation. Cedric Richmond, a Senior Adviser to Biden, used this line during a Fox News interview stating, “17 nobel laureate economists said that if we pass both of these plans we would reduce inflation.” Similar remarks citing this group of Nobel laureates have been made by Biden, Psaki, White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.
Other noteworthy remarks from the Biden administration related to inflation include Yellen in October saying that “Monthly rates of inflation have already fallen substantially,” and this past week Biden remarking, “Wages have gone up higher, faster than inflation.”
Biden and his team seem to believe they can convince the American people that any current inflationary pressure is transitory and will not persist into 2022 and beyond. Will this public relations strategy work, and will the passage of Biden’s legislative agenda actually help get inflation under control? Democrats hope so, because if the prices of food, gasoline, and other household items continue to rise well into 2022, not only will the Biden administration have egg on its face, but it will have also handed Republicans a gift of an issue to slam Democrats over for the 2022 midterm elections.