Inflation is plaguing American households amid the recovery from COVID-19 and the lockdown-induced recession. On Memorial Day — more than two years after the onset of COVID-19 — rising price levels are still making Americans’ wallets much lighter.
According to the most recent year-over-year (April 2021-April 2022) Consumer Price Inflation (CPI) data from the Bureau of Labor Statisticsprices for food, travel, and other expenses necessary for a Memorial Day gathering are significantly higher than they were in 2021.
Want to fire up the grill? Before you even get to the food itself, brace yourself for 27% more expensive propane and firewood. Then, expect to pay 16% more for chicken, 14% more for pork chops, and 12% more for beef steaks. Want to garnish your burgers and add some fries on the side? Get ready to shell out 13% more for lettuce and 7% more for potatoes.
Even recreation will likely dig into your pocketbook more than it did last year. Sporting goods are 7.5% pricier, and musical instruments are 6.7% more expensive. If shelling out this much money is making your head spin, grab an ice-cold beer from the cooler — but remember, it will cost you 5% more than the one you had last year.
If you are traveling to see friends and family, get ready to stretch your budget further. Gas is 44% more expensive, car and truck rental is 10% more expensive, and airfare is 33% more expensive.
Thinking about nixing some of your summer plans? You’re not alone — there are already signs that inflation is giving consumers pause from their recreation plans.
A poll from Echelon Insights found that 75% of parents are “extremely” or “very” concerned about the “rising cost of everyday purchases like food or gas.” When asked if their families have “changed or canceled plans for a family trip” because of inflation, 51% answered in the affirmative — and 41% said they “changed or canceled activities for my children like camp or extracurricular activities.”
But as the summer months unfold, do not expect much relief from rising price levels. “I expect the year-over-year inflation numbers to vary considerably this year, but the month-over-month numbers will show continued inflation,” Heritage Foundation research fellow EJ Antoni told The Daily Wire last week.
Despite many signs to the contraryPresident Joe Biden recently denied that the United States is bound for another recession. In addition to pointing toward lower unemployment rates, he argued that his team is doing what they can with respect to gas prices and other phenomena.
“The price of gas at the pump is something that I told you — you heard me say before — it would be a matter of great discussion at my kitchen table when I was a kid growing up. It’s affecting a lot of families,” Biden explained.
Indeed, American consumers rated the economy of 2021 even lower than the COVID-19-stricken economy of 2020. The most recent Survey of Household Economics and Decisionmaking showed that 24% of respondents thought national economic conditions were good or excellent. That figure marks a decrease from 50% in 2019 — as well as a slight decrease from 26% in 2020.
Some economists have compared the present economy to the stagflation – stagnant growth and high inflation – that characterized the late 1970s, in which an oil shock occurred under the leadership of President Jimmy Carter and induced a recession amid rising price levels.