President Biden is starting to draw comparisons to a previous Democratic president who also wrestled with inflation, gas lines and unrest in the Middle East.
Sen. Charles Grassley, Iowa Republican, who was elected to the House in 1974, blamed Wednesday the spike in consumer prices on the Biden administration‘s trillions in stimulus spending, calling it reminiscent of the runaway inflation under President Jimmy Carter, who served from 1977-81.
“When you have $6 trillion suggested to be spent, and $2 trillion already going out to the economy, this is going to feed the fires of inflation,” said Mr. Grassley on Fox News’ “Your World.”
He referenced the “long lines, people fighting at the pumps to get in, and then you’ve got the prospect of 5% inflation now.”
“I remember 17% inflation and long lines and Israel being in trouble in the Carter years, and we don’t want to go back to the Carter years,” Mr. Grassley said. “We want to go forward.”
The stock market was hit by a sell-off Wednesday as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that U.S. consumer prices jumped by 0.8% in April, and 4.2% from April 2020, the biggest increase since the 2008 financial crisis.
“Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 4.2 percent before seasonal adjustment,” said the Consumer Price Index Summary. “This is the largest 12-month increase since a 4.9-percent increase for the period ending September 2008.”
Mr. Grassley said that defeating inflation, which hits low- and middle-income earners the hardest, isn’t easy.
“We’re going to be fighting inflation in this election just like it was when I was first elected to Congress in the 1970s,” Mr. Grassley said. “I was an inflation-fighter in my campaign, and it took six years to get it under control.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Tuesday that the administration “takes the possibility of inflation quite seriously,” while some economists blamed the price spike on the post-pandemic surge in demand for products as the economy reopens and constrained supply chain.
Mr. Grassley pointed out that the pre-pandemic economy enjoyed record-low unemployment for Black Americans and other minority groups.
“And when you have a good thing like that going for you, you shouldn’t screw it up with spending $6 trillion in the first 100 days of a new presidency,” he said.