With inflation now at a 40-year high, Americans are increasingly concerned about being able to afford gas and groceries, and President Biden is increasingly concerned about the fact that many of those Americans blame him for the situation. Prices rose by 8.5% from March 2021 to March 2022, continuing a trend that accelerated when Biden took office and that has now become a very noticeable reality for most of the country.
Inflation still accelerating
The White House initially underestimated the threat of inflation, which the Federal Reserve hoped would be only a temporary trend.
Instead, inflation has been picking up speed since Biden took office and every month of 2022 so far has seen a larger jump than the last, with March being the worst by far.
The White House would still like to convince Americans that the issue will settle down on its own, but there are signs of real panic as Democrats realize that they have a major problem on their hands before the midterm elections.
Biden and his allies have switched from blaming Covid-19 to blaming Vladimir Putin and Russia; that deflection will not be especially convincing to Americans who are already worried.
The problem with blaming purely the pandemic was that inflation started to skyrocket only after Biden took office, while it was not such a pressing concern under Trump.
Meanwhile, inflation was already a very visible issue before Putin began his invasion, prompting the subsequent wave of sanctions and economic uncertainty.
Bad news for Democrats
These crises are undoubtedly exacerbating the issue and contributing to inflation, but the Biden administration has obviously been intimately involved in the process.
The president always takes the credit and the blame for the state of the economy and it is readily apparent that the inflation problem emerged during the first year of the Biden administration.
This particular economic issue is one that everyone will intimately feel. Vague claims of economic growth mean little to voters who are struggling to pay for groceries.
Republicans for now are more likely to report that inflation is a major concern in their lives, but Democrats may find it hard to ignore if prices continue to rise.
It is a complex issue that will require a complex solution; Americans may not know the details of what has caused the surge in prices, but many will be very skeptical about Biden’s ability to solve the problem.
If it continues to get worse there is a good chance that inflation will become the single biggest issue in the midterm elections. The Democrats can only pray for a miracle if that happens.