Ron Klain, President Joe Biden’s White House Chief of Staff, is being criticized for retweeting a post from a Harvard professor that called the top economic issues facing Americans as “high-class problems.”
Klain, himself a multimillionaire worth an estimated $4.4 to $12.2 million, brushed off record-high inflation and the supply-chain crisis.
Conservatives on social media quickly took issue with Klain’s retweet, saying that he was downplaying the difficulties and hardships that many Americans are experiencing.
“Struggling to pay for food, fuel, and housing because of rising prices is not a ‘high-class problem,'” tweeted Tommy Pigott, the Republican National Committee’s rapid response director.
“Biden is making everyone worse off, but instead of stopping the damage, their strategy is to try to gaslight Americans.”
Prices have jumped in part because container ships are stranded at ports waiting to be loaded onto trucks, while others are lined up and stranded off-shore with nowhere to dock.
The situation in the ports has led to delays and mass shortages.
As inflation rises, ordinary Americans face sharp increases in fuel, food, and housing.
Wholesale prices jumped a record 8.6 percent, and the Consumer Price Index rose 5.4 percent last month.
Inflation at these levels negatively affects Americans on fixed incomes, such as the elderly and individuals with disabilities, the hardest. Households earning the $70,000 median annual income pay an extra $175 per month.
In February 2020, the pre-Covid unemployment rate was a low 3.5%. Less than two years later, 40% of households report serious financial difficulties, including paying essential bills and expenses. That number is 60% for families earning $50,000 or less per year.
Growing inflation, supply shortages
Rising costs are creating a drag on growth and eating into worker pay, ramping up Republican criticism of Biden, who has instead focused on pushing through his multi-trillion-dollar tax, climate, economic, and infrastructure plan.
Biden’s infrastructure plan is stuck presently in congressional negotiations.
Biden also dismissed the below-expected number of jobs added last month. One hundred ninety-four thousand jobs were added, well below the expected 500,000. “The monthly totals bounce around,” the president said.
“I don’t think it’s as bad as what everyone’s reporting,” said Labor Secretary Marty Walsh of his own department’s numbers.
Financial experts say injecting trillions into an already-recovering economy caused inflation.
The influx of money combined with the increase in unemployment benefits by $300 per week resulted in a worker shortage, a rise in demand, and the supply-chain fiasco with record job openings in the trucking industry.
For more than a month, a backlog of nearly 100 cargo ships has sat off the coast of Southern California, unable to dock or unload goods at ports that handle over half of U.S. imports.
President Biden only recently announced a deal to expand operations at the Port of Los Angeles as container ships wait to dock and prices keep climbing. The logjam threatens the U.S. economy and the holiday shopping season.