During MSNBC’s State of the Union coverage on Tuesday, Economics Professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business Austan Goolsbee, who served as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama, stated that “we’re still going to have to just bull through” the “worst” of inflation, releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve will only have a marginal impact, and that he’s skeptical about the immediate impact going after monopolization and price gouging would have on inflation.
Goolsbee said it’s “fair” to say things Biden mentioned would help the economy. He further stated, “So, the thing about inflation…is, in the here and now, gas prices were already up, and now you’ve got war in Ukraine, and that’s driving gas prices up even more. So, I think, the worst of this, we’re still going to have to just bull through it. The implication of what the president said, I think, is that the short-run job on inflation, he’s going to leave to the Fed, that most of the things that he’s calling for, a bunch of them require congressional approval, like we’re going to cut your healthcare costs and your childcare costs. Those are things they’ve got to pass legislation. If they release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, that could have some immediate impact, but it would be on the margin, I think, for sure.”
He added, “As you know, there’s a lot of controversy around how much of the inflation that we’ve seen is coming from monopolization, price gouging, and how much is just coming from we’re in this weird moment where people started buying physical goods rather than services because of COVID. I thought he had some good lines. The line that capitalism without competition is not capitalism. I think he’s right about that. I just, personally, from the economic perspective, I don’t know how big — even if you did everything you could do in that space, I don’t know how much of the overall inflation you would impact, in the short run.”
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