American consumers are taking another hit as the inflation rate exceeded expectations again in June. While economists predicted the June consumer price index (CPI) would rise at an annual rate of 8.8 percent over the same time last year, the Department of Labor announced Wednesday that the actual rate clocked in at a new 40-year high of 9.1 percent.
Much of the CPI’s price hike can be attributed to the cost of gasoline, which rose 11.2 percent over the past month. Per Breitbart, the record-breaking gas prices in June drained household and business spending on other items.
The Labor Department also reported that prices for food, shelter, used and new vehicles, medical care, and car insurance all spiked during the same period. The price of food, for instance, increased 10.4 percent between June 2021 and June 2022.
The Federal Reserve’s usual target of two-percent inflation appears to be little more than a distant memory for the time being. As Breitbart reported, June marked the 13th straight month of inflation higher than five percent.
The Fed has responded to this period of high inflation by hiking interest rates, most recently by 0.75 percent in June. Interest rates had remained near zero during much of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Related: It’s Not Just Gas: Monthly Car Payments Are Breaking Records, Too
According to The Hill, the Biden administration preemptively blamed Russian President Vladimir Putin for the news — while suggesting that the new inflation report will quickly be outdated as a result of gas prices easing in July.
“We expect the headline number, which includes gas and food, to be highly elevated, mainly because gas prices were so elevated in June,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Monday. “The President’s No. 1 economic priority is tackling inflation. And looking ahead, there are a number of reasons why we expect those high prices to ease over the coming months.”
Republican politicians were not as quick to buy the Biden administration’s explanation.
“Biden and the Democrats must stop their reckless government spending. It’s unsustainable,” Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) said.
“Bidenflation is wreaking havoc on workers, families & small businesses - a consequence of anti-American energy policy, exorbitant borrowing & printing of money & counterproductive federal regulations,” added Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R).
Regardless of the explanation, rising inflation is devastating for the American worker. Real average hourly earnings tumbled 3.6 percent from June 2021 to June 2022, leaving many without the means to make up for surging bills.
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