President Biden acknowledged Wednesday that Americans would be feeling the pain from skyrocketing food and gas prices for some time to come Wednesday as consumer costs at the pump hit another new high.
“The idea we’re going to be able to click a switch, bring down the cost of gasoline is not likely in the near term, nor is it with regard to food,” the president told reporters following a White House event with baby formula manufacturers.
As Biden spoke, the average nationwide price of a gallon of gas stood at $4.67, the highest on record, according to AAA.
The throw-your-hands-up moment from Biden came one day after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen acknowledged that she was wrong about inflation being a “transitory” problem despite the annual rate hitting highs not seen in 41 years.
“I was wrong then about the path that inflation would take,” Yellen said in an interview with CNN on Tuesday. “As I mentioned, there have been unanticipated and large shocks to the economy that have boosted energy and food prices and supply bottlenecks that have affected our economy badly that I, at the time, didn’t fully understand, but we recognize that now.”
Yellen’s admission that the administration was caught flat-footed by rising costs led to calls from Republicans for her to resign or be fired.
On Wednesday, Biden insisted that despite his lack of a solution to the problem of inflation, “there’s more than one way to change, to maintain the standard of living for people in the sense that the overall out-of-pocket money needed to be able to make sure that they’re able to get through all their needs on a monthly basis. You can compensate.
“You can compensate, for example, by having drug prices drop significantly, or an impact on childcare,” he added. “The bottom line is the bottom line, how much it costs you to maintain your household and your standard of living,”
The programs Biden cited were part of his $2 trillion Build Back Better plan, which was shot down by centrists in his party late last year over fears it would worsen the inflation crisis.
“We can’t take immediate action, that I’m aware of yet, to figure out how we bring down the price of gasoline back to $3 a gallon, and we can’t do that immediately with regard to food prices either,” the president reiterated.
”But we can compensate by providing for other necessary costs for families, by bringing those down. That reduces the inflation for that family.”