This commentary is by Carrie Sheffield, a senior policy analyst at Independent Women’s Voice.
So much for the falsely-named Democrat “Inflation Reduction Act.” September’s inflation figures came out worse than expected this week, but Americans didn’t need Washington bureaucrats to tell them they’re suffering record high price spikes — a fact that will likely boost conservative candidates heading into November in hopes of stopping the bleeding.
Stocks took a beating after the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Thursday that U.S. consumer price inflation rose 8.2% in September over last year and 0.4% over the month compared to August. Core inflation is up 0.6% but was expected at 0.4%. The searing inflation is likely to spur continued interest rate hikes as the Federal Reserve retroactively tries to make amends for its sluggish myopia leading up to this inflation.
Increases in the shelter, food, and medical care indexes were the largest of many contributors to the monthly seasonally-adjusted all items increase, BLS reported. It’s getting harder for parents to feed their children, which explains why the economy and inflation are edging out all other issues on voters’ minds heading into the November elections.
These food, shelter and healthcare increases were partly offset by a 4.9% decline in the gasoline index, but this is likely to be short lived given President Biden’s failure to negotiate a favorable deal with Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations, which have announced they plan to restrict oil production from August 2022 levels by two million barrels per day to less than 42 million barrels. The cut is scheduled to take effect from November despite Biden’s wan “fistbump diplomacy” this summer in Saudi Arabia.
Last week the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings increased by 5.0%. Now with September’s inflation numbers, we see that Americans are enduring a significant pay cut of 3.2% in the past year. Biden has mastered the art of cutting workers’ wages.
In a reactionary response to inflation, today we also learned that Social Security payments will rise by 8.7% next year, the largest increase in four decades. The decision by the Social Security Administration to boost the cost of living allowance increase comes as American retirees have seen their savings evaporate overnight. U.S. retirement plans, 401ks and other stock market investments have taken a severe beating, losing trillions of dollars. This comes in the first three consecutive quarters of stock market losses for the first time since the 2008 financial crisis.
This new Social Security spending will further imperil the financial security of that program, accelerating the decline in trust for this FDR-era program, which is already on a fiscally unsustainable path. With U.S. debt now topping a staggering $31 trillion, amounting to nearly a quarter million dollars per taxpayer, this inflation will spur even more government spending. Washington is addicted to spending — that’s how we got into this inflation mess. We are trapped in a high-stakes Las Vegas roulette spin, mortgaging our future — but it’s no game as the stakes are real and enduring. Americans deserve better; the question is whether we’ll end our self-sabotage and vote in leaders who will undertake a wiser path.