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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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Opinion >  Guest Opinion

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers: Biden’s inflation crisis

By Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers

By Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers

One unwanted word for 2021: inflation. Couples are sitting around the table after putting the kids to sleep, trying to figure out how to stretch their paycheck a few more days. Families are in disbelief over their monthly grocery bill. Neighbors are commiserating about the price of gas down the street. It’s the talk of the town – from Washington, D.C., to Washington state – and for good reason.

But what is inflation exactly? Inflation is defined as “a general increase in the price of goods and services across the country, or … a general decrease in the value of money.” In other words, it’s having to pay more for the things you need just to live your life. It’s what undercuts wage growth in America and makes it harder for people to raise their standard of living. It’s what a restaurant owner in Spokane told me is making it harder to buy food for her menu and forcing her to raise prices on her customers.

She is not alone. In August, inflation jumped 4.3%. We haven’t seen inflation this high in America since 1991 – and families in Eastern Washington are feeling the effects. The price of basic groceries, like milk and fruit for example, are up more than 5% nationwide. Beef, pork and eggs are also up more than 1%. In fact, it’s estimated that the real price of inflation is costing the average American household an extra $175 a month.

Gas prices have hit a seven-year high, surpassing more than $3.34 per gallon. In Washington state, we’re facing even higher prices, where a gallon of gas exceeds the national average by more than 50 cents per gallon. For families living paycheck to paycheck, that could mean the difference between having to choose between paying rent or keeping the lights on.

This isn’t a coincidence. Under President Biden, the federal government will spend a jaw-dropping $6.8 trillion in 2021 alone – and that’s without the $5.5 trillion tax and spending spree that will radically expand the power of the government to control our way of life and economy. Our economy is hemorrhaging workers, supply chains are in disrepair, and prices on everyday goods continue to skyrocket because of the Democrats’ out-of-control spending, their agenda encouraging people to stay on the sidelines, and their misguided vaccine mandates.

Everywhere I go, I hear from people who are struggling and worried about the future. I recently spoke with a grocery store owner who told me they can’t keep their shelves stocked because food is more expensive and there aren’t enough workers to move products off of trucks. Middle-class families across Eastern Washington say they are just trying to make ends meet. They tell me that they don’t have a choice. They need to put food on the table for their families and heat their homes. They have bills to pay, and inflation is making it more difficult for them to meet their financial obligations.

Inflation is a hidden tax on all Americans, regardless of how much money you earn. Yet, the president has said publicly that he believes inflation is “temporary,” and his chief of staff Ronald Klain believes it is nothing more than a “high-class problem.” Try telling that to the mom of three who can’t afford to put gas in her car to take her kids to school or a doctor’s appointment.

Inflation is not a high-class problem, and it’s not going away with the Biden agenda to print more money to pay for his reckless spending. Rather, it’s getting worse, and it’s making life more difficult for everyone, especially low and middle income families. It is a tax on all Americans. Unfortunately, this administration seems divorced from the reality they have created – and now they’re trying to pull the wool over our eyes. White House press secretary Jen Psaki has said repeatedly that President Biden’s agenda will cost the American people zero dollars – not one penny! If you believe that, then this administration also has a bridge to sell you.

What they don’t want you to know is that Joe Biden has spent more money in the first eight months of his presidency than the federal government did in 2018 and 2019 combined. Our deficits are the largest they’ve been since World War II, and our national debt is on pace to double by 2031. As a result, the Federal Reserve is printing $100 billion every month just to keep up. When we have to print money to keep up, our dollar is worth less, inflation goes through the roof, and we saddle our children with a debt they can never repay.

This is not sustainable. It’s time for President Biden to accept the reality he created. Despite all of these troubling numbers and real world impacts, right now, Democrats are gearing up to spend another $5.5 trillion to fundamentally transform our entire economy under the guise of “infrastructure.”

So, what’s next? Well, one thing is for sure. If this is what President Biden calls his “Build Back Better” agenda, then we have some difficult days ahead. The bottom line is that President Biden has a spending problem, and he’s maxing out our nation’s credit card. But as the saying goes, the first step to treating an addiction is admitting you have a problem. It’s time for President Biden to do just that and get our economy back on track – before it’s too late.

Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, represents Washington state’s 5th Congressional District which includes the eastern portion of Washington state.

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