Vittert: Biden has no reason to celebrate inflation numbers

On Balance with Leland Vittert

President Joe Biden poses for a photo after speaking about the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 during a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2022. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(NewsNation) — The White House thought today would be their big day.

A massive celebration on the south lawn of the Inflation Reduction Act, with a relaxed President Biden, no jacket, shirt sleeves and sunglasses, celebrating not only the passing of his massive spending bill — but also … an actual reduction of inflation.

Oh, he was in shirt sleeves and celebrating. But it’s not the image they wanted. They got every major cable channel carrying his speech with a little box showing the Dow plunging nearly 4% in its worst day since June. Why? Because inflation is still out of control.

The Inflation Reduction Act passed more than a month ago, but it was August and everybody was on summer vacation and nobody watches TV in August. And the midterms were coming up, so White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain and the communications team got to pick a day, any day, to celebrate their big win.

Why pick Sept. 13? Well, because that’s the day inflation numbers came out, so they would get a twofer.
The Inflation Reduction Act passed and they could celebrate actually reducing inflation. They just needed good numbers, gas prices were coming down. The president promised good things.

Then 8:30 a.m. EST came and the latest data confirmed what we all know … we are paying more for everything.

If in November we look back on a Republican victory, today will be the day it started. Biden’s two months of talking about anything but the economy ended today. We’re guilty of it here, forgetting about inflation, or at least not talking about it as gas prices retreated from summer highs.

It’s back. Well, maybe it never left. It’s ugly and today we learned to look out below.

This morning, August numbers came out and we learned just how much more everything costs. The news is worse than expected. Food at home is up 13.5% in the past year, largest increase since 1979. Rent is up 6.7%, the largest since 1986. Electricity up 15.8%, the largest since 1981. Health insurance rose by 24.3%, that’s the largest increase in a year ever.

But the White House had an event today, a celebration that Ron Klain can’t cancel. All the congressman who voted for the bill need to get their picture with the president. It was 8:30 a.m. EST, the markets close at 4 p.m. the president was speaking at 4 p.m. So it’s time to blame Republicans.

Plus he promised a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, as provided by the Inflation Reduction Act.
What he didn’t talk about is that the real light at the end of the tunnel might be a massive railroad strike on Friday.

About 30% of the nation’s freight moves by rail — chlorine for drinking water, grain to make food, coal for electricity and oil for cars. Life without trains shuts down, quickly, and 60,000 union members say they might walk off the job Friday.

A rail strike would make the baby formula shortage or toilet paper empty shelves of COVID look like the good old days. And it would make inflation at 8.3% look like happy times.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and not of NewsNation.

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