by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Inflation concerns continue to hamper President Joe Biden and his economic agenda, even as the White House is coming off one of its most successful weeks of his first year in office.
The consumer price index for October clocked in at 6.2%, four-tenths of a point above expectations and the highest rate the country has seen in three decades . Meanwhile, new polling indicates that concern over rising prices in nearly every domestic sector is souring public opinion on the Build Back Better proposal, Biden’s nearly $2 trillion social spending bill that just passed the House this past Friday.
The November dataset from I&I/TIPP found that 84% of respondents think that “over the next year prices for gasoline, food, and other household products” would continue to increase. Additionally, nearly half of all respondents, 48%, expected prices in 2022 to be “much higher” than the current levels.
Furthermore, a poll published Monday from Politico and Morning Consult showed that 43% of respondents believed the budget reconciliation proposal will specifically increase inflation, compared to just 26% who believe it will slow or reverse the inflationary run. The proposals themselves remain largely popular, with 49% saying they supported the bill in its current form.
Inflation hawks have sounded the alarm on Biden’s economic agenda since before he entered office, and when some supply chain issues proved over the summer to be less “transitory” than the administration previously asserted, White House officials did change slightly in publicly addressing the trend.
Yet these new signals, which come as Democrats must wrestle with centrist holdouts such as Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia to enact the reconciliation plan, have forced the Biden administration to draft new attacks against the public perception of rising prices.
The Washington Post reported over the weekend that the White House could begin publicly pressuring large companies for their role in passing along rising costs to consumers.