The Washington Post‘s editorial board isn’t buying President Biden’s pretense that our inflation problem is being driven by corporate greed. In an editorial this afternoon, the paper noted bluntly that “President Biden is facing mounting criticism for inflation’s rise to its highest level since 1982,” before lamenting that, “unfortunately, the White House’s latest response is to blame greedy businesses”:
Economists across the political spectrum are rightly calling out the White House for this foolishness. Even some within the White House are questioning this approach, The Post reports.
Inflation, which was relatively low for years, did not suddenly rise in recent months because businesses decided now was the ideal time to squeeze their customers. What actually happened is that demand soared for many products as the economy recovered. Often, there were not enough products to meet it, thanks to supply chain hiccups and labor shortages, so prices went up. In a surprise to many, consumers kept buying goods such as cars and washing machines even at higher prices.
This is correct. And, worse still for Biden, that is partly his fault:
Poll after poll shows Americans are upset about rising prices, but few people are curtailing their spending — so far. Many families were able to save money during the pandemic since they were not traveling or eating out as much. And the government’s generous stimulus checks, unemployment aid and enhanced tax credits also helped boost incomes, especially for lower-income households.
The Post doesn’t mention it explicitly, but what is described as Biden’s “foolishness” is properly understood as Elizabeth Warren’s foolishness. It was Warren who started this preposterous trend of casting inflation as a corporate plot, and Warren who encouraged the White House to follow suit. Biden, the fool, has merely taken the bait and run with it.