Democrat President Joe Biden has claimed that Vladimir Putin is to blame for soaring US inflation after the consumer price index hit another 40-year high of 7.9 percent in February.
The latest inflation data was published on Thursday and shows America’s inflation rates continuing to soar to staggering levels.
However, the latest figures do not capture the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which occurred just days before the end of February.
Despite the Ukraine war not factoring in the data, Biden claimed in a statement that “Putin’s price hike” is to blame.
“A large contributor to inflation this month was an increase in gas and energy prices as markets reacted to Putin’s aggressive actions,” said Biden.
“As I have said from the start, there will be costs at home as we impose crippling sanctions in response to Putin’s unprovoked war, but Americans can know this: the costs we are imposing on Putin and his cronies are far more devastating than the costs we are facing,” he added.
Inflation is showing no signs of slowing down and climbed to another four-decade high in February.
Prices are now expected to push even higher in the coming months on the back of soaring energy prices following the Ukraine invasion.
The Department of Labor said that the consumer price index rose 7.9 percent compared with a year ago.
Prices were up 0.8 compared with the prior month.
This is the ninth straight month of inflation above 5 percent.
Prices rose at an annual rate of 7.5 percent in January, jumping 0.6 percent from December.
Economists had forecast CPI to rise by 0.7 percent for the month and 7.8 percent compared with a year ago.
The index for all items less food and energy, often called core CPI, rose 0.5 percent in February.
Compared with a year ago, core prices were up 6.4 percent, the fastest pace for this measure since August 1982.
These figures do not take into account the recent surge in oil and gasoline prices.
Those are likely to push inflation even higher in March.
It is the largest annual gain since June of 1982.
Excluding volatile food and energy, prices rose 6.4 percent, the largest 12-month change since the period ending August 1982.
Republican critics scoffed at Biden’s explanation for soaring consumer prices, with Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel saying: “Biden’s attempt to deflect blame is an insult to every American and small business owner struggling to afford the cost of everyday goods.”
Although many economists and anti-Trump journalists claimed President Donald Trump’s tariffs would raise prices, consumer prices remained low throughout his administration.
Trump’s tariffs turned out not to be taxes on consumers, as claimed by his critics.
Instead, they were absorbed by Chinese producers and exporters and the profit margins of most large U.S. companies.
Inflation only began to accelerate last March after years of coming in below the Fed’s two percent target.
The Fed had decided to keep interest rates low although the economy was recovering at a faster than expected rate.
What’s more, the Biden administration pushed through billions of dollars of deficit spending in the American Rescue Plan.
These combined to fuel demand for goods and services faster than supplies could expand, pushing up prices.
Polls show the public’s rating of Biden’s handling of the economy is at a record low.
Biden’s overall approval rating has plummeted.
Forty-five percent of Americans say inflation has put a strain on household finances.