By CASEY HARPER
THE CENTER SQUARE SENIOR REPORTER
(The Center Square) — The latest federal inflation data shows consumer prices rose again in February, sparking criticism of President Joe Biden and his spending agenda.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index Tuesday, which showed consumer prices rose 0.4% in February, totaling a 6% increase over the previous 12 months.
“Core CPI came in hot: 0.5% for the month as opposed to the (still hot) 0.4% expected,” Jason Furman, an economist and Harvard professor, wrote on Twitter. “Core CPI higher for the month than the three months than the six months.”
“Core CPI came in at a 5.6% annual rate for the month of February,” he added. “In the 25 years before COVID, the single highest monthly print (out of 300 prints) was a 4.6% annual rate.”
Critics pointed out that the annual inflation rate declined in this latest data, but Dr. Furman suggested that does not mean the U.S. is out of the woods yet.
“The fact that 12-month inflation fell simply means that inflation in February 2023 (which entered the calculation) was lower than inflation in February 2022 (which dropped out),” Dr. Furman said. “Which is to say, it does not mean anything about the underlying inflation trend or outlook.”
Critics are piling up on President Biden after the data was released, in particular, because Mr. Biden just days ago released a federal budget that would have the national debt surpass $50 trillion within a decade.
“Just last week, Biden put forward a $6.8 trillion budget that’s even more full of reckless taxes and spending than his last terrible proposal,” said Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla. “Credit card debt is up, and savings are down as families struggle to make ends meet. For our poorest families, like mine growing up, Biden’s high prices make even the most basic necessities unaffordable. The president needs to WAKE UP and realize that the pain he is causing for hard-working Americans won’t end until he ends his addiction to reckless government spending.”
The White House has pointed out that its budget cuts deficits by $3 trillion over the next decade. Even with those cuts, the debt is projected to continue to rise. The federal government is projected to spend more money on interest payments on the national debt than on national defense over the next decade.
“Families have lost two months of pay to inflation,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith, R-Mo. “Yet the President is embracing further rounds of fiscal and economic calamity including an additional $4.7 trillion in tax increases on families, farmers and job creators to fund the Democrats’ welfare for the wealthy agenda.”
Federal debt spending fuels inflation because money-printing helps the government sustain its debt spending but also increases inflation.
“President Biden’s reckless spending and far-left priorities have created an inflation disaster,” Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo, said after the pricing data was released. “Americans are dipping into their savings just to pay for gas and groceries. Yet, President Biden doubled down on his disastrous policies with his latest budget request. His radical, tax-and-spend wish list attacks American energy, wastes taxpayer dollars and raises taxes on everyday Americans.”
Casey Harper works at The Center Square’s Washington, D.C., bureau.