President Biden said Monday that a spike in inflation and consumer prices is temporary but the economy is still riding “ups and downs,” and urged more Americans to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We cannot afford to be complacent,” the president said in an address at the White House. “We can’t let up, especially since and because of the delta variant, which is more transmissible and more dangerous.”
He said the virus “doesn’t have to hold our economy back any longer.”
Referring to the largest jump in inflation in more than a decade, the president said “no serious economist” believes that unchecked inflation is ahead.
“That’s not our view,” Mr. Biden said. “These disruptions are temporary.”
He said of shortages and price increases: “You can’t flip the global economics light back on and not expect this to happen.”
The president also rejected concerns that his proposals for nearly $4 trillion in new spending on social programs and infrastructure would add inflationary pressures. He called on Congress to approve his plans, saying his agenda will boost the economy.
“If your primary concern right now is about inflation, you should be even more enthusiastic about this plan,” he said.
Republicans quickly hit back at the president’s economic rationale.
“Inflation is very real and President Biden has absolutely no regard for the rise in the cost of goods,” tweeted Rep. Andy Biggs, Arizona Republican.
The president said thanks to his policies, including a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package in March, the U.S. is experiencing “the highest economic growth rate in nearly 40 years.”
“We’ve brought this economy back from the brink,” Mr. Biden said. “It turns out capitalism is alive and very well.”
The president acknowledged that persistent inflation “would pose a real challenge for our economy.” He said he told Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in a recent meeting that the Fed should “take whatever steps it deems necessary to support a strong, durable economic recovery.”
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