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White House’s Inflation Optimism: Prices ‘Very Close to Normal’

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White House adviser Gene Sperling acknowledged it has been a tough few years for Americans but argued inflation is moderating based on the latest PCE price index reading of 2.4-2.8%, close to normal levels.

While some prices remain higher than before, Sperling said prices are moving in the right direction overall and moderating in some areas like eggs and milk.

He stressed Biden is fighting to lower costs through proposals to reduce junk fees, drug costs, and childcare costs.

Sperling said, “It’s been a tough few years since the pandemic,” but “inflation is coming down. In fact, it was really 2.4% in this measure, 2.8% if you don’t include food and gas. And that’s not good enough, but it is very close to normal. And there are a lot of different areas where you have seen prices come down.”

Sperling recognized frustration over rising grocery and gas prices but noted inflation is necessary and the administration wants to have a respectful discussion about whether inflation is near normal rates and in key areas is coming down.

He pledged Biden will continue fighting to help Americans who have struggled in recent years.

He added, “I think people have been through a tough few years and they went through 2022 when you had the variants and the global economy was getting back and you had supply chain issues and they saw prices come up. And I think it’s reasonable for people to feel like it’s been a somewhat rough few years. And there may be a lag in people starting to say, hey, now I do see that prices are moving in the right direction. And sometimes you have things like eggs or lettuce or milk where prices are going down. People say, yeah, but they’re still higher than they were, and I respect that. What I want them to know, though, is that it’s still worth understanding the facts and it’s not wrong to communicate facts about prices are moderating.”

Sperling said, “But what I want them to know is that this president is fighting to lower costs. And the fights that are going on right now are about getting rid of junk fees, price gouging, the president’s brought down prescription drug costs, prices for insulin. He is fighting to do more on those grounds, fighting to lower childcare costs. So, if you want to fight — if you want to talk about what we could do to lower costs for families, it would be to encourage Republicans to work with this president on the multitude of proposals he has made to lower costs. … And we’re going to just do everything we can. We’re going to respect that people are feeling frustrated — or some people are, but it doesn’t mean that it is also not true that, over this last year, people’s wages have gone up more than inflation.”

“To not have prices go up at all would be to have zero inflation or deflation. So, let’s talk, respectably, about whether we’re near the normal rates of inflation and whether some key areas are coming down, and they are. And I do respect that people are still feeling some struggles, that it’s been a tough few years, and that’s why we’re still fighting for them,” Sperling said.

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