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Biden tells companies running gas stations to cut prices at the pump and rips into ‘junk fees’ including overdrafts and cell phone terminations that ‘hurt families’
On Monday, President Joe Biden criticized companies for keeping prices high, demanding that gas stations, banks and cell phone services cut costs for families struggling with record levels of inflation. The economic crisis has dogged the Biden administration as Democrats try to cling to the House and Senate in November’s midterm elections.
At a White House meeting, Biden cited “undesirable fees” such as overdraft charges and cell phone termination charges for causing economic pain. And he had a special message for gas companies. “My message is simple… Cut the prices you charge at the pump,” he said at a meeting of his White House Competition Council. “Do it now… Not in a month. Do it now.’
He said he instructed his council to come up with ways to encourage competition and lower fees. In particular, he focused on bank overdraft charges, mobile phone termination fees and airline rebooking charges. “This council comes back to me… with a plan to abolish and lower the fees. Families should not have to pay these costs,” he said.
Republicans have blamed Biden for the price hikes since the pandemic closures eased last year, leading to supply chain congestion. Biden, for his part, has tried to point the finger at private companies and examples of price gouging. But he claimed the US was better placed than many other countries battling rising prices. “The United States of America is in a stronger position than any other country to meet these global challenges,” he said. ‘Period of time.’
Biden and his team have been trying to spread a “good news” message about the economy. They point to high employment rates, rising wages and several months of falling gas prices. But critics say this doesn’t help families struggling with rising bills caused by inflation above eight percent (year-on-year). A stubbornly high inflation could nevertheless create the conditions for a recession.
“We are in a position where it hasn’t risen in recent months. It’s actually been right,” Biden said during a CBS 60 Minutes interview last week (pictured). “And in the meantime, we’ve created all these jobs and prices have gone up, but they’ve come down for energy,” the president said.
“The fact is that we have created 10 million new jobs. We are in a situation where unemployment is one of the lowest in history at about 3.7 percent.” President Biden continued: “We are in a situation where large-scale production is returning to the United States. And lo and behold, we have huge investments in computer chips and employment. This is a process.’
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