by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Exactly one year ago, … on July 19, 2021, President Joe Biden delivered a momentous address on the state of the U.S. economy. The speech, in retrospect, was a chilling portent of the economic calamity that has befallen this great country as a result of Biden’s failed leadership.
Biden’s remarks came several months after Democrats rammed through the $1.9 trillion package known as the American Rescue Plan. Some experts had warned that injecting so much money into the economy could lead to runaway inflation. The White House scoffed at such concerns. At the time of Biden’s speech, prices were already beginning to rise. The president took the opportunity to tell Americans to stop complaining.
“As our economy has come roaring back, we’ve seen some price increases,” Biden said. “Some folks have raised worries that this could be a sign of persistent inflation, but that’s not our view. Our experts believe, and the data shows, that most of the price increases we’ve seen were expected and [are] expected to be temporary.”
They weren’t. Prices have steadily increased since the summer of 2021. The inflation rate went from 5.4 percent in July 2021 to 7.5 percent in January 2022. Last month it surpassed 9 percent, the highest inflation rate since November 1981. Gas prices have soared to record highs.
In his speech one year ago, Biden explained that while inflation wasn’t a serious problem at the time, his administration was prepared to act if necessary. “Now, I want to be clear,” he said. “My administration understands that if we were to ever experience unchecked inflation over the long term, that would pose real challenges to our economy. So while we’re confident that isn’t what we are seeing today, we’re going to remain vigilant about any response that is needed.”