The White House spun disappointing inflation numbers by saying consumer prices were on the way down while preparing the public for sticker shock to continue until next year.
Inflation had decelerated by 50% over recent months, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, adding the administration had "been planning for" higher prices.
"We've seen a decrease over the course of time," she told reporters on Wednesday. "Over the second and third quarter of this year, monthly inflation increases have actually decelerated."
Psaki declined to speculate that the Federal Reserve's use of the word "transitory" to describe inflation was problematic for White House messaging. The administration's approach to inflation was "not about patience," according to Psaki.
"It's important to preserve the independence of the Federal Reserve, and that can give the American people confidence in its projections," she said.
Psaki said that President Joe Biden took office "at a time when we needed to turn the economy back on, where he was coming in at a time where unemployment was high, where wages were down, where demand was down," necessitating some higher government spending and potentially leading to higher prices.
"We all understand the American people are not looking at cost-to-cost comparisons from this year to two years ago," she said.
Consumer prices rose 5.4% compared to September 2020, according to Labor Department data released on Wednesday. The figures indicate inflation is at a 13-year high, one reason why the Social Security Administration announced on Wednesday that it was rolling out the largest cost of living adjustment in almost four decades.
The White House also introduced a range of policies aimed at addressing supply chain kinks before the holiday period, including expanding port operation hours. The Port of Los Angeles will now run 24 hours, seven days a week, to minimize shipping delays. But Psaki refused to "guarantee" packages would arrive on time this festive season.
"What we are doing is working to use every tool at our disposal to ease the impact on the American people, ease impact on families, as we look to the holidays but certainly beyond," she said. "We can't overpromise here, and I'm not going to do that because we know there are a lot of issues in the global supply chain."
Washington Examiner Videos
Original Author: Naomi Lim
Original Location: White House insists inflation is decreasing after record September numbers