President Joe Biden says inflation should “start to taper off as we go through this year” as prices continue to rise at their highest rate in 40 years.
Biden spoke with NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt about a wide range of topics, including the soaring inflation rate, in an exclusive interview excerpted on TODAY Friday.
The latest release of the monthly Consumer Price Index by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Thursday reported that inflation rose to 7.5% for the month of January compared to the same time last year, the fastest pace since 1982.
The average US household is spending an additional $276 a month on goods and services due to rising inflation, according to Moody’s Analytics Inc.
“According to Nobel laureates, 14 of them that contacted me, and a number of corporate leaders from General Motors to Ford to Intel to the utility companies I met with two days ago, yesterday, it ought to to start to taper off as we go through this year,” Biden said.
The sectors most affected by price increases were food, shelter and electricity, according to Thursday’s report. Whether it’s increased prices for eggs and bacon or companies like Amazon and Disney charging more for their services, Americans have had to contend with higher prices across a range of sectors.
Biden was reminded that he said in July the price hikes would be temporary, yet they have continued more than six months later.
“Let’s look at the reasons for the inflation,” Biden said. “The reason for the inflation is the supply chains were cut off, meaning that the products, for example, automobiles, the lack of computer chips to be able to build those automobiles so they could function.”
Biden also responded to the announcements by multiple Democratic governors to roll back indoor mask requirements during the pandemic at schools and other venues.
“Omicron and all the variants have had a profound impact on the psyche of the American people,” Biden said. “For example, think of all the kids who didn’t get to go to a prom, all the graduations that didn’t occur, all the things, I mean it’s had a real psychological impact.”
Biden called the decisions to roll back the mandates “premature,” but acknowledged that “it’s a tough call.”
The president also addressed the tense standoff with Russia over Ukraine and his interactions with Russian president Vladimir Putin.
“I’ve spoken with Putin, I’ve spoken with every NATO leader,” he said. “I brought them together like I think they’ve never been as coordinated in modern history, NATO leaders, about what to do if Putin moves.
“But I don’t think Putin knows himself at this point. He has the capacity. I think Chairman Milley says that he could come in 72 hours, take out Kyiv. That’s true, he could. The question is he knows, he has to know, that if he does, the entire circumstance for Russia changes worldwide. Changes overnight. The cost to Russia both in terms of reputational cost and economic costs to be profound.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism