As inflation on the goods that consumers buy every day reached the highest rate in decades, Senator Joe Manchin called for relief, including changes to American energy policies.
“The inflation number today is only the beginning unless we take immediate action to address the pain being felt across our nation. This is one problem facing the American people that one political party alone cannot fix. The American people cannot wait any longer,” Manchin, D-W.Va., said today.
Manchin was reacting to today’s release of the consumer price index, an economic indicator that showed consumer prices were up 8.5 percent in the year through March.
That meant the prices for goods people buy were at their highest levels since the early 1980s.
The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics said the largest contributors to the increase were gasoline, shelter and food. The spiking price of gasoline, associated with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, played a major role in the recent inflation trend.
Manchin, the Senate Energy Committee chairman, contended that American energy production needs to be more competitive to provide alternatives as Europe moves to curtail its use of Russian supplies.
“It demands the Administration and Congress, Democrats and Republicans alike, support an all-the-above energy policy because that is the only way to bring down the high price of gas and energy while attacking climate change,” Manchin stated.
“The United States of America is equipped to be energy independent from Russia and other terror-sponsoring countries while also working to fight global climate change and break our dependence on the critical mineral supply change from China.”
The Federal Reserve is widely expected to increase interest rates at a meeting next month to combat inflation, and the central bank could raise rates after that too.
“When will this end? It is a disservice to the American people to act as if inflation is a new phenomenon. The Federal Reserve and the Administration failed to act fast enough, and today’s data is a snapshot in time of the consequences being felt across the country,” Manchin stated.
“Instead of acting boldly, our elected leaders and the Federal Reserve continue to respond with half-measures and rhetorical failures searching for where to lay the blame. The American people deserve the truth about why record inflation is happening and what must be done to control it.”
Nationally, some economists believe the inflation rate might have reached its high water mark and will start to recede. Some prices of consumer goods outside of more volatile food and energy prices, known as “core inflation, rose at a slower pace over the last month.
People’s resources are being strained by the inflation growth, said Scott Schuh, associate professor at the Center for Free Enterprise at WVU’s John Chambers College of Business and Economics.
“We’ve definitely reached that point for sure, with numbers as high as 8 percent per year, at an annual rate, this is big enough to eat into the money holdings that we have in currency, checking accounts, savings accounts, because we can’t get interest high enough to offset the inflation,” he said on MetroNews’ “Talkline.”
Inflation numbers hit a new 40-year record last month. Inflation rose to 8.5% in March. Are we past the point where inflation has an impact on individual's behavior in the marketplace? Scott Schuh with the @wvuchambers joins @HoppyKecheval. WATCH: https://t.co/yCFQ3nDJuy pic.twitter.com/2QCZqEQ4on
— MetroNews (@WVMetroNews) April 12, 2022