- - Thursday, June 19, 2014

Consumer prices jumped sharply last month, rising more than previously forecast for just about everything we buy, from a gallon of gas to the food we eat.

It’s bad enough that during the past six years Americans have had to suffer from painfully weak economic growth, too few jobs, flat wages and rising taxes, under President Obama’s policies. Now we’re facing rising inflation that economists say will only get worse.

Consumer prices increased at more than a 4 percent annual rate in May, rising for the second month in a row, pushing inflation in the past year to its highest level since 2012, according to the Department of Labor.

Food prices alone rose 0.5 percent in May, the sharpest rise in three years. They’re up by 2.5 percent in just the last 12 months, the fastest in almost two years.

Energy prices were rising at an even faster rate last month, up by 0.9 percent — led by higher electricity rates and gasoline costs. The reason: administration regulatory policies that have pushed up utility costs, stymied oil exploration and blocked completion of the Canadian oil pipeline.

Economics columnist Robert J. Samuelson called the president’s opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico “an act of national insanity.”

Other economists have been equally critical of his oil policies.

Mr. Obama “has not been willing to open up drilling for oil off the Atlantic, Pacific and much of the Gulf coasts. That keeps America dependent on imported oil, and sends consumer dollars abroad instead of creating jobs here,” says University of Maryland business economist Peter Morici.

Certainly, the war in Iraq has been a major factor, too, as the global price of crude oil has shot up in response to the crisis in the Middle East.

Gas prices under this administration’s anti-fossil fuel policies have been rising for sometime and will go higher. The national average price for a gallon of regular climbed to more than $3.66 this week — compared to $1.90 a gallon on the day the president was inaugurated.

This didn’t happen by accident. During Mr. Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, his senior energy adviser, Steven Chu, told The Wall Street Journal, “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”

At that time, the price of gasoline in Europe was about $9 a gallon, and soon after, Mr. Obama made Mr. Chu his energy secretary.

“In the last week, the national average [price of a gallon of regular gasoline] has risen 2 cents per gallon, but in some states the pain at the pump is worse than others,” GasBuddy.com reported this week.

Ohio has seen prices jump to $3.86 a gallon, and Illinois “is bracing for $4 a gallon statewide, with average prices jumping to $3.95 a gallon,” says the website that monitors gas prices around the country. “Few states saw decreases last week.”

Even more shocking is that the government’s core Consumer Price Index, which excludes food and energy costs, rose 0.3 percent last month. That’s the largest increase since August 2011.

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