Biden: Inflation Month to Month Is 'Just an Inch, Hardly at All'; 'It Hasn't Spiked'

By Susan Jones | September 19, 2022 | 7:46am EDT
President Joe Biden looks on during a meeting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at the White House on September 16, 2022. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
President Joe Biden looks on during a meeting with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at the White House on September 16, 2022. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

( - As Americans watch their grocery bills climb, President Joe Biden is putting his best possible spin on the highest inflation since 1982.

In an interview with CBS's Scott Pelley that aired on Sunday's "60 Minutes," Biden was asked what he can do "better and faster" to alleviate price inflation:

"Well, first of all, let's put this in perspective. Inflation rate month to month was just-- just an inch, hardly at all--" Biden started to say.

"You're not arguing that 8.3 percent is good news," Pelley interrupted. (The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that year-to-year inflation in August was 8.3 percent, but the monthly increase was 0.1 percent, both numbers higher than expected.)

"No, I'm not saying it is good news," Biden said. "But it was 8.2 percent or -- 8.2 percent before. I mean, it's not-- you're ac-- we act-- make it sound like all of a sudden, 'My god, it went to 8.2 percent. It's been--"

Pelley interrupted again: "It's the highest inflation rate, Mr. President, in 40 years."

"I got that," Biden said:

"But guess what we are. We're in a position where, for the last several months, it hasn't spiked. It has just barely-- it's been basically even. And in the meantime, we created all these jobs and-- and prices-- have-- have gone up, but they've come down for energy.

"The fact is that we've created 10 million new jobs. We're in-- since we came to office. We're in a situation where the-- the unemployment rate is about 3.7 percent. one of the lowest in history. We're in a situation where manufacturing is coming back to the United States in a big way.

“And look down the road, we have mas-- massive investments being made in computer chips and-- and employment. So, I-- look, this is a process. This is a process."

The chart below shows how inflation has accelerated since Biden took office.


Biden said he doesn't expect the economy to get worse before it gets better. "We hope we can have what they say, 'a soft landing,' a transition to a place where we don't lose the gains that I ran to make in the first place for middle-class folks, being able to generate good-paying jobs and-- expansion. And at the same time-- make sure that we-- we are-- are able to continue to grow."

Pelley asked if Biden "would tell the American people that inflation is going to continue to decline?"

"No, I'm telling the American people that we're gonna get control of inflation," Biden said.

"And their prescription drug prices are gonna be a hell of a lotta lower. Their health care costs are gonna be a lot lower. Their basic costs for everybody, their energy prices are gonna be lower. They're gonna be in a situation where they begin to gain control again.  I'm-- more optimistic than I've been in a long time."

Biden said he can prevent a recession by continuing "to grow the economy. And we're growing the economy. It's growing in-- in a way that it hasn't in years and years."

"How so?" Pelley asked.

"We're growing entire new industries," Biden said. "Six hundred and ninety-five, I think it is, or eighty-five thousand new manufacturing jobs just since I've become president in United States. Continue to grow the economy and continue to give hard-working people a break in terms of we pay the highest drug prices in the world of any industrialized nation. Making sure that Medicare can negotiate down those prices.

"By the way, we've also reduced the debt and reduced the deficit by $350 billion my first year. This year, it's gonna be over $1.5 trillion reduced the debt. So, to continue to put people in a position to be able to make a decent living and grow, and grow, and increase their capacity to grow."

Biden and his fellow Democrats call tax increases debt reduction.

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