News & Politics

Not 'Transitory': Team Biden Was Wrong All Year on Inflation

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

There are almost 335 million Americans and very, very few of them still think that inflation is transitory. Is President Joe Biden one?

After Wednesday’s frightening economic report on consumer prices, I hope not.

One important Democrat named Joe understands:

If the Biden administration would ever hold someone accountable for failures, Larry Summers — or someone under the age of 70 with a clue who can coherently communicate — should replace Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen tomorrow.

The former treasury secretary under Bill Clinton and member of Barack Obama’s National Economic Council won his debate with the White House over inflation.

Let’s review the debacle.

Only a fortnight into his term, Biden’s nearly $2 trillion stimulus bill already was rolling through Congress, when Summers, a Democrat, sounded the alarm in the Washington Post about profligate spending:

“While there are enormous uncertainties, there is a chance that macroeconomic stimulus on a scale closer to World War II levels than normal recession levels will set off inflationary pressures of a kind we have not seen in a generation, with consequences for the value of the dollar and financial stability. This will be manageable if monetary and fiscal policy can be rapidly adjusted to address the problem. But given the commitments the Fed has made, administration officials’ dismissal of even the possibility of inflation, and the difficulties in mobilizing congressional support for tax increases or spending cuts, there is the risk of inflation expectations rising sharply. Stimulus measures of the magnitude contemplated are steps into the unknown.”

The reaction from the White House was as swift as it was fierce. Top staff rushed to say that Summers was “flat-out wrong,” with arrogant economic adviser Jared Bernstein repeating the worst cliché of “the risks of doing too little are far greater than the risks of going big.”

Team Biden continued to downplay or ignore inflation throughout the spring and summer.

“We think the likeliest outlook over the next several months is for inflation to rise modestly and to fade back to a lower pace thereafter,” Bernstein wrote at one point.

The following month, when asked about inflation concerns, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said, “Our economists have conveyed that they feel that the impact of our proposals will be transitory.”

Bernstein, Psaki, and the rest, as usual, were wrong. So was our media, but at least some of them now confess to it.

About two months ago, with inflation showing no signs of diminishing, and polls showing that voters wanted Biden to focus on rising prices, the president finally shifted his message — to more spending.

He currently argues that his bloated infrastructure packages are actually designed to fight inflation.

Related: Biden Blames the Country’s Mood on Problems His Administration Created

The Labor Department announced this week that the consumer price index — items ranging from gasoline and health care to groceries and rent — rose over 6% from a year ago. Wednesday it was confirmed that we are suffering through the nation’s highest annual inflation rate since November 1990.

Yet Biden never admits he’s wrong. In a tone-deaf statement Wednesday morning, he again tried to spin the horrible news and, like a typical Democrat, use a crisis for political gain.

“Going forward, it is important that Congress pass my Build Back Better plan, which is fully paid for and does not add to the debt, and will get more Americans working by reducing the cost of child care and elder care, and ….”

I’d never have guessed the solution to what ails the country is to give Biden what he wanted all along! A major coincidence. But based on prior results, we should pass.