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The actual rate of increase over two years is lower, at 12%, though that’s still substantial.
Johnson ignored that wages have also increased, lessening the burden, although not as much as prices have.
In his acceptance speech after being elected speaker of the House, Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., criticized President Joe Biden’s stewardship of the economy.
He offered a series of statistics to make his case in the Oct. 25 speech, touching on credit card debt, mortgage rates and inflation.
"Prices have increased over 17% in the last two years," Johnson said.
Johnson has a point that prices have increased over two years, but not by 17%. He also ignored that wages have also increased, though not as much as prices.
For the two-year period from September 2021 to September 2023, the standard inflation metric, the consumer price index, rose by 12%.
That’s high by historical standards, which over a two-year period would be between 4% and 6%, but short of the 17% Johnson cited.
Meanwhile, the consumer price index on its own does not paint a complete picture of how prices affect American spending.
Average hourly earnings of all private employees, a standard metric of worker pay, rose by 9.4%.
The bad news is this means worker pay lost ground against inflation. The somewhat less bad news is that the average worker didn’t lose 12% in purchasing power, as a look at the inflation statistic by itself would signal, but something more like 2.6%. And that’s over two years, meaning that over the course of a year, the average earner would be falling behind by about 1.3%.
Johnson’s office sent PolitiFact data showing that consumer prices have increased 17% since the beginning of Joe Biden’s term in January 2021. However, Johnson said "two years," not two years and nine months.
All in all, not great news for the typical worker, but not quite as impactful as the 17% figure Johnson cited in his speech.
The statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details, so we rate it Half True.
Mike Johnson, acceptance speech for speaker of the House, Oct. 25, 2023
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, consumer price index, accessed Oct. 26, 2023
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, average hourly earnings of all private employees, accessed Oct. 26, 2023
Statement from the office of Mike Johnson, Oct. 26, 2023
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