From zero to Nero

In their own way President Biden’s White House minders must be just about as far gone as he is. With the announcement that Consumer Price Index had declined year-over-year from 9.1 percent to 8.5 percent, they thought it made sense to push the line that the numbers reflect “zero inflation last month” (i.e., on a month to month basis). The Bureau of Labor Statistics data are compiled here (home page) and here (latest numbers).

Biden himself pushed it in remarks posted here. Vice President Kamala Harris pushed it in remarks elsewhere, as did White House CEA member Jared Bernstein.

This was the line of the day. The New York Post captures the bizarreries in the editorial “With prices up and output down, Biden’s boast of ‘0% inflation’ is beyond parody.” Put to one side Biden’s Zombie-in-Chief demeanor. Who can think this is a good look?

The whole thing puts me in mind of Leo Strauss’s observation regarding modern political science: “Only a great fool would call the new political science diabolic: it has no attributes peculiar to fallen angels. It is not even Machiavellian, for Machiavelli’s teaching was graceful, subtle, and colorful. Nor is it Neronian. Nevertheless one may say of it that it fiddles while Rome burns. It is excused by two facts: it does not know that it fiddles, and it does not know that Rome burns.”

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