(The Center Square) – Gas prices and mortgage rates continue to rise as polling shows Americans remain worried about the economy.
Gas prices hit an average of $3.85 per gallon of regular gas nationally Tuesday, up from $3.58 a month ago. Incumbent presidents usually take criticism for gas price increases, and President Joe Biden is no exception, taking fire for his work to discourage domestic oil and gas leasing and pipeline development.
“Joe Biden wants us to believe that we are helpless victims incapable of controlling our own destiny, and that OPEC or ‘corporate greed’ determine oil and gas prices, but all he needs to do is reverse his radical green policies, allow the fossil fuel industry to operate, and we’d see prices drop to Trump era levels as domestic production increases,” Daniel Turner, executive director at the energy workers advocacy group, Power the Future, told The Center Square. “Such actions could even secure his re-election, but Biden could never admit American fossil fuels are good and necessary, even at his own political peril.”
Meanwhile, average mortgage prices last week hit 7.09%, the highest in two decades. This time last year, the average rate was about 5.13.
“The economy continues to do better than expected and the 10-year Treasury yield has moved up, causing mortgage rates to climb,” Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s Chief Economist, said in the group’s rate announcement. “The last time the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage exceeded seven percent was last November. Demand has been impacted by affordability headwinds, but low inventory remains the root cause of stalling home sales.”
Mortgage rates have been steadily pushed up as the Federal Reserve hikes rate to combat elevated inflation, which soared earlier in the Biden administration before tapering off in recent months. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Producer Price Index, a key marker of inflation, has increased nearly 17% since President Joe Biden took office while wages have failed to keep up.
Meanwhile, polling shows Americans are still concerned about economic issues. The Center Square Voters’ Voices Poll, conducted in conjunction with Noble Predictive Insights, found that inflation and the economy are still top concerns for Americans.
That poll of 2,500 registered voters found inflation and price increases were the most commonly cited concern for Republicans and Independent voters and comes in second for Democrats only to climate change.
That concern has become a political headache for Biden, who has seen his approval rating dip underwater as he continues to take fire for higher prices.
Republicans were quick to blast Biden over the weekend as buying a house became even more expensive.
“Homeownership in America is now a lot less affordable as mortgage rates have reached the highest level in over 20 years,” Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., wrote on social media. “This is what [Bidenomics] looks like.”
Biden, though, has defended his work on the economy, pointing to the relatively low unemployment rate, the slowing of inflation, and the rebound from COVID-era lockdowns.
“The Inflation Reduction Act is delivering for the American people,” Biden wrote on social media Sunday. “It’s lowering costs for families, restoring fairness to the tax code, creating good-paying jobs here in America, addressing the existential threat of the climate crisis, and more.”