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CBS News Host Confronts Biden WH Official Over Claim Inflation Mainly Caused by Putin's War

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CBS News “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan pressed Biden White House top economic advisor Brian Deese on Sunday concerning the administration’s claim that Russia’s war in Ukraine is the primary driver of inflation in the U.S.

Brennan showed a graph indicating inflation began moving sharply up after President Joe Biden assumed office in January 2021.

“As you can see the tick up began a good year before the war in Ukraine began,” the journalist said.

“A number of economists, including at the San Francisco Fed, have said that the tremendous fiscal spending that went underway, the $6 trillion in two years did add to that, including, as you can see right on there, the $2 trillion the Biden administration pushed through in the spring of 2021,” Brennan continued.

Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan into law in March 2021.

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The legislation included enhanced unemployment benefits, direct deposit monthly child tax credit payments and food stamps among other programs that some experts contended encouraged people not to return to the workforce.

“So when people look at that and they say, ‘Well, the White House told us that inflation would be transitory. The White House told us we could go through with this kind of spending,’ even when Democrats within your own party were warning this would add to inflation. How do you win credibility here to the public and say, ‘This time we’re not wrong’?” the CBS News personality asked.

Do you think Biden's policies have contributed significantly to inflation?

Deese responded, “You just have to look around the world today to recognize that the two principle drivers of inflation are the pandemic and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin.”

“We’re seeing this everywhere. It is a global phenomenon. As I mentioned in the U.K. inflation’s hit 9 percent. In Europe …,” he added, before Brennan cut him off.

“Right, those are the things you can’t control. I’m talking about the things you can. So how do you win that credibility back?” Brennan questioned.

Deese pointed to actions Biden has taken to try to address inflation, including releasing one million barrels of oil a day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

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He also said the administration is “looking closely” at lowering tariffs on goods coming in from China.

Deese further stated the White House supports legislation to reduce prescription drug prices and increase tax incentives for energy production, presumably green energy production as proposed in Biden’s Build Back Better legislation.

The economic adviser said Biden also wants to lower the federal deficit through “long overdue tax reform.” For months, the president has consistently advocated for raising taxes on corporations and upper income Americans.

Brennan sounded doubtful that such a move would address inflation.

“Hiking taxes isn’t going to change the price of milk,” she said. “When and how are you actually putting forward this package?”

Deese responded that the details were still be worked out on Capitol Hill.

Brennan interjected, “It failed back when Build Back Better’s version of it.”

Several prominent economists have argued the Biden administration’s policies have led to higher inflation in the United States than many other developed nations in the world.

The U.S. has an 8.6 percent inflation rate as of last month, which is the highest since 1981.

Figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development in April show some of the many nations with lower inflation include Canada (6.8 percent), France (4.8 percent), Israel (4 percent) and Japan (2.5 percent).

In a March 2022 letter, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco said, “[S]ince the first half of 2021, U.S. inflation has increasingly outpaced inflation in other developed countries.

“Estimates suggest that fiscal support measures designed to counteract the severity of the pandemic’s economic effect may have contributed to this divergence by raising inflation about 3 percentage points by the end of 2021.”

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