The highest inflation numbers in over four decades are apparently too much for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) as he ripped the Biden administration for not acting “fast enough.” The moderate legislator has been a thorn in the side of his party, even as the White House is trying to get him back on board for a scaled-down spending proposal.
After this week’s Consumer Price Index showed a disheartening 8.5% increase in March, the highest since Dec. 1981, Manchin spoke out. In a statement, he made a thinly veiled allusion to the administration’s attempts to peg price increases on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Manchin called it “a disservice to the American people” to act as though inflation just sprang up when Russian forces invaded Ukraine. He blasted uncontrolled inflation as “taxes” that are out of control and destroying “hard earned wages and financial savings.”
He spread the blame to the Federal Reserve for not acting to head off grocery prices and housing costs creating “consequences being felt across the country.”
Manchin went on to call once again for a tax credit for clean energy manufacturing as a way to invigorate the transition from fossil fuels to more environmentally friendly and sustainable energy.
Already scorching prices have skyrocketed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began Feb. 24. Part of the senator’s frustration could just as easily be leveled at economists who, along with the Fed, labeled the rising prices even late last year as “transitory.” The blame was laid at the feet of the global pandemic and subsequent supply chain constrictions.
But it became clear in recent months that the stubbornness of inflation is due in large part to measures undertaken to keep the economy going. Those actions by the Federal Reserve, economists now believe, overstimulated markets and triggered demand to levels that the supply could not keep up with. Manchin noted what he called “half-measures and rhetorical failures” by the central bank in his scathing statement.
Even as Wall Street and Main Street try to absorb Tuesday’s sobering inflation news, former President Barack Obama took a different road than Sen. Manchin. Echoing his former vice president, Obama fell back on the Ukraine war and repeated his mantra that Democrats simply need to “tell their story.”
Quite a story the party has to tell. Rampant inflation, soaring violent crime, a new border crisis, and Biden’s own party members blasted his actions — or lack of. So, how’s that “healing” we were all promised going?