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Hey Kevin McCarthy, When Propagandizing, You Should Remember To Check Dates

Hey Kevin McCarthy, When Propagandizing, You Should Remember To Check Dates

A favorite partisan political trope is the pretense that the current president is somehow directly responsible for prices on everything from gas to medicine to groceries. However, when falling into this trap, sometimes a a propagandist forgets to check the dates.

[Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images]

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) made this mistake Saturday morning, tweeting an infographic showing the rising cost of groceries. “President Biden’s America costs you more,” he said of the image — perhaps either not noticing, or hoping his followers wouldn’t, that the dates on the image show Donald Trump was in office for most of the time period it encompasses.

Despite being labeled “shopping with Joe,” the dates below the image describe the price increase as happening over the time period from December 2019 through May 2021 — and Joe Biden was only in office for the last four months of that time period.

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In fact, we can trace the causes of this inflation. Market Watch attributes much of it to the pandemic. Stockpiling that emptied shelves and drove demand is one factor, and increased production costs in some cases to facilitate social distancing, not to mention the extra costs associated with the increased precautions retailers needed to take, all drove up prices even before the 2020 election.

In fact, CNBC reported that April’s grocery costs jumped by 2.6%, the single biggest increase in a month in almost half a century — but that’s April of 2020, not 2021. Notably, in and immediately after April of 2020, Kevin McCarthy did not share any infographic suggesting that Donald Trump, as the president at the time, was somehow at fault for the rise.

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