Amazon founder Jeff Bezos criticized Joe Biden for pressuring gas station companies to “immediately” lower their prices at the pump, accusing the US president of “disorientation” or “a profound misunderstanding” about market forces that led to the rise in fuel prices.
Biden’s request was posted on Twitter: “This is a time of war and global danger. Lower the price you are charging at the pump to reflect the cost you are paying for the product. And do it now,” posted the US president.
In response to the end of the day, also on Twitter, Bezos wrote that “inflation is a very important issue for the White House to continue making statements like this. It is either a direct misdirection or a profound misunderstanding of basic market dynamics.”
The White House hit back on Sunday (3) the criticism of Bezos. “Oil prices have dropped by about $15 (a barrel) in the past month, but prices at the pumps have barely dropped. This is not ‘basic market dynamics’. It’s a market that is failing the American consumer,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre wrote on Twitter.
“Obviously, we make a big exception to the idea that this is somehow a misdirection,” John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council, told Fox News. “The president is working very hard on many fronts to try to bring that price down,” Kirby said.
This is not the first time that Bezos has criticized Biden’s economic policy, saying the US president “was wrong in trying to link the corporate tax structure to rising inflation.” “Putting the two together is just a misdirection,” tweeted the Amazon founder.
Other business leaders and CEOs have expressed concern about the economy in recent months. JPMorgan chairman Jamie Dimon warned of the formation of an economic “hurricane”. In a similar vein, Tesla chairman Elon Musk suggested in May that the economy was heading for recession and announced last month that the electric automaker planned to cut about 10% of its salaried jobs.
Asked at the time about Musk’s dire economic assessment, Biden pointed to plans by Ford and Intel to increase their hiring. “Best of luck on your trip to the moon,” the president said.
Price at record levels
US gas prices have hit record levels this year and motorists are feeling the economic burden. The national average price for a gallon of regular gas was $4.81 on Sunday, about $1.70 higher than a year ago.
The rise in gasoline has become a significant challenge for the Biden administration. The president last month proposed that Congress suspend federal taxes on gasoline and diesel for three months in hopes of easing the US pain. But few lawmakers support the so-called gas tax exemption, which economists say would do little to ease prices anyway.
Biden also lobbied the Group of Seven countries to impose a cap on Russian oil exports. Inflation hit 8.6% in May, marking its fastest pace since December 1981, the Labor Department said last month.