Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) illustrated in a statement on Sept. 20 how soaring inflation has eroded Americans’ purchasing power, pointing out in stark terms that $1 at the start of the Biden administration is now effectively worth just 88.3 cents.
Johnson, who’s been a repeated vocal critic of President Joe Biden’s handling of the economy and Democrats’ big spending bills, took to Twitter on Sept. 20 to criticize the impact of red-hot inflation on American households.
“Let this sink in: $1.00 at the start of the Biden administration is now worth $0.88. This is the Democrats’ tax on the middle class, and it’s crushing all Americans,” Johnson wrote.
In an interview on Fox News, Johnson elaborated on his point about the dramatic reduction in purchasing power due to inflation, especially among Americans on fixed incomes, such as retirees.
“If you’re a senior lucky enough to hold $100,000 in a retirement account at the start of the Biden administration, it’s now worth only $88,300,” he told the outlet.
“It’s like the federal government stole $12,000 out of your savings account, and that’s exactly what they did because of their exorbitant and out-of-control deficit spending,” he said, “and they have no intention of stopping.”
The numbers cited by Johnson align with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) -based purchasing power differential between the month Biden took the oath of office in January 2021 and last month, which shows that Americans now need one whole dollar to buy what 88 cents bought during Trump’s final month in office.
The Republican senator earlier criticized the passage of the Democrat-led Inflation Reduction Act, calling it a misnomer that would—contrary to remarks made by members of the Biden administration—add to inflationary pressures.
Inflation ‘Hasn’t Spiked,’ Biden Claims
Johnson’s scathing remarks on Twitter follow Biden’s eyebrow-raising interview that aired on CBS’s “60 Minutes” program on Sept. 18, in which the president downplayed the inflationary pressures facing American families.
Biden said in the interview that inflation over the past few months “hasn’t spiked” and that the monthly rate of inflation was negligible.
“The inflation rate month to month was just … an inch, hardly at all,” Biden said in response to a question by CBS’s Scott Pelley, who noted that the most recent CPI came in at an annual 8.3 percent—which is close to a multi-decade high—and that Americans were “shocked by their grocery bills.”
Grocery store inflation—based on the “food away from home” category in the CPI data—shot up by an annual 13.5 percent in August, the fastest in 43 years.
Biden replied to Pelley’s question by calling for “perspective” and focusing on the month-over-month rate of inflation in August—which was 0.1 percent—rather than the year-over-year pace of 8.3 percent.
The president’s remarks on inflation sparked a flurry of critical takes from Republicans and others.
‘Voters Know Where the Buck Stops’
Steve Forbes, chairman and editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine, told Fox Business Network that Biden is sure to get blowback for his “happy talk” on inflation. Forbes added that the president is “doing all he can to make it impossible to recover from the inflation that comes from disrupting supply chains” with his anti-fossil fuel policies that will raise energy prices.
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, stated in an op-ed on Fox News that soaring inflation is a key motivating issue for people preparing to vote in the midterms in November.
“Voters know where the buck stops,” he wrote, adding that “inflation is front and center in this election” and that Biden’s attitude on inflation would drive some voters to cast ballots for the GOP.
Some economists—and many Americans facing sticker shock when buying everyday essentials—believe the true rate of inflation is much higher than the 8.3 percent official government data show.
An alternative inflation gauge developed by economist John Williams, calculated according to the same methodology used by the U.S. government in the 1980s, puts August’s inflation figure at an annual 16.5 percent, nearly double the official figure.