Popular MSNBC host Stephanie Ruhle has come under fire for being tone-deaf and out of touch after saying Americans can actually afford rising prices on basic goods due to inflation because of record savings during the pandemic.
During an appearance on “Sunday Today,” Ruhle told host Willie Geist that Americans needed to put the rising inflation – which was up more than 6 percent in October over the previous year – in perspective.
“You have to put all this in perspective,” Ruhle said. “This inflation is not in isolation and the government predicted it was going to be a challenging recovery – recovery all tied to covid. The dirty little secret here … while nobody likes to pay more, on average we have the money to do so. Household savings hit a record high over the pandemic. We didn’t really have anywhere to go out and spend and, as we said a moment ago, we’re expecting retail sales this holiday season to break records.”
Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 74: Jamarlin Martin
Jamarlin returns for a new season of the GHOGH podcast to discuss Bitcoin, bubbles, and Biden. He talks about the risk factors for Bitcoin as an investment asset including origin risk, speculative market structure, regulatory, and environment. Are broader financial markets in a massive speculative bubble?
The MSNBC host also said that the rising cost of basic necessities like food and gas was manageable because of Americans’ record savings combined with rising home values, a bustling stock market and unprecedented vaccinations from covid-19.
“For those who own their homes, the value of our homes are up; and while the stock market isn’t the economy, you got over half of American households with some investment in the markets and the markets have hit record highs, so we need to put all of this in perspective,” Ruhle added.
She was effectively dragged for her comments on social media, with some dubbing her Stephanie Antoinette – a reference to French Queen Marie Antoinette, who is alleged to have said in 1789, “Let them eat cake” after being told her subjects had no bread to eat. (It should be noted there is no true confirmation the Queen said this, however, she did lose her head on Oct. 16, 1793).
Journalist Nicholas Fondacharo tweeted, “Inflation airhead: NBC’s Stephanie Ruhle says the ‘dirty little secret’ of people complaining about paying higher prices for food and fuel for their homes is they can afford it just fine. According to her, people should have been saving during the pandemic and stocks look good.”
Still another wrote, “it’s ok that prices of food and staples are going through the roof because my friends that own homes and have money in the stock market are profiting.”
Ruhle attempted to clarify her comments after the backlash, noting in separate interviews and news segments that there are “two Americas.”
“This is the tale of two Americas – the one that is struggling and the one that is not,” Ruhle tweeted Tuesday. “People were able to bank a lot of money during the pandemic, personal savings rates were at an all-time high.”
“Inflation is stressing out Americans across the country … Prices are higher than anyone would like, but for some of us, we can afford it, and some of us cannot, underscoring the reality that we have two very different economies in this country,” Ruhle said during one of her segments on Wednesday. “But for millions of other Americans, they don’t have that savings, they don’t have that cushion and though hourly wages are up, those wage increases are wiped out when you’re paying more for rent, gas and groceries.”
Twitter users still came for the MSNBC host. One wrote, “Can we please see the breakdown of whom your referencing here? Who the hell was able to save bundles of cash? I keep hearing this, wasn’t me.”