Psaki, questioned about comments made by Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell, mentioned that "experts believe" that "most of the price increases are expected to be temporary through the consequences of restarting an economy shut down during the pandemic."
"I want to be clear," she replied, "we understand the threat that input inflation poses. We will be vigilant as responses are needed or needed as it relates to legislation we're continuing to advocate for."
The top White House spokesperson claimed that "the way to keep prices in our economy down is to increase the supply of goods that consumers want to buy and keep the costs of producing and getting them to market lower."
"That's exactly what the president's bipartisan infrastructure framework and the Build Back Better plans will do," Psaki continued. "It will also, as we work to pass the Build Back Better reconciliation package, increase the availability of child care, more workers will enter the workforce, increasing our output and helping to keep prices down. So we are quite mindful of it."
This comes as prices for goods and services have been rising at a historic pace, a phenomenon that many economists have characterized as transitory. CEOs warn elevated levels of inflation could persist.
Business executives offer unique perspectives on the matter as they are directly exposed to rising raw materials and labor costs. They warn that inflation may be more than a temporary phenomenon. Furthermore, they’re the ones setting prices on what their businesses sell.
"The inflation could be worse than people think," JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon said on an earnings call Tuesday. “I think it'll be a little bit worse than what the Fed thinks. I don't think it's only temporary."
"[Policymakers] are saying jobs are more important than consumerism," BlackRock CEO Larry Fink told CNBC on Wednesday. "That is going to probably lead to systematically more inflation."
Meanwhile, executives are explicitly saying that they're raising the prices they charge customers. "Is there somewhat more inflation out there? There is," PepsiCo CFO Hugh Johnston said on an earnings call Tuesday. "Are we going to be pricing to deal with it? We certainly are."
"Will Conagra take list pricing increases? The short answer is, yes," Conagra CEO Sean Connolly said. "And we have more pricing coming."
"[We’ve] done at least one large [price] increase earlier in the second quarter, and that was received fairly well," Fastenal CFO Holden Lewis said on an earnings call Tuesday. "But based on what the cost is doing, we'll have to go to the market with some additional ones."
The bottom line is, while it's possible executives could be exaggerating risks affecting their business, they should still be taken seriously. During the previous earnings season, execs were unusually vocal about inflation at that time too. And their alarms showed up in the inflation reports that followed.