Most Americans worry Biden spending plans leading to inflation: poll

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A new national poll indicates that while President Biden’s multi-trillion dollar spending proposals that he’s trying to pass through Congress as well as his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package remain popular with a major of Americans, nearly three quarters are worried that the measures will lead to inflation.

The Monmouth University survey released on Wednesday also points to a dip in the president’s approval rating over the past two months.

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More than seven in 10 Americans have inflation concerns, according to the poll. Forty-seven percent of those questioned said they’re very concerned that the Biden plans will lead to spiraling inflation with 24% saying they’re somewhat concerned. Those who said they were at least somewhat worried included 93% of Republicans, 70% of independents and even 55% of Democrats.

Increases in the nation’s inflation rate this spring have triggered financial market anxieties and sparked criticism from Republicans and even some Democrats that Biden’s COVID package and his push to pass trillions more in spending for infrastructure and jobs, expand access to health care and child care, and provide paid leave and support for college tuition would overheat the economy.

While spotlighting the inflation concerns, the poll also indicates that Biden’s plans remain popular with 6 in 10 supporting the funding in the COVID package passed by Congress and signed into law by the president earlier this year. As for Biden's infrastructure proposal, 68% voiced approval and 61% backed his proposals on health care, child care, paid leave and tuition.

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"Concerns about possible inflation do not appear to undercut overall public support for these spending plans. That might be because many Americans expect the pros will outweigh the cons," Monmouth University polling director Patrick Murray highlighted. "Right now, Biden is not quite meeting the public’s expectations for helping the middle class. His calculation may be that the country is willing to accept some price increases in return for a more robust economy and wider array of support programs."

Biden’s administration continues to seek a bipartisan agreement with Republicans on infrastructure, but is ready to go it alone, by passing a larger Democratic plan through a Congress where the Democrats hold razor-thin majorities in both the House and Senate.

Just under half of those polled – 46% – said Biden’s plans should be passed even if they don’t obtain bipartisan support. That included 8 in 10 Democrats. Twenty-two percent said the plans should be cut back to win backing from both parties and nearly a quarter said the president’s proposals shouldn’t be passed at all.

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"The plans are broadly popular, but the path to getting there is not so clear-cut. This is one of those situations where the administration has to weigh short-term blowback in public opinion against what they hope will be long-term gains," Murray said. 

The president’s approval rating in the new survey stands at 48%, with 43% giving Biden’s performance steering the country a thumbs down. That’s a drop from April, when Biden stood at 54% approval and 41% disapproval in Monmouth polling. The president gets a positive rating from 86% of Democrats (down from 95% in April), 36% of independents (down from 47%), and 19% of Republicans (up from 11%). 

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"Biden’s rating is still in net positive territory, but it seems to have taken a dip with the growing uncertainty that his signature spending plans will be enacted," Murray said.

The Monmouth University poll was conducted June 9-14, with 810 adults nationwide questioned. The survey’s overall sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

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