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EDITORIAL: Note to Biden on inflation: It’s the Big Macs, stupid

Democrats flummoxed over why Americans are so down on the economy should visit a McDonald’s.

President Joe Biden faces many hurdles in his re-election bid. His approval numbers are historically low. His open-border policies have progressive mayors in many self-proclaimed “sanctuary cities” begging for relief. His foreign policy blunders led to the debacle in Afghanistan. His physical and mental decline are ever more obvious.

That daunting list doesn’t include one of his biggest problems. Voters don’t like this economy — specifically inflation. But the president consistently refuses to acknowledge higher prices are a problem.

Time magazine recently published an interview with Mr. Biden. Its reporters noted cumulative inflation has increased prices by 18 percent since he took office.

“Since who took office? Since I took office?” the president asked. He then said, “Wage increases have exceeded what the cost of inflation, which you’re talking about as the prices that were pre-COVID prices.

“Pre-COVID prices are not the same as whether or not they — you have American, corporate America ripping off the public now. You have everything from shrinkflation to what’s going on in terms of the way in which they’re artificially moving significantly to increase their, their, their, their, their profits. That’s not the same as inflation. That’s price gouging.”

Even if you get lost trying to decipher Mr. Biden’s ramblings, his downplaying of inflation is a slap in the face to Americans struggling to pay for basic staples at the grocery store. Many politicians rely on rhetorical sleight-of-hands or outright deceptions when put in a tough spot. What Mr. Biden is demonstrating, however, is that it’s a mistake to tell people that what’s right in front of them isn’t really there.

Yes, inflation has cooled from its high of 9 percent. But prices remain far higher than when this president took the Oval Office. Restaurant food has gotten particularly expensive.

FinanceBuzz recently looked at increases in fast-food prices since 2014. Wendy’s, Chick-fil-A and Burger King prices are all up 55 percent. Taco Bell is up 81 percent. McDonald’s prices have doubled. The vast majority of those price increases happened after 2019. Undoubtedly, COVID played a role in some price spikes. But they’re hard to miss.

A Big Mac cost $3.99 in 2014. Today, it’s $5.99. Medium fries were $1.59 a decade ago. Now, they’re $3.79. The Quarter Pounder with cheese meal went from $5.39 to $11.99. Little wonder many families have concluded that fast food is a luxury good. Mr. Biden’s economic happy talk can’t convince them otherwise.

James Carville once quipped, “It’s the economy, stupid.” That’s true today with a slight twist: It’s the Big Macs, stupid.

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