Letter: Biden isn’t responsible for rapid inflation, rising gas prices | SteamboatToday.com

Letter: Biden isn’t responsible for rapid inflation, rising gas prices

The Consumer Price Index has been politicized because consumer prices rose by 6.2% in October. The Republican strategy is pinning the responsibility for the rise onto President Joe Biden. As a result, a Washington Post poll indicated that 48% of Americans believe Biden deserves the blame for rising inflation.

Many of the factors contributing to the inflation surge are beyond the immediate control of any president. High prices at the gas pump are the result of the OPEC oil cartel restricting production at a time of rising demand. During the pandemic, U.S. oil companies reduced processing and storage since there was less demand as everybody was staying at home. When the pandemic restrictions were being lifted, the consumer demand peaked faster than anticipated, and there was less gas and more demand. The prices went up, even though the cost of oil has gone down. Now, the oil companies are still keeping gas prices high for more profits.

Higher prices for new and used vehicles stem largely from a shortage of computer chips from Asia for new cars due to COVID-19. Higher rental housing costs can be traced to climbing real-estate prices, lack of materials and very low interest rates that incentive purchases reducing housing supply.

The supply-chain bottleneck is a global phenomenon because of a faster rebound from the worldwide coronavirus shutdowns leading to delivery delays. The situation has been made worse by hoarding and low inventory practices to increase profits.

This global logjam is leading to higher inflation in many countries — Britain, Germany, Russia and Brazil. If the Biden administration’s spending policies have been a major factor in driving prices higher, you would expect the inflation rate to be higher in the United States than it is in Europe. It isn’t.

The White House facilitated a labor deal for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, to operate around the clock and freed up more federal money for ports experiencing congestion. The U.S. will also release 50 million barrels of crude from its strategic reserves in concert with China, Japan, India, South Korea and the U.K. to combat OPEC’s oil reduction. This will alleviate the lack of oil and appears to be reducing gas prices.

Once more, Americans are faced with the choice between reality and intentional disinformation. Which one will you choose?

John Spezia

Steamboat Springs

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