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Biden on CPI: Too many things unaffordable

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 in the State Dining Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on July 28, 2022.

Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images

New data from the Federal Reserve suggests that inflation further cooled in November. But President Joe Biden’s crusade to convince voters that his economic policies work is far from over.

Inflation grew 0.1 percentage point more slowly last month than it had in October, according to the Fed’s Consumer Price Index released Tuesday. The deceleration was driven by a drop in energy prices, which offset an increase in food and housing prices.

The news bore all the hallmarks of the “soft landing” the White House has promised for the past year, especially buoyed by even more recent economic data, such as strong jobs numbers and rising consumer confidence.

Yet, Biden was acutely aware of its limitations. “Despite this progress, I know many Americans still find too many things unaffordable,” Biden said in a White House statement in response to November’s CPI.

Instead of taking a routine victory lap, the president doubled down on the war, pledging to do himself what the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hikes have not: Make things cheaper.

He amplified his crackdown on soaring prescription drug costs, hidden fees for cable and air travel and corporate “price-gouging.” He also promised to “keep fighting to bring down costs.”

It is a marked tone shift from the president’s typical reactions to positive inflation data. In October, he said inflation progress proved that he is “working to get results for the American people, and it’s happening.”

But now, as bad polling on Bidenomics casts a shadow on the president’s reelection campaign, Biden’s tone has shifted. No longer focused on declaring economic victories, Biden is doubling down on the war.

Voters hold the president responsible for their high rents and expensive grocery bills, according to recent polls.

Economists have attributed the record-high prices of the past few years to Biden’s pandemic-era stimulus packages, along with supply chain disruptions and pent-up consumer demand.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen gives a statement to the press during her visit in Mexico City, Mexico, on Dec. 6, 2023.

Daniel Becerril | Reuters

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