President Joe Biden shrugged off the latest unexpectedly high inflation numbers on Tuesday even as they triggered a sudden plunge in the stock market.
“I think we’re going to be fine,” Biden told reporters Tuesday night when asked about the disappointing data release earlier in the day.
The president spoke briefly to reporters after traveling to Delaware from the White House to vote in his home state’s primary election.
When asked by a reporter whether he was worried about the latest inflation numbers, Biden replied, “No, I’m not.”
Biden dismissed the month-to-month overall inflation number as “one-tenth of 1 percent” from the previous month, even though grocery prices rose 0.7 percent in August, rent rose 0.7 percent, the cost of electricity rose 1.5 percent, and natural gas prices rose 3.5 percent. Inflation from the previous year is up 8.3 percent.
Economists, however, do not share Biden’s optimistic appraisal of the situation.
Former President Barack Obama administration economic adviser Jason Furman, now a Harvard professor, described the numbers as “extremely ugly” and Larry Summers, also a former adviser to Obama at Harvard said the United States had “a serious inflation problem.”
The median CPI, which excludes all the large changes in either direction and is better predicted by labor market slack, is out and is extremely ugly. A 9.2% annual rate in August, the single highest monthly print in their dataset which starts in 1983 (second highest was in June). pic.twitter.com/4W6XDLdJXA
— Jason Furman (@jasonfurman) September 13, 2022
Today’s CPI report confirms that the US has a serious inflation problem.
Core inflation is higher this month than for the quarter, higher this quarter than last quarter, higher this half of the year than the previous one, and higher last year than the previous one.
— Lawrence H. Summers (@LHSummers) September 13, 2022
Investors also signaled concern about the latest numbers
The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 1,276 points on Tuesday in reaction to the unexpected data, suggesting that inflation would remain stubbornly high.