(New York Post) President Biden threw an “inflation reduction” party Tuesday — even as inflation hit a worse-than-expected 8.3%, the stock market tumbled and stubbornly high prices for food and housing continue to slam American households.
Biden, 79, had classic folk rocker James Taylor kick off the White House South Lawn bash with his 1970 hit “Fire and Rain” — a song reportedly about suicide and heroin addiction — to belatedly celebrate passage of his Inflation Reduction Act spending bill.
But Biden, who hailed the 74-year-old Taylor as “a voice that heals our soul and unites a nation,” failed to mention the market rout sparked by the dismal Labor Department’s Consumer Price Index released earlier Thursday.
The disappointing monthly report showed inflation continued to remain near record-high levels in August – despite a continued demand-driven decline in the cost of gasoline.
Cheaper gas was offset by steep 12-month jumps in the cost of food (up 13.5%), electricity (15.8%), rent (6.8%) and health insurance (24.3%).
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 4% Tuesday, or nearly 1,300 points — and CNN cut away from the presidential speech to focus on the dramatic stock stumble.
President Joe Biden waves as he arrives with Vice President Kamala Harris and Lovette Jacobs.
Electricity ⬆️ 15.8%
Meat ⬆️ 8.8%
Eggs ⬆️ 39.8%
Baby food ⬆️12.6%
Fuel oil ⬆️68.8%
Gas ⬆️ 25.6%
— Americans for Prosperity (@AFPhq) September 13, 2022
Still, Biden claimed to party guests that his recently passed spending bill would “help reduce inflation at the kitchen table” — plugging its nearly $400 billion in environmental spending, including tax credits of up to $7,500 to buy electric vehicles and subsidies for home energy efficiency, and roughly $64 billion to extend generous COVID-19-era Obamacare subsidies.
Republicans immediately attacked Biden as “out of touch” for hosting a celebration for the environmental and healthcare spending bill — noting that inflation remained at its highest level since the early 1980s.
“You can’t make it up: Hours after this terrible inflation report, the White House is hosting an ‘inflation reduction’ celebration,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) tweeted. “Democrats have spent our economy into disaster and now they’re partying while families pay. They could not look more out of touch if they tried.”
Moments before the celebrations kicked off, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claimed inflation was “essentially flat” – and insisted it was OK for Biden to celebrate his spending bill.
“Overall, prices have been essentially flat in our country these last two months,” Jean-Pierre said at her regular briefing. “That is welcome news for American families with more work still to do.”
Republicans took aim at President Biden for hosting a celebration for the Inflation Reduction Act at the White House — despite inflation remaining high.AP/Andrew Harnik
Jean-Pierre faced a barrage of skeptical questions from reporters, including NBC reporter Kelly O’Donnell who asked if there’s “any concern that there’s a dissonance between the current economic moment and the celebration you’ll have this afternoon.”
“It’s not about us celebrating. It’s about the win for the histor — the win for the America,” Jean-Pierre responded.
“When you see costs that are going to come down for our seniors when you see costs that are going to come down for American families, as I just listed out — for energy costs, are going to come down and… about the health care costs are going to come down,” Jean-Pierre said. “That is great that we have been having for some time in Washington, DC. That is a huge it’s a huge win for the American people.”
Biden’s staff had repeatedly touted the South Lawn festivities in tweets from his account throughout the day.
One presidential social media post said, “Exactly four weeks ago, I signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law. So today, we’re celebrating. Tune in at 3 PM ET as I deliver remarks and welcome the leaders and advocates who made it happen to the People’s House.”
The conservative group Americans for Prosperity quote-tweeted Biden — adding a GIF from the TV show “Schitt’s Creek” ironically concurring with the celebration while noting 12-month increases in the cost of eggs (up 39.8%), meat (8.8%) and baby food (12.6%).”
Republicans and independent analysts say that despite its name, the Inflation Reduction Act will have little — if any — positive near-term effect on inflation, which this year soared to 41-year highs, peaking at 9.1% in June.
Studies by the Penn Wharton Budget Model and the Tax Foundation say the bill won’t lower overall consumer prices — at least not in the near future.
The new federal spending is offset by new taxes on corporations, including a new 15% corporate minimum tax, increased IRS enforcement and by allowing Medicare to directly negotiate drug prices.