Dec 10, 2021 - Economy

Economist group touts Build Back Better as inflation offset

Illustration of a fountain pen and two ink lines twisted into a dollar sign shape

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

With inflation numbers expected to come out hot this morning, a group of 56 economists says President Biden’s Build Back Better Act would counteract the impact of rising prices on Americans’ wallets.

Driving the news: The economists signed a letter, released Friday morning in conjunction with left-leaning advocacy group Invest in America Action, urging Congress to pass the social spending plan swiftly, in order to get the ball rolling on programs that will lower costs for essentials like child care, health care and education.

  • Notable signatories include Alan Blinder, former vice chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, and Elgie Holstein, former special assistant to the president for economic policy at the White House National Economic Council.

Why it matters: Inflation has rocketed into the nation’s consciousness over the last few months as prices rose faster than many economists had expected. Individual perceptions of it — either as temporary, or a near-existential threat, or something in between — are an outsized driver of consumer sentiment and political approval right now.

Be smart: As such, it's the latest hot button issue that groups of all stripes can latch onto to promote their agendas.

  • For instance, the GOP has gone all-in on a campaign to blame Biden for inflation, even adopting the term “Bidenflation.”

The backstory: While Republican groups insist that Build Back Better spending would further stoke inflation, the White House cites statements like this one from 17 Nobel laureates to argue the opposite, as Axios’ Hans Nichols has reported.

What's next: It's increasingly likely that Build Back Better, passed by the House last month, won't come to a vote in the Senate until next year, as the Washington Post reports.

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