Former Obama Auto Czar On Inflation: Americans Losing Purchasing Power, ‘Are Really Unhappy About’ It

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Former Obama administration economic adviser Steven Rattner, now an MSNBC economic analyst, signaled on Wednesday morning that Democrats are facing electoral problems in part because American’s lives are not improving under President Joe Biden.

“In fact, American’s lives aren’t better necessarily” because real wages had declined once inflation was accounted for, Rattner said. “This is inflation. And this is what the American people are really unhappy about. Inflation, for the first time in a long time, is polling number one, broadly speaking across the nation as the issue.”

“Americans are actually losing purchase [power], for all that you read about wage increases, Amazon and this, and so on, Americans wages are actually going down at the moment in real terms after inflation,” Rattner continued. “Gas is $3.40 across the nation. That’s the highest since 2014. There was a poll in October in which 89% of Americans said they were very concerned about the economy. There was a poll in October also that said that half the Americans expect the economy get worse, not better, over the next few months.”

WATCH:

TRANSCRIPT:

STEVEN RATTNER, FORMER OBAMA ECONOMIC ADVISER: Let me show you the answer in chart number three, which is, in fact, American’s lives aren’t better necessarily because when you look on the left here, this shows you what happens to real wages, wages after adjustment for inflation. And you can see the dotted line is the trend line, and real wages after inflation actually jumped up during the pandemic, mostly because prices went down. But what’s happened since then? This is inflation. And this is what the American people are really unhappy about, inflation for the first time in a long time is polling number one, broadly speaking across the nation as the issue. And so you can see, in fact, that pink area shows you the gap between the trend line, where wages were supposed to be going, and where real wages after adjustment inflation actually going. Americans are actually losing purchase [power], for all that you read about wage increases, Amazon and this, and so on, Americans wages are actually going down at the moment in real terms after inflation. Gas is $3.40 across the nation. That’s the highest since 2014. There was a poll in October in which 89% of Americans said they were very concerned about the economy. There was a poll in October also that said that half the Americans expect the economy get worse, not better, over the next few months. And you can see that in the chart on the right, which compares sentiment about jobs to just general sentiment. And you can see that they track closely, closely, closely, and then suddenly they diverge. Why did they diverge? Americans know there are a lot of jobs, but they’re still unhappy about the economy because of inflation, because of the purchasing power.

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