Inflation grew significantly in May, driving the cost of food and gasoline higher just as the United States digs itself out of the pandemic-induced recession of the last year. Republicans accuse President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion American Recovery Plan of drowning the economy with too much taxpayer-subsidized cash and say Democratic proposals to spend trillions more will send inflation spiraling out of command.
Republican strategists say the matter of inflation on its own is not a difficulty for Democrats. Though its influence will be, they say, if the price tag of everyday goods and services spikes over the following 18 months.
“Gas prices are the easiest for people to see, feel, touch, and also the easiest to tie to Biden and the Democrats,” a Republican pollster announced before warning: “This has yet to come up in our focus groups. People are still focused on employment, recovery, and opening schools.”
Biden enjoys an enviable 54% job approval rating in the RealClearPolitics average and has exceeded 50% for the balance of his presidency.
That would imply that the Republicans’ monthslong attacks on the president over his spending plans, and the growth in inflation, are not having much of an impression. Though the cost of goods jumped 0.6% in May after increasing 0.8% in April and 0.6% in March. Prices on food and energy are moving higher and going north quicker than they have in decades.
Congressional Democrats have little room for error in the midterm elections, and Republicans think the effects of increasing prices will take a political toll over time. On Thursday, after new inflation numbers were published, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy issued a press release trying to tie higher prices to Biden’s economic agenda.
“We recently highlighted how President Biden’s mismanagement of the economy, by spending trillions of taxpayer dollars on liberal wishlists disguised as ‘COVID relief’ while paying people to stay home and not produce goods has left Americans paying more for everything from groceries to gasoline,” the press statement from the California Republican’s office stated.
“His tax-and-spend agenda spiked consumer costs across the board, resulting in levels of inflation not seen since Jimmy Carter was president,” the McCarthy press release continued.
David McIntosh, president of the conservative Club for Growth, issued a statement making the same assessment. “Joe Biden is simultaneously flooding the economy with federal spending while unnecessarily paying people not to work — a recipe for disaster. At every point, Biden has put the priorities of the radical socialist wing of his party first, and this is why American families are seeing skyrocketing prices and a stalled recovery.”