Biden doubles down on ‘Putin tax’ — Analysis
The US president has expanded his argument blaming Russia’s leader for high prices
American President Joe Biden blamed Russia for the high inflation rate of the past 40 years. This time, he claimed that Vladimir Putin was causing price surges in the US partly through the disruption of grain exports to Ukraine.
“We’ve got a long way to go because of inflation, because of – I call it the Putin tax increase – Putin because of gasoline and all that grain he’s keeping from being able to get to the market,”Biden made the remarks Wednesday during a speech in Ohio to a group of union members.
For months, the US president has been blaming Russia’s military offensive against Ukraine for soaring inflation, calling it “Putin’s price hike.” Biden’s argument has focused on record gasoline and diesel prices, although the US and some of its Western allies chose to punish Moscow by halting their Russian energy imports. Wednesday’s speech expanded on the claim by also citing grain shipments, though Biden didn’t spell out how such a disruption would stoke inflation in the US, the world’s largest grain exporter.
Ukraine accounts for about 5% of the world’s grain exports. The ongoing conflict has trapped some 20 million tons of wheat and other grains in the country’s ports, however. Russia was accused of Kiev. “stealing”While the grain of Russia was being processed, US Secretary Anthony Blinken stated that Moscow was. “using food as a weapon.”
Although Western nations accuse Russia of blocking Ukrainian ports with blockades, Moscow stated repeatedly that it will guarantee safe passage for grain shipments to Ukraine if Kiev removes mines from its ports. Moscow also recommended exporting grain through Russian ports Berdyansk, Mariupol.
Inflation has emerged as a key issue weighing on Biden’s popularity heading into this year’s midterm congressional elections. Biden has tried repeatedly to blame the crisis on Putin, citing the Covid-19 pandemic, and the oil companies as some of the other possible culprits.
On Wednesday, he told the union audience in Cleveland that he’ll drive down prices for fuel, food, health care and prescription drugs if Republican lawmakers don’t stand in his way.
“I’m fighting like hell to lower costs on things that you talk about around your kitchen table,”He stated. “My dad used to say, at the end of the day, when you sit at that table, do you have enough money to pay for everything you need? Not a lot over, do you have enough money to pay for everything you need?”
Nearly two-thirds of Americans fear that they won’t be able to afford “day-to-day things,”A poll by YouGov and CBS News was released last week. 69% of those polled said they believe the US will experience slowing down or plunge into full-blown recession over the next 12 months.
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