President Joe Biden said Wednesday that part of the reason for high inflation is that Americans “have more money” because of his administration’s COVID-19 stimulus checks. He also blamed the issue on the ongoing supply chain crisis and a subsequent demand for goods.
The Labor Department announced Wednesday morning that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) rose 0.9% for the month of October and 6.2% throughout the year, making it the highest rate in three decades. The announcement followed the passage of Biden’s $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package and also comes amid the administration’s push for his $1.75 trillion social spending package to pass Congress.
Critics have blamed the government for inflation, arguing that printing more money to help with the COVID-19 pandemic will have long-term consequences. More moderate Democrats, like West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, voiced concerns over the administration’s push to spend money. Biden acknowledged this argument Wednesday, highlighting that “the first major piece of legislation” he passed gave Americans across the country checks for $1,400. (RELATED: Over 60% Of Americans Say Biden’s Policies Are To Blame For Accelerating Inflation)
“And the irony is: People have more money now because of the first major piece of legislation I passed,” Biden said after detailing how global supply chains have helped lower costs for Americans but made the country “more reliant on what happens” around the world.
“You all got checks for $1,400. You got checks for a whole range of things. If you’re a mom and you have kids under the age of 7, you’re getting 300 bucks a month, and if it’s over – over 7 to 17, you’re getting $360 [sic] a month – like wealthy people used to when they’d get back tax returns. It changes people’s lives.”
“But what happens if there’s nothing to buy and you got more money? You compete for getting it there. It creates a real problem,” the president added.
Biden continued on to say that Americans are not only “facing new disruptions to our supplies” but also “experiencing higher demand for goods because wages are up” and “people have money in the bank.”
“And because of the strength of our economic recovery, American families have been able to buy more products,” Biden said. (RELATED: ‘People Are Rightfully Angry’: Rep. Foxx Blames Biden For Surging Inflation From House Floor)
The president said he understands why the country is frustrated by the rising cost of goods and at one point remarked, “Did you ever think you’d be paying this much for a gallon of gas?”
Biden then argued that all will be well moving forward because of how Americans are living.
“They’re not going out to dinner and lunch and going to the local bars because of COVID. So what are they doing? They’re staying home, they’re ordering online, and they’re buying product,” Biden said. “Well, with more people with money buying product and less product to buy, what happens? The supply chain’s the reason, the answer is, ‘you guys,’ I’ll get to that in a minute. But what happens? Prices go up.”
The reason prices are higher, Biden argued, is because of this increase in people buying product combined with the shortages. He said “people have a little more breathing room than” during the heart of the pandemic and suggested this is both good and bad.
“It also means we’ve got higher demand for goods,” Biden said. “At the same time, we’re facing disruptions in the supplies to make those goods. This is a recipe for delays and for higher prices.”