Merk argiewe: trouble

Biden is in trouble and he wants Americans to point the finger elsewhere

Biden is in trouble and he wants Americans to point the finger elsewhere
The US public is feeling the pain — and it’s unlikely they’ll only blame Putin

After focusing mostly on confirming Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson and handling the war in Oekraïne, President Joe Biden got a sucker punch on Wednesday with inflation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that inflation hit a 40-year high, saying that the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers rose by 8.5 persent in the past 12 months before seasonal adjustment.

The last time that inflation was that high was in 1981, wanneer Ronald Reagan was president — after he beat Jimmy Carter largely because Americans were dissatisfied with Carter’s policies on inflation. As Rick Perlstein’s 2020 boek Reaganland notes, then-Senator Biden gave Carter as an anodyne an endorsement for re-election as could be back in 1980: “Jimmy Carter is not the finest thing since wheat cakes," hy het gesê. “He’s not the second coming, but he’s doing a good job.” This he said just four years after he became the first Senator to endorse Carter’s first campaign. Yikes.

By far one of the largest contributors to inflation was gasoline, which jumped 18.3 percent in March, the first full month after Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. Sanctions in response included a ban on Russian oil. Incidentally, the rising prices are precisely why – despite support from Congress – the wit Huis initially opposed a ban on Russian oil, with Press Secretary Jen Psaki saying at the time that a ban was unthinkable because it “would raise prices at the gas pump for the American people around the world because it would reduce the supply available”.

It turns out Psaki was right. The White House is now trying to pin the blame on Putin, as Biden did when he spoke in Iowa on Tuesday. Encouraging the entire American public to draw a clear line between their experience at the gas pump and a war far away in Europe, egter, is no mean feat.

“Seventy percent of the increase in prices in March came from Putin’s price hike in gasoline,” Biden said at that event in Iowa. This came as a CBS News/YouGov poll this week showed that 66 percent of Americans said higher prices have been a hardship on them.

Verder, 65 percent said Biden could do more to lower the cost of gas. Sounds like the PR campaign isn’t quite working.