There are many aspects to inflation that are hurting everyday Americans. None is more central than food. It’s no secret food costs are rising and pinching the budgets of everyone. Back in March, I wrote stories about a looming food crisis that would hit the world and America. We’re seeing the fruit of that crisis starting to hit America now.
People are putting everything on credit cards.
For the lower and middle-class segments of America, inflation has meant using credit cards to cover the gaps. According to The Hill, “Many people are having to use credit to pay for everyday essentials such as groceries and gas — necessities that have gone up in cost much faster than average earnings … According to LendingTree, an online lending marketplace, the typical consumer has racked up more than $6,500 in credit card debt.”
They say these credit levels aren’t the worst on record, but the trendlines are clear. Americans need help to pay for basics. This predicament is not a situation where Americans are spending money outlandishly on luxury items. People are struggling to survive and purchase the basics.
These issues are beyond just the lower and middle classes. After praising the cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security at the beginning of the year, the White House has had nothing to offer the elderly. The results are not pretty.
Poverty is increasing.
USA Today published a report on the dramatic increase in poverty among seniors. “A million more seniors age 65 years and older fell into poverty last year, boosting the percentage in poverty to 10.3%, from 8.9% in 2020 and the highest level since 2002, according to the latest Census Bureau data.” Altogether, an estimated six million seniors are in poverty now while experiencing the worst inflation in forty years.
Like everyone else, it’s not luxury items or outrageous spending sending these seniors into poverty. It’s food, housing, and gas. These people are often fixed-income and cannot survive if prices spiral out of control as they have now.
In a separate story, USA Today interviewed people who had to leave retirement to make ends meet. The story is the same no matter what state you’re in, how old you are or any other factor. Everyone is suffering.
There’s no sign these pressures will lift any time soon. Farmers continue to get hit by some of the worst farming conditions and costs they’ve ever seen. A report said:
Regardless of what the national inflation numbers say, it cost the farmer about 40% more to grow the crop this year” compared to two years ago, said Chad Lee, an agronomy professor at the University of Kentucky.
The price of essentially every aspect of farming – seed, fertilizer, fuel, equipment, etc. – has continued to tick upward, and by startling amounts. Some farmers have seen costs double and triple, and that’s if they can even get the supplies they need.
Other issues, like the war in Ukraine, continue to wreak havoc on food supply chains. Farmers are cutting back where they can, reducing crop output. Essential food items are experiencing hikes in prices and instability in availability up and down the supply chain.
No deals and shrinkfaltion rules the day.
There are no deals to be had anywhere, either. On the one hand, shrinkflation is increasing across all product categories, causing outrage everywhere. People are paying more for less. And sometimes, people are paying more.
The Wall Street Journal reports that grocery stores offer fewer discounts than ever. “On average, 20.6% of food and beverage products were sold with price reductions in the third quarter of this year, according to research firm Information Resources Inc., down from 25.7% for the same period in 2019. Promotional levels are down from 2019 levels for all grocery categories except for meat, data show.”
Adding insult to injury for everyone, the Federal Reserve’s actions in controlling inflation are leading to a recession. No matter what the White House says, everyone agrees now that we’re headed for a recession. As I wrote last, the Federal Reserve aims to increase unemployment and cause economic pain to tame inflation. Layoffs are coming.
More pain is coming.
The pressures Americans face daily are increasing, and new ones are appearing – this is Joe Biden’s America. Biden’s economic recovery is illusory, and no one has benefited. The economy is weak and losing steam. The Federal Reserve is charged with tackling inflation, but Biden does nothing to bring down inflation with them.
Americans are left both with the bill and pain. The message from the White House is clear. People must pay higher prices for worse products. The elderly are sinking into poverty. Soon, people will get asked to bear the brunt of job losses and a downturn in the housing sector. Pain is spread across everyone with no sympathy from the Commander in Chief.
Food insecurity is the first pain everyone feels. There’s no evidence relief is coming on that front. There’s increasing evidence more pain is coming from multiple angles.
The food crisis has arrived, and it’s as bad as predicted. More pain is on the way.