By CASEY HARPER
THE CENTER SQUARE SENIOR REPORTER
(The Center Square) — President Joe Biden is facing a flurry of criticism as new federal data released Wednesday show 40-year-high inflation increased the costs of everything by 9.1% in June over last year.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, which showed prices rose an additional 1.3% in June, part of the 9.1% spike over the previous 12 months.
“The increase was broad-based, with the indexes for gasoline, shelter, and food being the largest contributors,” BLS said. “The energy index rose 7.5% over the month and contributed nearly half of the all items increase, with the gasoline index rising 11.2% and the other major component indexes also rising. The food index rose 1.0% in June, as did the food at home index.”
Analysts said inflation could rise even higher in the coming months.
“Things are only going to get worse one way or another, as Biden’s economic policies are a double-edged sword,” said Joel Griffith, an economic expert at the Heritage Foundation. “This is quite possibly the last month of lingering economic factors keeping inflation in the 8% range, which means the official CPI number could be in the 10% range by the fall. Or, inflation may slow down if gas prices — which have been a key driver of inflation — drop even further than they have in the last few days. The problem with that? Those prices are dropping not because of more supply, but because of the rising fear of recession. No matter which way you turn, Biden’s policies offer no relief.”
Mr. Griffith pointed to the explosion of federal spending and the large amount of money being printed by the Federal Reserve as key sources of inflation, which also has been exacerbated by supply chain issues.
“An inflation rate at 9.1% is devastating enough, but the official rate doesn’t even fully capture just how bad the situation is,” Mr. Griffith said. “Biden’s war on affordable energy production is the main culprit for both the high gas prices and skyrocketing food prices. American families are paying dearly for the enormous expansions of government spending financing by the Federal Reserve money printing presses and Biden’s reckless economic policies. This inflation is proving to be the most destructive and painful tax of all.”
Republicans blasted President Biden for the price increases, which have soared since he took office.
“Joe Biden’s raging inflation crisis is a horrible tax on every American family, and today’s CPI report shows that tax just went up again,” U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., said. “It is unacceptable that hardworking families in Florida are paying the price for Biden’s incompetence, and now he wants them to fork over even more of their money by raising their taxes. That’s right, as inflation hits 9.1%, Joe Biden and the heartless Democrats in Congress are answering a historic crisis of high prices with tax hikes. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true, and their brainless plan will only drive America further into the financial hole Biden started digging his first day in office.”
The rise in prices was driven in part by gas prices, which hit record highs and even surpassed an average of $5 per gallon nationwide for regular gasoline last month.
Although prices are slowly decreasing, California remains above the national average. On Wednesday, the American Automobile Association reported the average price in the state was $6.03 a gallon. In Santa Barbara County, the average was a bit higher, at $6.05 a gallon.
“With inflation exploding at home, President Biden heads to Saudi Arabia hat in hand to beg for more oil,” said Daniel Turner, head of the energy workers’ advocacy group, Power The Future. “If he wants to stop his terrible inflation, Joe Biden shouldn’t be in Saudi Arabia begging for more oil, he should be in America’s Permian Basin telling energy workers he’s going to get out of the way.”
News-Press Managing Editor Dave Mason contributed to this report.