The Last Time Inflation Was This High, Dolly Parton's '9 to 5' Topped the Charts

April 12, 2022

Inflation under President Joe Biden has hit its highest level since 1981, according to a Tuesday Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

The Consumer Price Index, which measures the prices of U.S. goods and services, rose 1.2 percent in March, pushing the yearly rate to 8.5 percent. Food and energy saw the highest increases, with gas prices up 18.3 percent in the last month. On March 11, the average price for a gallon of gas peaked at $4.33. The rising costs will fall disproportionately on the working class "because they're a bigger share of their budgets," economist Justin Wolfers said following the inflation report.

The report comes after inflation reached a 40-year high in February, spurred on by trillions of dollars' worth in federal stimulus spending and disruptions to the energy supply chain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

A national poll in mid-March found that four in five voters want Biden to increase U.S. energy production. His administration has yet to do so, but has tapped the nation's strategic petroleum reserves and banned all Russian imports of oil and gas to the United States.

The White House has blamed Russian sanctions for the price hikes. On Monday, Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters to expect "headline inflation to be extraordinarily elevated due to Putin's price hike." But some economists, including former Barack Obama adviser Steve Rattner, have said Biden is responsible, noting that the price increases predate Russia's Feb. 24 invasion.

"These are Feb #'s and only include small Russia effect," Rattner noted after February's CPI report. "This is Biden's inflation and he needs to own it."