Even left wing media react to the new March inflation numbers on Tuesday, which saw a 1.2% increase from February.
Inflation rose 8.5% in March from last year, reaching a new 40-year high. The March numbers mark the biggest increase since December 1981, when inflation hit 8.9%.
MSNBC’s “The 11th Hour” host Stephanie Ruhle joined Mika Brzezinski, Joe Scarborough and Willie Geist on “Morning Joe” to break down the latest report.
Brzezinski called the numbers “staggering.”
“It ain’t good,” Ruhle said. “When you look at these numbers year over year, you said it, we have not been in this place in over 40 years. And the biggest increases, it’s gas, it’s rent, it’s food. All the things you need to buy every day. So the people who are already the most economically vulnerable are going to be hit the hardest,” she continued.
Ruhle noted “the good news” about wage increases over the last year but said “when you account for inflation, hourly wages are actually down almost 3%.”
“For those at the bottom of the economic scale, huge blow,” the MSNBC host said. Geist contended that despite low unemployment rates and President Biden’s support for Ukraine, Americans care more about the skyrocketing prices at the gas pump and in grocery stores.
“This is crippling politically,” Ruhle said.
“The Biden administration is going to have to wrestle with this. The Fed is meeting again in May, they’re likely going to raise rates again,” she continued. “But even though that could be a part-time solution, people don’t like how that feels either.”
During a segment on CNN’s “New Day” with Brianna Keilar and Josh Berman, CNN’s chief business correspondent Christine Romans broke down the numbers and suggested that March’s consumer price index number “in a way” was like “looking in the rearview mirror” as gas prices have come down slightly in recent weeks.
“I want to say, this is until the end of March. And as you’ve been reporting, we’ve been reporting, oil prices and gas prices have been coming down. So, in a way, this consumer price number is looking in the rearview mirror. There are some economists that are hoping this is the peak, this is the worst of it, and things begin to moderate into the summer,” she said.
Romans said it was a “big number” and that the 1.2% month to month increase was “really rare.”
During a segment on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” Rick Santelli said the numbers came in “as expected, hot, hot, hot” and noted the month-over-month inflation rate of 1.2% was the highest since 2005.
“We’re all together from the last big jobs report,” he said, appearing to hint at Biden’s touting of the most recent jobs report, which found that that wage gains were up 6%. “We can see that it doesn’t keep up with inflation. So, these numbers, outside of month over month core, are all hot, they’re all cycle highs.”
Core inflation measures do not account for food or energy prices.
Both Santelli and Ruhle noted that the Federal Reserve underestimated inflation. Santelli said that the Fed “went on the shoulder of the road thinking inflation would be moderating.”
Ruhle said that when she spoke with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen several months ago, she was saying that inflation was “temporary” and that the country would get through it when it gets through COVID.
“They underestimated this,” Ruhle said.
Biden is expected to announce the authorization of E15 gasoline, gasoline that uses 15% ethanol, to be sold throughout the summer. This is part of the administration’s efforts to alleviate increased gas prices.
The price of meat, beef, pork and poultry have gone up 14.8%, 16%, 15.3% and 13.2% respectively, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Biden said in December when inflation hit 6.8% that it was “the peak of the crisis.”
“You’ll see it change sooner, quicker, more rapidly than people think,” the president claimed at the time.