April 11, 2024


Consumer inflation remained persistently high last month, boosted by gas, rents, auto insurance and other items, the government said Wednesday… Prices outside the volatile food and energy categories rose 0.4% from February to March, the same accelerated pace as in the previous month. Measured from a year earlier, these core prices are up 3.8%.” AP News

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From the Left

The left argues that the economy is doing well overall.

“The reason why CPI came in hotter than forecast seemed to stem in large part from categories that should cool in the months ahead. In particular, motor vehicle insurance and auto maintenance and repair were responsible for about a third of core CPI inflation and probably accounts for much of Wall Street’s forecast error. In both cases, they reflect the lagged effect of the inflation in cars and replacement parts that peaked in 2022.”

Jonathan Levin, Bloomberg

“Last week, we got another terrific employment report — job growth for 39 straight months… Four years ago, the economy was body-slammed by the Covid-19 pandemic, but we have more than recovered. Four years after the start of the 2007-9 recession, total employment was still down by more than five million; now it’s up by almost six million…

“The unemployment rate has been below 4 percent for 26 months, the longest streak since the 1960s. Inflation did surge in 2021-22, although this surge has mostly subsided. But most workers’ earnings are up in real terms. Over the past four years, wages of nonsupervisory workers, who account for more than 80 percent of private employment, are up by about 24 percent, while consumer prices are up less, around 20 percent.”

Paul Krugman, New York Times

“It’s safe to assume that voters who rely on conservative media outlets or conservative social-media influencers for their news aren’t being regaled with stories about the strength of the post-pandemic economic recovery. But, if the polls are accurate, negative feelings about the economy aren’t confined to Republicans…

“[In a recent poll] Fifty-nine per cent of self-identified independents said the economy is getting worse. Based on the recent trend in jobs, G.D.P., inflation, and wages, that simply isn’t true…

“More evidence that something has gone amiss in economic perceptions: whereas most of the respondents in [a] Journal poll said the national economy was in poor or not-so-good shape, a majority of them said that conditions in their home state were excellent or good. In Georgia, for example, just thirty-two per cent said the national economy was good or excellent. Fifty-nine per cent said conditions in the Peach State fit that description…

“The pattern was the same in Arizona, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. These poll findings weren’t a one-off. A long-running Federal Reserve survey of over-all financial well-being has found that, during the pandemic and its aftermath, people’s views of the national economy deteriorated much more sharply than their views of their own well-being and that of their local economies. It’s hard to look at surveys like these without thinking about how economic narratives get shaped.”

John Cassidy, New Yorker

From the Right

The right argues that inflation remains too high.

The right argues that inflation remains too high.

“President Biden claimed in a statement that ‘wages are rising faster than prices,’ which is barely true over the last year though not over the last two months. The real average hourly wage in constant 1982-1984 dollars was $11.11 in March, up from $11.04 a year earlier. Seven lousy cents. Since Mr. Biden took office in January 2021, average hourly earnings after inflation are down 2.54%

“‘Fighting inflation remains my top economic priority,’ Mr. Biden declared. Who is he kidding? His real priority is to keep the government and consumer spending spigot wide open with subsidies galore for electronic vehicles, student-loan write-offs and social welfare. His other main priority is using regulation to put government in control of more of the economy. None of this restrains prices.”

Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

“If food and common household items are costing 36 to 50 percent more than they did five years ago, people are going to be angry about the state of the economy. Everybody’s got to eat. Economists and Democratic officials keep yelling at the electorate, ‘What are you complaining about? The year-to-year inflation rate is down to just 3.2 percent!’ And the electorate is shouting back, ‘What are you talking about? Everything is still way more expensive than I’m used to paying!’”

Jim Geraghty, National Review

“It is not ‘the rich’ who are suffering in this economy; it’s everyone else. Rich people have disposable income that serves as a buffer against the increased cost of goods. Rich people have large mortgages that are being inflated away. Rich people are enjoying the offsets provided by the bracket adjustments in our income-tax system. Rich people have spare cash that they can invest at the newly higher rates, or place into the healthy stock market…

It’s the Americans whom Biden believes he is championing who are screwed. Grocery prices are up by more than 30 percent since 2020. The costs of new mortgages have skyrocketed, as have the costs of financing, insuring, and repairing a car. It is true that some Americans will obtain some relief from these pressures if they have a lot of debt, but for the poster boys of government largesse — the elderly, and those who own no property — the situation is disastrous.”

Charles C. W. Cooke, National Review

“Twelve months ago, 134,287,000 Americans had full-time jobs. Today, that number has fallen to 132,940,000. For all Biden’s talk, there are a million fewer people with full-time jobs now than there were a year ago. By contrast, some 26,744,000 people had part-time jobs a year ago, but that number has risen to 28,632,000 now. The number of people reporting they work more than one job has also risen by almost half a million in the past year.”

Editorial Board, Washington Examiner

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