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VERIFY: Consumer prices may have skyrocketed in a year. Here's what we learned

A meme shows that prices have risen from May 2020 to May 2021. But it's all related to the pandemic.

WASHINGTON — As pandemic restrictions start to lift, you might be seeing some higher price tags thank you're used to. So far, a lot of us have seen it at the gas pump, the car dealership and from realtors.

This meme circulating on social media seems to blame it on the current administration:

Credit: WUSA9

It lists the average consumer prices for things like gas, lumber, and home sales in 2020 and then in 2021 where it claims prices went up significantly higher.

THE QUESTION

Are these prices accurate?

THE ANSWER

Yes, the prices are pretty accurate.

OUR SOURCES

Pete Earle, an economist from the American Institute for Economic Research and the Consumer Price Index.

WHAT WE FOUND

“The numbers are roughly accurate in terms of the commodities listed there,” Earle pointed out.

A quick look at the government’s consumer price index showed the numbers line up with the meme. But they need context, and the pictures of the two presidents aren’t it.

“The first driver of these higher prices is a sort of a lack of understanding that an economy is not a lawnmower or a light switch,” Earle explained. “You can’t turn it off and then turn it back on at will.”

Since March of 2020, both presidents have been in charge while economic lockdowns have been in place. Earle said the firms that made these goods shut down or ran at limited capacity.

“So you have tons of demand meeting limited supply, which is why we have prices rising,” he said.

That is just one part. Earle pointed to another cause of high prices: Inflation. Which has continued for both administrations.

“What inflation really means is although prices are going up, it means the value of your dollar which to say purchasing power is being eroded,” he said.

So yes, the prices on this meme are correct. But the context that one administration is to blame just doesn’t add up.

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