President Biden on Friday blamed economic woes on Russian President Vladimir Putin as US gas and diesel prices hit records per gallon — and Democrats were weighed down by high inflation, rising interest rates and fears of a recession ahead of November’s midterm elections.
“The two challenges that plague most working families are prices at the pump and prices at the grocery store. Both of these challenges were directly exacerbated by Putin’s war in Ukraine,” Biden said in a statement near his vacation home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
“The price of gas has increased by $1.40 since the beginning of the year when Putin began rallying troops on the Ukrainian border,” Biden added.
“This is a Putin price hike. Putin’s war has pushed up food prices because Ukraine and Russia are two of the world’s largest breadbaskets of wheat and corn.
Biden, speaking about the release of new data showing that hiring slowed to 390,000 in May, called Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, which launched on February 24, “the root of the problem.”
The president insisted he was taking steps to lessen the impact of the Russo-Ukrainian war by freeing oil from the national petroleum reserve and allowing gas with 15% ethanol to be sold in the summer when it would normally be due to smog concerns be restricted.
Critics have accused Biden of trying to blame Putin for pump pains while overlooking his own actions over the past year to halt new domestic oil drilling and scrap major pipeline projects.
“Regular: $4.71 Mid-Range: $5.07 Premium: $5.35 Diesel: $5.55 Baby Food: Out of Stock Grocery Prices: Through the Ceiling Joe Biden: Blaming Others,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio ) tweeted Thursday.
Inflation surged throughout 2021 before Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.
Inflation hit a four-decade high of 8.5% in March and fell to 8.3% in April. But even before the invasion it was high. In February, which was less than a week after the invasion, inflation was 7.9%, down from 7.1% in January and 7% in December.
Biden claimed in December that the previous month’s 6.8% annual inflation rate was likely the “peak.” He said in July that inflation was “temporary” as it hovered around 5% and continued to rise.
But Biden claimed Friday his “actions have already helped mitigate an even larger price hike by Putin.”
“I understand that families who are struggling probably don’t care why prices are going up,” Biden said. “They just want them to go under. “Joe, what are you going to do to bring her down?” But it is important that we understand the root of the problem so that we can take action to solve it.”
Biden’s attempt to blame Putin for the economic woes is not new, and he also reiterated a stalled push for a $2 trillion social and environmental spending plan, though centrist Senator Joe Manchin (D -WVa.) effectively ended the initiative in December by citing inflation.
“Congress helped bring families down costs immediately by passing my clean energy investment proposal,” Biden said, advocating a $555 billion package including subsidies for energy-efficient homes and cars.
He also called for passage of provisions in the massive bill that would increase federal funding for “affordable” housing while funding the mammoth law by “taxing the super-rich and big corporations.”
The average national price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline on Friday was $4.76, an all-time high, according to AAA. Diesel also hit an all-time high of $5.58 a gallon on Friday.
Critics often blame Biden’s policies for inflation, including his $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, which bailed out state and local governments, gave most Americans $1,400 in stimulus checks, a weekly unemployment benefit from $300 and expanded the annual child tax credit to between $3,000 and $3,600. from $2,000 per child.
Biden at least once acknowledged the potential impact of generous social spending on inflation.
“The irony is that people have more money now because I passed the first big law. They all got checks for $1,400. They got checks for a whole bunch of things,” Biden said in November. “It changes people’s lives. But what happens when there’s nothing to buy and you have more money to compete to get it? [goods]? That creates a real problem.”
Biden’s stimulus followed bipartisan legislation in 2020 that distributed about $4 trillion to businesses, individuals, and state and local governments during the pandemic. Biden signed a bipartisan $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill in November that the CBO said would increase the federal deficit by $256 billion, though Biden argued it would ultimately lower inflation by improving the transportation of goods.
https://nypost.com/2022/06/03/joe-biden-pins-record-gas-grocery-prices-on-vladimir-putin/ Joe Biden blames record gas and food prices on Vladimir Putin