With fastest pace of inflation since 2008, Democrats see opportunity for government spending, welfare programs

By Thomas Catenacci

The consumer price index has jumped 4.2% over the last 12 months, the fastest pace of inflation since 2008, according to a Department of Labor report.

The consumer price index (CPI) increased 0.8% between March and April, according to the Labor Department report released Wednesday morning. Economists projected that the CPI increased by 0.2% last month and 3.6% over the 12-month period ending in April, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“I think a lot of us are expecting a pretty significant increase of spending on services in the next couple months and that’s where a lot of the pressure on CPI is going to come from,” Richard Moody, chief economist at Regions Financial Corp, told the WSJ prior to the report.

“It’s a question of how long that burst in spending persists,” Moody said. “And the longer it persists, the more latitude producers have to raise prices.”

Last month, the CPI rose 0.6% while the index increased 0.4% in February. In the 12-month period ending in March, the CPI jumped 2.6%.

The prices of several commodities have already risen rapidlyLumbergasolinesteelcoppercomputer chips, homes and home appliances have all increased in price.

Some economists have pointed to increased government spending as the reason for rising consumer prices.

The U.S. economy added just 266,000 jobs last month after economists predicted it would add a million, according to a report released Friday. The Chamber of Commerce and other business groups blamed the meager report on continued weekly $300 unemployment benefit bonus payments included in the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan.

Democrats, though, have proposed numerous new spending packages and welfare programs in the wake of the negative economic progress.

President Joe Biden has proposed infrastructure and families plans that would each cost taxpayers about $2 trillion. The White House said the plans would result in millions of new jobs and a larger safety net for lower income Americans.

“[The American Rescue Plan] got us back to where we were. But that’s not nearly enough,” Biden said during remarks responding to the April jobs report Friday. “We have to build back better.”

“That’s why we need the American Jobs Plan I proposed: to put us in a position where we can build back better, to reclaim our position as the leading and most innovative nation in the world, and win the future — the 21st century,” he continued.

However, business groups have criticized Biden’s infrastructure plan, which they argued would create barriers to new job creation since it proposes a corporate tax hike. The families plan is also expected to be $700 billion more expensive than Biden promised and cause negative economic growth, according to an economic analysis released last week.

Democrats see economic chaos as opportunity for more government spending, welfare programs

Biden and other Democratic leaders have pushed for more government spending after a string of news that showed the economic recovery was slowing.

Democrats have pushed trillions of dollars worth of new government programs as jobs growth has slowed, consumer prices rise and a large labor shortage continues to hit much of the country. In March, Biden signed the partisan $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and has since proposed a $2 trillion jobs and infrastructure plan and a $1.8 trillion families plan.

Republican-majority states, including Alabama, Montana and South Carolina, promised to soon withdraw from the federal unemployment program, which they argued incentivized people not to look for jobs. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said the $300 weekly benefit was “contributing to a labor shortage.”

Job vacancies hit a record 8.1 million at the end of March, according to a Labor Department report released Tuesday.

Several cabinet officials including Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh participated in a video posted by the White House Friday in which they said the jobs report proved the country was headed in “the right direction,” but that additional spending was required to ensure a full recovery.

“The disappointing April jobs report highlights the urgent need to pass President Biden’s American Jobs and Families Plans,” Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement on Friday. “We need to take bold action to Build Back Better from this crisis by investing in our nation, our workers and our families.”

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also urged Congress to pass the president’s initiatives after the jobs report was released Friday. He called the trillion-dollar plans “big, bold plans to create more good-paying jobs, invest in infrastructure, help lift families out of poverty, and drive America forward for decades to come.”

On Monday, Schumer proposed canceling $50,000 worth of student debt for all Americans. In addition, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Kirsten Gillibrand as well as Reps. Ilhan Omar and Gwen Moore introduced legislation Friday that would provide free breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks to all school children.

“What we’ve seen during this pandemic is that a universal approach to school meals works,” Sanders said in a statement. “We cannot go backwards. I am proud to introduce this legislation alongside my colleagues to ensure no student goes hungry again.”

Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren said the government should go even farther than the trillion-dollar proposals laid out by the White House in an interview with CNN on Monday.

“What it’s going to take to repair the roads and bridges in America, what it’s going to take to make sure that not just part of America has access to broadband, but all of America has access to broadband, and what it’s going to take to make sure that we have universal child care that is affordable, available and high quality all across this nation,” Warren said. “We’ve got to make sure that we put enough resources in to make that happen.”

“I think the president’s budget, quite frankly, doesn’t go quite far enough,” she said.

Some economists have pointed to increased government spending as the reason for rising consumer prices.

“The 100% cause of inflation is the government,” Peter Schiff, the chief economist and global strategist of Euro Pacific Capital, told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview last week. “It’s when the government spends money that it doesn’t collect in taxes and then the Federal Reserve monetizes the resulting deficits by printing money.”

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