Published September 13, 2022
Tuesday’s inflation numbers showed that prices continue to rise at near-record levels despite falling gasoline prices. That means the Federal Reserve will likely continue to jack up interest rates — good for the fight against crushing grocery bills, but bad for Democrats ahead of the midterms.
Don’t let the fact that overall prices rose from July to August by only 0.1 percent fool you. That slow one-month rise, like July’s zero percent rise, was caused almost exclusively by declining prices at the gas pump. Food, shelter and most other items in the Consumer Price Index continued to go up. Food consumed at home, for example, has now increased by 13.5 percent over the last year, which the Labor Department says is the highest yearly hike since March 1979. So the money Americans save when filling their tanks simply goes out the door to pay for the food on their tables.
Henry Olsen, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, studies and provides commentary on American politics. His work focuses on how America’s political order is being upended by populist challenges, from the left and the right. He also studies populism’s impact in other democracies in the developed world.