Inflation: Who’s to blame?

April 12, 2022

~ 5 minutes read

In the past year, over 18 million people have mentioned inflation, prices, or the supply chain over 69 million times on Twitter, reaching an audience of 330 million — about the size of the U.S. population. Needless to say, not all of the conversation was the same. We took a look at the 100 most retweeted tweets talking about inflation to identify the biggest divides in the conversation.
The bottom line: With so many theories about what is causing inflation, we often focus on the ones that make the most sense to us given our other concerns and priorities. It’s important to be aware of our biases, because they can cloud our ability to consider other causes and ultimately identify effective solutions.

How do people feel about inflation?

Concern about the harm inflation causes was the biggest theme in the tweets, and the concern was shared across party lines. People were most concerned about inflation on gas, food, and wages, along with medicine, housing, and clothes: 

Of the 100 most RT'd tweets mentioning "inflation," "prices," or "supply chain" from 4/13/21 - 4/12/22, 67 discussed inflation in specific sectors of the economy. The other 33 are excluded from this graphic.

Who's to blame?

Blame was the second most common trend in the tweets on inflation — 52 of the top 100 tweets blamed some entity for high inflation. Here are the top entities blamed:

  • Corporate greed. Many companies reported record profits in 2021 while hiking their prices — taking advantage of consumers to line their own pockets.
  • Biden and/or Democrats. Biden and his Democratic majority in Congress are out of touch with the American people — telling us to buy electric cars when gas prices skyrocket and sending money to Ukraine instead of dealing with the inflation crisis at home.
  • Republicans. They are preventing Congress from addressing the pain Americans are feeling from inflation by blocking legislation to cap drug prices, slow the spread of COVID, or raise the minimum wage.
Of the 100 most RT'd tweets mentioning "inflation," "prices," or "supply chain" from 4/13/21 - 4/12/22, 52 placed blame on some entity. The other 48 are excluded from this graphic.


If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that the economy is complicated. To understand and discuss it, we take shortcuts — relying on what we already believe to be true in order to understand new things happening around us. This means leaning into information that feels true, while rejecting ideas that feel false. 

But our gut instincts aren’t always reliable, especially when it comes to a topic as convoluted as the economy. So if we’re interested in learning more about how the economy works, and what we can do to help it work better, it’s important to be aware of how our bias affects our interpretation of new information. For example:

If you expected Biden to succeed when he was elected, your brain will gravitate towards information that suggests he’s succeeding.

If you expected Biden to fail when he was elected, your brain will gravitate towards information that suggests he’s failing.

If you believe corruption in corporations is widespread, your brain will pay more attention to ideas that confirm this, making you more likely to oversubscribe blame onto companies.

If you believe corruption in corporations is limited, your brain will overlook ideas about corruption, making you more likely to undersubscribe blame onto companies.

A simple way to mitigate these biases is to be more aware of them. When reading tweets, watching videos, or reading articles about inflation, we can work to notice ideas we automatically believe to be true (or false) and take a second to ask ourselves why we think that. Sometimes there will be a good reason, and other times you’ll realize that gut instinct has little basis in reality. 

By taking an extra second to reflect, we can be open to new information, but still prudent in what new ideas are worth believing.   

Further reading

The Conversation

Here are the five most retweeted tweets about inflation over the past year:

What do you think? Do you agree with one side, or do you fall somewhere in between? Give us feedback on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook, or by emailing