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Viral meme significantly overstates rates of inflation

An evidence-free meme shared by Eric Trump that purports to compare inflation rates from 2017 to 2022 — under former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden — significantly exaggerates the recent spike in consumer prices. Let’s take a look at the facts.

A Facebook post from Eric Trump that says, “Nothing more needs to be said…”. The post contains an image of text that says, “Inflation rate: 2017 Trump – 1.7%; 2018 Trump – 1.65%; 2019 Trump – 1.7%; 2020 Trump – 1.4%; 2021 Biden – 14%; 2022 Biden – 14.9%. The facts are clear.” The News Literacy Project has added a label that says "FALSE."
The inflation rates in this meme shared by Eric Trump are not accurate.
The meme slightly understates the actual rate of inflation for some of the Trump years listed and significantly overstates the rate of inflation for the two Biden years.
According to The Associated Press, many economists cite government spending, including President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, as one of the factors that has “caused inflation to run higher than it otherwise would.”

Figures published in a USA Today graphic show the accurate rates of inflation from 2017 through March 2022, calculated by both monthly averages and year-end rates.

NewsLit takeaway

NewsLit takeaway: Viral rumors about rising costs strike a quick emotional chord with many people, often resonating with real concerns about household finances. This meme might also “feel true” to many people because it contains a seed of truth: Inflation has rapidly increased over the past year. But it’s always a good idea to check out viral memes about complicated issues to get a fuller picture — especially those that explicitly discourage further inquiry (“Nothing more needs to be said” and “The facts are clear”).

NLP’s viral rumor rundown is a regular feature in The Sift, its weekly email newsletter for educators, and in Get Smart About News, its weekly email newsletter for the general public. You can subscribe to these newsletters here. Send suggestions, questions or feedback on this rumor or on the viral rumor rundown blog to thesift@newslit.org.