MSNBC host's Marie Antoinette moment: Just tap into your savings to pay for higher grocery prices

Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Meh, what’s the big deal? It doesn’t really matter that Americans are paying more for groceries these days because everyone saved so much money during the pandemic. That is the logic coming from MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle. She called it a “dirty little secret” that Americans can afford higher prices.

Ruhle is an MSNBC business correspondent so it caused some eyebrows to raise when she told NBC anchor Willie Geist this malarkey. She told Geist, “The dirty little secret here, Willie, while nobody likes to pay more, on average, we have the money to do so. Household savings hit a record high over the pandemic, we didn’t really have anywhere to go out and spend.” This happened during her interview with Geist on the Today Show segment Sunday Focus. One of my colleagues at MRC/Newsbusters described her aptly – “inflation airhead”.

This wasn’t even the first time Ruhle offered such an opinion. Sure, inflation is rising and wages aren’t keeping up but it’s no biggie.

While speaking to Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb on The Today Show, Ruhle acknowledged the rise of inflation is out-pacing the rise in wages saying “that bigger pay check you’re getting, that money’s getting wiped out.”

Trying to show that the situation wasn’t all doom and gloom, Ruhle went on to point out that while prices of things like eggs, steak and gasoline are up, “people can afford to pay those prices.”

In October, the Department of Labor reported a 6.2% increase in the consumer price index. That was the largest annual increase since 1990. Top economists explain that COVID shutdowns caused supply chain shortages and businesses couldn’t keep up with demands. Ruhle also blames the pandemic for the problems consumers are facing now. Funny, when the administration and their wingmen in the media are crowing about good numbers on employment or hiring, no one bothers to explain that were it not for the pandemic, those would not have happened, either. Millions of people lost their jobs when the country was initially locked down. Anyway, Ruhle said the current rate of inflation is “challenging” but Americans are complaining about something that can quickly be fixed. Do tell, Stephanie. If that’s the case, why isn’t it being done?

It isn’t being done because it isn’t that simple. Biden’s economic policies have fueled the rise of inflation. His policies paid people to stay home and not go back to work when employers were able to hire people back. Some checks sent out to unemployed workers were higher than the paychecks the workers were bringing home pre-pandemic. Small businesses have to pay higher wages to find people to fill positions and those costs are passed on to consumers.

For people able to put extra money away during the pandemic, more power to them. However, for a large part of the population, that wasn’t the case. Families struggled to pay bills and keep going. Are we to think it is normal to have to dip into savings to pay for groceries and gas for our cars now? What about people on fixed incomes? Ruhle pointed out that Social Security checks will increase at the first of the year to reflect a cost of living increase. That wouldn’t be necessary, though, if inflation wasn’t a real problem. We were originally told inflation was just a temporary occurrence that wouldn’t last long. We now know that isn’t the case. Market values on homes have increased in many areas of the country but so have rent prices. Ruhle pointed out that the stock market is doing well which is fine but not everyone is invested in the stock market. I’m old enough to remember during the last administration when the stock market shot up like a rocket, Democrats and their cohorts in the media pooh-poohed the idea that everyone benefits from that.

So it’s why you see things like, that expanded child tax credit. You have the families of over 60 million kids on average getting f$430 a month. For people on fixed income, older people, on social security, they are getting those fixed incomes adjusted next year at 5.9 percent for inflation,’ she said.

‘And as we said a moment ago we are expecting retail sales this holiday season to break records, for those who own the values of their homes is expected to go up. And while the stock market isn’t the economy, you’ve got over half American households with some investments in the market,’ she argued.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and White House economic adviser Brian Deese divided up the Sunday morning political shows yesterday to spread the word that it’s the pandemic that is holding up progress with bringing the rate of inflation down. Yellen wasn’t exactly inspiring hope of immediate relief for consumers. Rising prices will be with us well into 2022.

“It’s important to realize that the cause of this inflation is the pandemic,” Yellen said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday.

“If we want to get inflation down, I think continuing to make progress against the pandemic is the most important thing we can do,” she said.

“When labor supply normalizes and the pattern of demand normalizes, I would expect that, if we’re successful with the pandemic, to be sometime in the second half of next year, I would expect prices to go back to normal,” Yellen said.

Brian Deese said the government just needs to spend more money. He said Joe Manchin is wrong to oppose another trillion-dollar spending bill, the Build Back Better social spending bill.

“All of these things go right at lowering costs for American families,” Deese said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

He said the extra spending would not add to inflation because it would be “fully paid for” through tax hikes on corporations and high-income households. The administration is “confident that this bill is going to come up in the House this week, that we’ll get a vote, it will pass and it will move on to the Senate,” Deese said on ABC’s “This Week.”

He declined to say whether Biden would tap the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to help lower gasoline prices.

“The president has made clear that all options are on the table,” Deese said on CNN. “We’re monitoring the situation very carefully.”

No, the solution isn’t to open up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. That’s a short-term action that will have a minimal if any, effect on gas prices. What will bring down prices is to increase the availability of oil and gas through domestic production. Joe Biden is hellbent to destroy the fossil fuel industry in this country and we are seeing the results of his wrong-headed decisions to shut down pipelines and deny leases to drill for oil and gas.

Winter is coming, as are the holidays. I hope you saved that sixteen cents you saved from the Fourth of July barbeque this year because you’ll need it to pay for Thanksgiving dinner this month. That is if you can find the ingredients you and your family enjoy.