The Biden administration might be trying to push the narrative that skyrocketing inflation is a temporary concern—one that's under control—but Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen isn't playing along. Yellen warned earlier in the week that Americans are likely to contend with another year of surging inflation.
In a Thursday interview, Yellen told CNBC that inflation would likely persist at "very uncomfortably high" levels for the next year. Although she stated she didn't want to make any definitive calls, Yellen said, she wasn't optimistic.
"I don't want to make a prediction exactly as to what's going to happen in the second half of the year, you know, we're likely to see another year in which 12-month inflation numbers remain very uncomfortably high," she said.
Yellen also commented that the conflict in Ukraine would likely play a part in keeping prices on the upward trend. "I think there's a lot of uncertainty that is related to what's going on with Russia in Ukraine," Yellen told CNBC during the TV interview Thursday. "And I do think that it's exacerbating inflation."
Specifically, Yellen said in the segment she believes the conflict in Eastern Europe will likely impact products like wheat and crude oil.
Yellen's comments conflict with messaging from White House press secretary Jen Psaki who earlier in the day commented that inflation would be "moderate" in the coming months. Psaki told outlets the inflation was largely transitional in nature as the economy continued to heal from the effects of COVID-19.
The Biden administration has had to fend off the political fallout of rising inflation as the nation draws closer to the November midterm elections. Conservative economists have pointed to the government's influx of spending as a key source of rising prices—a sentiment Biden has repeatedly rejected.
"I'm sick of this stuff,” Biden told a Democratic retreat in Philadelphia earlier this week in reference to questions of inflation. "The American people think the reason for inflation is the government spending more money. Simply not true."
Data from the Department of Labor and its latest assessment of the consumer price index indicate that household living has risen 7.5 percent in cost year-over-year between 2022 and 2021. The CPI, made up of prices from costs of all household goods and services, tracks an aggregate of key areas that Americans spend on in day-to-day life. Energy, food, utilities, and the various other elements that comprise the CPI have all pointed to the upward trend in prices.
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