(CNN) — Consumer prices are already rising at the fastest pace in nearly 40 years. Inflation may get worse before it gets better and that would further erode support for President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better legislation, Goldman Sachs says.
The Wall Street bank told clients Thursday that the chances Biden’s signature legislation gets enacted at all “looks lower.”
Congress is unlikely to pass Build Back Better this year, despite the fact that the child tax credit (CTC) payments will lapse if no action is taken.
“The year-end deadline to extend the CTC was the most important forcing event and it is less clear what, if anything, will serve as a new deadline for action,” Goldman Sachs economists wrote.
Lawmakers often need a looming deadline, whether it’s a disastrous debt default or just a holiday, to serve as a catalyst to get stuff done.
Upcoming inflation reports may not help the case for getting Build Back Better done.
While Biden has argued inflation is peaking, Goldman Sachs expects the consumer price index to accelerate to 7% in “in the coming months” before eventually cooling off later in 2022. The bank said that means a “longer delay could further soften support for the bill.” Consumer prices rose in November by 6.8% from the year earlier, the biggest jump in 39 years.
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has expressed concern that the legislation will pile further pressure on prices.
No one can say for sure how Build Back Better will impact inflation, but as CNN reported earlier this week, many policy analysts agree that the impact will be relatively small and some parts of the bill aim to lower costs.
Despite the inflation focus, Goldman Sachs said enactment of “some version” of Build Back Better “still seems slightly more likely than not.”
If enactment of the bill is only delayed until early next year, Goldman Sachs expects “only a very modest negative impact on growth compared with our forecast.”
However, Goldman Sachs sees “larger downside risk versus our forecast if none of the spending” is approved, estimating GDP growth would be more than half a percentage point lower in 2022, compared with current forecasts.