President Joe Biden and other White House officials on Wednesday said a recent report shows the economy had “zero percent” inflation in July although the Consumer Price Index showed it remained near historic highs of 8.5 percent year-over-year.
“Before I begin today, I want to say a word about the news that came out today relative to the economy. Actually, I just want to say a number: zero,” Biden said, adding, “Today, we received news that our economy had zero percent inflation in the month of July.”
It’s not clear if Biden meant a “zero percent increase,” as the Consumer Price Index dropped from June to July. The Consumer Price Index showed that inflation remained at 8.5 percent in July 2022, dropping from 9.1 percent in June and dropping 0.2 percentage points from May 2022.
Echoing Biden’s comment, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre wrote on Twitter: “We just received news that our economy had 0 percent inflation in July. While the price of some things went up, the price of others, like gas, clothing, and more, dropped.”
U.S. consumer prices have been surging due to a number of factors, including snarled global supply chains, massive government stimulus early in the COVID-19 pandemic, COVID-19 lockdowns and rules, and the Russia–Ukraine war.
The price of gasoline has also contributed to the price pressures. After rising to over $5 per gallon in June, the price has dropped about $1 to $4.01 per gallon as of Wednesday, according to AAA data. The $4-per-gallon gas price is still far higher than before Biden took office in January 2021 when it hovered around $2.30 per gallon, data from the Energy Information Administration show.
“The all items less food and energy index rose 5.9 percent over the last 12 months,” said the official report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, released Wednesday, referring to “core inflation.”
It continued, “The energy index increased 32.9 percent for the 12 months ending July, a smaller increase than the 41.6-percent increase for the period ending June. The food index increased 10.9 percent over the last year, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending May 1979.”
However, their narrative was panned on social media and by Republican lawmakers.
“The Biden Administration has a tortured relationship with math,” Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) wrote on Twitter.
“Ridiculous [nonsense] from the White House,” wrote Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). “There’s 8.5 percent inflation and basically everything anyone ever buys went up in price. This is just cruel gaslighting from the Biden admin.”
“It’s a bogus math trick. This is the overall one-month index change. Overall that means that the big drop in fuel oil and gas (following previous massive monthly increases) swamped the huge increases everywhere else,” wrote Jeffrey Tucker, president of the Brownstone Institute think tank and columnist for The Epoc Times.
“Using the same tactic, you could also observe a one-month 19.2% increase in electricity! But of course we would not do that because that’s dumb,” Tucker continued. “The actual increase is 15.2% which we get from calculating year over year.”