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US inflation rate hits 8.5%, a 40-year high; White House blames Putin

President Joe Biden, Nov. 15, 2021, on the South Lawn of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Cameron Smith)
April 12, 2022

The U.S. inflation rate jumped to 8.5 percent in March, a level not seen in 40 years, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Tuesday. The White House said Russian President Vladimir Putin is to blame for the shocking statistics.

The cost of living for Americans continued to climb last month. Inflation rose 1.2 percent in March, the highest monthly gain since 2005.

Among the highest increases was gasoline, which shot up another 18.3 percent, making up more than half of the cost-of-living increase last month. The cost of rent also increased 0.4 percent in March.

Over the past year, groceries rose 10 percent, energy jumped 32 percent, electricity increased to 11.1 percent and oil reached a staggering 70.1 percent.

The cost of airline fares, household furnishings and operations, medical care, and motor vehicle insurance also increased in March.

During a press briefing on Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki again blamed Putin for the rising inflation rate.

“We expect March CPI headline inflation to be extraordinarily elevated due to Putin’s price hike,” Psaki said. “We expect a large difference between core and headline inflation reflecting the global disruptions in energy and food markets.”

The White House also blamed Putin’s invasion of Ukraine for skyrocketing gas prices, which reached a record high of $4.33 on March 11, the American Automobile Association reported.

“At times, gas prices were more than one dollar above pre-invasion levels, so that roughly 25% increase in gas prices will drive tomorrow’s inflation reading,” Psaki said.

Psaki echoed comments made by President Joe Biden last month, when he claimed Putin is responsible for rising energy costs.

“Many people are no longer buying Russian oil around the world. I banned Russian-imported oil here in America, Republicans and Democrats in Congress called for it and support it. It was the right thing to do,” Biden said.

“But as I said at the time, it’s going to come with a cost,” he continued. “As Russian oil comes off the global market, supply of oil drops and prices are rising. Now Putin’s price hike is hitting Americans at the pump.”

Meanwhile, not everyone is buying the administration’s claim that Putin is to blame for America’s struggling economy. After inflation data was released on Tuesday, the hashtag “#Bidenflation” briefly trended on Twitter.

“The White House is now expecting shocking inflation numbers. Here’s the list of the Biden admin’s ever-shifting denial of reality about inflation: It’s not happening. It’s transitory. It’s a high class problem. It’s a good thing. It’s Putin’s fault,” Texas Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted. “It’s #Bidenflation.”

Podcaster Benny Johnson shared a graph highlighting when Biden took office compared to the inflation rate over the last several years.

“This is #Bidenflation,” he tweeted.