New data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicate that the year-over-year inflation rate in June was 9.1 percent – a new 40-year high.
Worsening inflation is putting President Joe Biden and Democrats in a political bind. Recent polling suggests that inflation and high gas prices are the top issues of concern for voters, and voters – including a majority of Democrats – blame sizzling inflation not seen in decades squarely on Biden. Moreover, rising inflation has even offset wage increases for American workers, who have seen a pay cut in real terms with wage growth not keeping up with rising prices.
Among the biggest drivers of inflation have been Democrats’ runaway spending, such as their $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill and skyrocketing energy costs driven by the Biden administration’s crackdown on domestic drilling and the war in Ukraine.
Democrats have been countering by claiming that inflation is driven by corporate greed and consolidation, although numerous economists and even Biden’s Treasury Sec. Janet Yellen has disputed these claims.
The June inflation data puts numerous battleground Democrats such as Cindy Axne in a particularly tough position. Axne has for months sought to downplay inflation concerns, including during an interview last month when she wrote off inflationary concerns as a Republican “narrative” and asserted that inflation “isn’t even the president’s fault or anything in Congress.”
Republican officials have firmly pushed back on Axne’s claims and repeated defense of Biden. “At least Biden can count on Cindy Axne to keep gaslighting, lying, and spinning his Great American Pay Cut,” a Republican National Committee spokesman said in a press release, “while everyday Iowans struggle.”