Administration still blaming others for inflation | EDITORIAL

President Joe Biden. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

President Joe Biden is on the verge of going full Jimmy Carter. But at least Mr. Carter had the integrity during his four years in the White House to accept responsibility for the consequences of his own policies. Mr. Biden shows no such courage.

On Tuesday, the White House conjured up another scapegoat for rapidly rising consumer prices as the latest inflation report — 8.5 percent over the past 12 months — delivered more bad news. This time the bogeyman was Greg Abbott, the Republican governor of Texas.

Gov. Abbott recently announced that — in response to the president’s decision to rescind a temporary public health order that allowed border agents to turn away migrants during the pandemic — the Lone Star state would begin its own inspections of certain vehicles entering Texas from Mexico. White House press secretary Jen Psaki responded Wednesday by saying the policy is “causing significant disruptions to the food and automobile supply chains, delaying manufacturing, impacting jobs and raising prices for families in Texas and across the country.”

Last month, Mr. Biden told a meeting of House Democrats, “Make no mistake, inflation’s largely the fault of Putin.” He continued the theme this week during a visit to Iowa, when he insisted that “70 percent of the increase in prices in March came from Putin’s price hike in gasoline.”

And then there are the Senate Democrats who point the finger at “corporate greed” to explain why Americans are paying more at the pump and the market. This is a favorite theme of leftist Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Of course the evil capitalist conspiracy theory has a gaping hole: Why did these plotting CEOs decide to raise prices now, after three decades of relative stability? Did all that latent greed come bubbling to the surface only in the past year?

At no point has this administration accepted even a modicum of responsibility for overheating an economy that was well on the way to recovery following the pandemic. Never mind that the president’s team and the Keynesians at the Fed preaching demand-side economics spent months dismissing warnings that inflation was poised to bloom, erroneously insisting that any price surges would be “transitory.”

The voting public can see through Mr. Biden’s thick smoke. A new Reuters/Ipsos poll puts the president’s approval rating at 41 percent, just a point above his personal low. A Rasmussen survey from late March showed that 68 percent of respondents felt that White House policies have triggered inflation.

“At a certain point, a new president assumes ownership of the problems,” Peter Baker of The New York Times wrote in a 2009 analysis of Barack Obama, “and finds himself answering for his own actions.” The question 13 years later: Will Mr. Biden ever arrive at that moment?