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Like many other products, the price of beer has steeply increased since 2020, rising just more than 10% since April 2020.
Experts say there are a host of reasons that prices have risen, including the Russia invasion of Ukraine, supply chain issues and the resonating impacts of the pandemic.
In other words, it can’t be solely attributed to the policies and spending under Democrats, such as the American Rescue Plan.
Inflation is a big topic for the U.S. — and the world — as the prices of goods and services across the economy keep rising.
In June, the U.S.’ annual inflation rate topped 9%, putting the rate at its highest level since 1981, according to Forbes.
In a recent tweet, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, a Republican seeking a third term in November 2022, included this statement:
"Thanks to failed Dem policies, beer is 9.1% more expensive."
To which those of us in Brew City can say only: Whoa.
Have beer prices jumped that much? And is it really Democratic policies that have caused any increase?
Let’s take a look.
When asked for backup for the claim, Johnson’s campaign pointed to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which shows the average price of a malt beverage in an average U.S. city over the years.
According to the data, the average cost of 16 ounces of beer has gone from $1.50 in April 2020 to $1.66 in June 2022, which amounts to a 10.7% increase in the retail price.
But there are important things to note.
First, in April 2020, Republican Donald Trump was president — so, as a basic, practical matter, the blame would have to be shared.
What’s more, the price of beer has been steadily rising since 1996, the bureau’s statistics show. There have been ups and downs along the way, but since late 2019, prices have started to increase a little more drastically.
So, Johnson has accurate numbers, but even within the time frame he uses, he is shifting the blame in a single direction.
Let’s look deeper at the blame portion of the claim, in which Johnson maintains policies enacted by Democrats have been the root cause of inflation — driving up the cost of goods such as eggs, milk and beer.
Johnson’s team shared a link to a March 30, 2022 story by The Washington Times, a right-leaning publication. In it, the blame is placed on spending by the Biden administration, mainly pointing to the coronavirus aid package passed shortly after Joe Biden was inaugurated, which provided $1,400 stimulus checks to all Americans.
The article cites a report from the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, but even that headline says only that Biden policies "helped fuel" inflation.
In April 2022, PolitiFact National looked at a claim that Biden's spending "has sent prices skyrocketing," rating it Half True. The item found that while some inflation was driven by those stimulus checks, that wasn’t the only cause. There are many other factors that have to be taken into account, such as changes in the labor market, rising energy prices, supply chain problems and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
A June 2022 examination by factcheck.org also said that while the stimulus money had a small impact on inflation, many other factors are playing into the rising costs. For the most part, the exceptional circumstances caused by the COVID-19 pandemic — especially the shutdown of the economy during the early days and the fast-following recovery — have played a larger role.
That upheaval in the economy caused supply chain shortages, created labor issues and changed spending habits for people forced to remain home.
In any case, on claims like these — ones targeting Democrats or Republicans — we have long held that blame (or credit) for what happens in a complicated world economy can’t be attributed solely to a single person or event.
Johnson claimed in a tweet that the price of beer has risen 9.1% because of Democratic policies enacted in the U.S.
While the price of beer did rise 10.7% starting in April 2020, some of that increase came on Trump’s watch — and prices have been steadily rising since the late 1990s.
And although policies enacted by Democrats, such as the American Rescue Plan, have played a role in inflation, there are many other factors that are influencing the rising costs of goods and services, such as the fallout from the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, changes in the labor market and rising energy costs.
We rate this claim Half True, meaning it’s partially accurate, but leaves out important details or takes things out of context.
Forbes, "Inflation, interest rate and economic updates: US inflation rockets to 40-year high,: July 14, 2022
Ron Johnson, Twitter, June 28, 2022
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Average price: Malt beverages," July 14, 2022
Washington Times, "Biden’s big-spending policies helped fuel inflation, says Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco," March 30, 2022
PolitiFact, "Biden’s American Rescue Plan fueled inflation. So did post-COVID shortages." April 20, 2022
Factcheck.org, "Stimulus spending a factor, but far from whole story on inflation," June 30, 2022
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