Barrasso: High prices have become ‘entrenched in our economy’

Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) on Thursday warned that high prices “have become entrenched in our economy” after the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that prices increased 0.4 percent in September, a greater jump than expected.  

“High prices are not transitory,” Barrasso said, noting inflation has risen 13.5 percent since President Biden took office in 2021. “In under two years, Democrats have taken us from nonexistent inflation to a 40-year record high.”  

Economists projected the Consumer Price Index (CPI) would increase 0.3 percent.  

The stock market fell right after the inflation number came out Thursday morning but then climbed back, with the Dow Industrial Average rallying up 400 points by 11:30 a.m. 

Core CPI, which excludes energy and food prices, jumped up 0.6 percent in September for an annual gain of 6.6 percent, the highest since 1992.  

Meanwhile, workers’ wages declined slightly by 0.1 percent in September.  

Republicans seized on the report to bash Biden and his Democratic allies, hoping to keep voters’ focus on inflation instead of abortion in the final weeks before Election Day.  

“Too many Americans are living the nightmare of having to choose between buying gas they can’t afford, buying groceries they can’t afford and paying energy bills they can’t afford,” Barraso said.  

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) office issued a memo to reporters Thursday morning pointing out that grocery prices have increased 18 percent, dining-out prices have increased 12 percent and energy prices have increased 45 percent.  

Senate Democrats had hoped that inflation would have peaked over the summer and begin coming down before the midterm election but that doesn’t appear to be happening.  

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in June of 2021 that she thought inflation would drop down to around 3 percent by the end of last year, saying she thought it was being driven by “transitory factors.”  

But Yellen admitted in June of this year that she was wrong.  

“I think I was wrong then about the path that inflation would take,” she told CNN in an interview. “There have been unanticipated and large shocks to the economy that have boosted energy and food prices and supply bottlenecks that have affected our economy badly that I didn’t at the time … fully understand.” 

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