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CNBC host Joe Kernen pressed US Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on the White House’s celebration of the Cut Inflation Act as well as its rhetoric on the legislation during an interview on “Squawk Box” Friday.
Last Tuesday, the Biden administration held a Cut Inflation Act celebration on the White House lawn, the same day higher-than-expected inflation in August was announced and the Dow Jones Industrial Average reported. had its worst day since June 2020.
“It wasn’t called the Climate Act, you deliberately, and some people would say wrongly, named it the Cut Inflation Act, and you celebrate it on a day when, again, we we’ve had forty years of inflation,” Kernen told Buttigieg.
“And you know how it affects people at the bottom, it’s like the most insidious problem an economy can face,” he continued.
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Buttigieg defended the legislation and tried to frame it as an effort to cut costs for consumers.
“The worst thing about inflation is that people are paying too much by definition and what this bill does is allow people to pay less,” Buttigieg replied.
According to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Budget Model, the Inflation Reduction Act will have a negligible effect on inflation.
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Buttigieg himself admitted that everything in the Inflation Reduction Act is irrelevant to inflation.
“Look, we can have a whole other conversation over drinks about how bills are named, what acronyms they come up with, what names we come up with, I get it,” he said. “There are a lot of different things that are part of this bill, only some of which are related to inflation, but in my opinion, all of which are going to make a very positive and historic big difference for the American people.”
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The inflation rate was 8.3% in August according to consumer price index data released by the Labor Department earlier this month. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who was renominated for the job last year by President Biden, said the Fed would raise interest rates for as long as it takes to bring inflation down , even if it means America is in a recession.