Buttigieg faces ‘misnamed’ Inflation Reduction Act, party amid soaring prices

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TBEN host Joe Kernen pressed U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on the White House’s celebration of the Inflation Reduction Act, as well as the rhetoric about the legislation, during an interview on “Squawk Box” Friday.

Last Tuesday, the Biden administration held a celebration of the Inflation Reduction Act on the White House lawn, the same day that higher-than-expected inflation was announced in August and the Dow Jones Industrial Average had its worst day since June 2020.

“It wasn’t called the Climate Act, you called it deliberate, and some people would say it wrongly, the Inflation Reduction Act, and you’re celebrating it on a day when we had another 40 years of inflation,” Kernen told Buttigieg.

“And you know how that affects people at the bottom of things. It’s like the most insidious problem an economy can face,” he continued.

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WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 13: United States Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg conducts a televised interview with TBEN outside the White House on October 13, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
(Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Buttigieg defended the legislation, trying to portray it as an attempt to cut costs for consumers.

“The worst thing about inflation is that it means people are by definition paying too much for things and what this bill does is people pay less for things,” Buttigieg said.

According to estimates from the Congressional Budget Office and the Wharton Budget Model at the University of Pennsylvania, the Inflation Reduction Act will have a negligible effect on inflation.

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U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg addresses the news media at a press conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., Nov. 8, 2021.

U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg addresses the news media at a press conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., Nov. 8, 2021.
(REUTERS/Leah Millis)

Buttigieg himself admitted that not everything in the Inflation Reduction Act is relevant to inflation.

“Look, we can have a very different conversation over drinks about what bills are called, the acronyms they come up with, the names we come up with, I get it,” he said. “There are many different things that are part of this bill, only a few of which are related to inflation, but in my opinion, all of those will make a big, very positive and historic difference to the American people.”

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Inflation stood at 8.3 percent in August according to consumer price index data released by the Labor Department earlier this month. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who was nominated for the position by President Biden last year, has stated that the Fed will raise interest rates for as long as it takes to curb inflation, even if that means America will have a going through a recession.