“Dang, a 2-liter bottle of Diet Pepsi is up to $3?!” I instinctively muttered to myself as I perused the soda aisle searching for my typical caffeine-fix of choice.
I haven’t always been so price sensitive. Don’t get me wrong, shopping for my family isn’t a carefree endeavor, but I rarely follow my mom’s example by regularly and meticulously clipping coupons and I patronize my favorite supermarket not because it’s earned a reputation for bringing the best value for the fewest pennies, but because it’s the closest to my house, has a very good produce section and the meat case usually contains beef ribs, which are terrific to barbecue.
Speaking of beef ribs, they’re up to $6.99 a pound now. Not all that long ago I remember getting an entire rack of six or seven ribs for about seven or eight bucks total, or at least under $10. Now, three halfway-decent meaty ribs require one to lay out $12 bucks – or more – for the grill waiting at home. That’s no chump change for a working man and it also means we won’t be having the best meals nearly as regularly.
The good news for folks in similar situations is the pre-cooked rotisserie and fried chicken near the front of the store is only about half a dollar more than it was two years ago. Is everyone a loss leader fan now? You can also still get a whole 18” Costco pizza for ten bucks. Now THAT is a deal!
But in times past the price increases amounted to a nickel or dime’s difference every so often, not the storewide huge jump we’re encountering on practically a weekly basis. Other things I’ve noticed that have gone through the roof with little advanced warning are eight whole wheat hamburger buns are now around $4 (doing the math, that’s 50 cents apiece) and run-of-the-mill navel oranges are a little more than a dollar for each. Stores do try to disguise the totals by pricing some fruits and veggies at so much per pound, but the scale numbers don’t lie. When combined with everything else that comes nearer and dearer these days, it makes sense that Americans are worried about inflation. Contrary to the blabbering nonsense of senile president Joe Biden during his 60 Minutes interview a week ago, inflation pressures aren’t lessening and practically every report I’ve seen forecasts heating bills will jump considerably over last year’s already inflated levies.
Cost-of-living is a perpetual concern for wage earners, since every increase at the store, gas pump or monthly utility bills means less left over for “fun” stuff and necessities. In a column titled “Biden and the big government socialists’ cost-of-living crisis”, Newt Gingrich wrote last week at The Washington Times that Democrats are to blame:
“Last week, economist Steve Moore, in his invaluable Unleash Prosperity Hotline, reported that Biden’s Big Government Socialist program had dropped real earnings by $3,000 for the average American in less than two years (with even more cuts to real income coming down the road). For 17 consecutive months under Mr. Biden, the cost of living has risen faster than wages.
“The most recent Consumer Price Index Report had an average rise of 8.3%. But even this understates the pain in key areas. Fuel oil is up 68.8% (watch New Hampshire and northern Wisconsin and Michigan as this hits home in October). Electricity is up 15.8%, and more than 20 million American families are already behind in paying their electric bills.
“The biggest impact may be on the price of food, which is up 8% at restaurants but a staggering 13.5% at the grocery store. This is the largest jump in grocery prices in 43 years. Grocery bills are almost certain to go up in September and October as the combined effects of the food disruption from Ukraine and Russia, the drought in a good bit of American farmland, and the drought in Brazil combine to drive up the price of food. Beef, for example, may face a supply shortage and skyrocketing prices.”
So, in other words, what I observed at the local supermarket wasn’t a hallucination and it certainly doesn’t sound like I’m alone in my non-silent suffering. We’ve never been much for going out to restaurants all the time, so the above figures on price boosts at the grocery store commanded my attention.
How bad have things gotten? It’s challenging for a lay person to keep track of year-to-year cost-of-living inflation, with personal observations on the price of staples like Diet Pepsi probably serving as the leading indicator for a lot of folks. The fluctuation in gas prices and heating bills are easier to notice and mentally document, especially for those who have to pay an independent company to replenish tanks in the yard.
We sold our house that ran on propane fuel last year, just in time to avoid the largest hikes in delivery fees. Refilling the 500-unit tank three or four times a year at $4+ per gallon adds up quickly. I can only imagine how much my former neighbors are hooting and hollering about fuel bills nowadays. I’m just happy we don’t have to deal with the plague anymore. Heck, even our barbecue has a natural gas feed in our new situation. Natural Gas has gone up too, but it’s practically free when compared with propane.
Almost everyone harkens for the “old days” in some respect. Last week, for example, my dad noted the 60th anniversary of the day he started at the architectural/engineering firm that he spent 45 years (his entire career) with until retirement. An important day in anyone’s life, correct? Dad also shared that his starting “salary” as a civil engineer in 1962 Los Angeles was $3.40 an hour. All these decades later, some tip-dependent restaurant servers receive more than that in hourly wages, and he further noted that a cup of coffee at his local joint is up to $3.39.
Dad would’ve had to work an hour to buy a cup of coffee at his 1962 wage. So much for the “nickel a cup” of the black stuff at South Dakota’s Wall Drug. I haven’t been there in three decades but I’d imagine even the Husteads have had to raise their asking price.
How could anyone support a family on such a small pittance, even back then? Oh, I forgot, $27 a day went a lot farther in times past. These days, $3.40 won’t even buy you a gallon of gas in a lot of places, and there’s no way (almost certainly illegal) day laborers would agree to toil for such a lowly sum to clear your weed field. Yes, the national average price of gasoline has dropped a fair amount from last summer’s high, but it’s still more than in 2021 and a LOT more than it was when Biden moved into the White House 21 months ago.
Not to pile on, but my brother recalls starting his first accounting job at a big firm 38 years ago and $9.09 an hour, which he admits wasn’t much, but money went a lot farther in those days.
The only people who don’t feel the incremental but rapidly elevating prices are the elites who needn’t pay close attention to retail shopping, couldn’t care less that others are struggling to turn up the thermostat when their mansions are always warm and cozy and business managers handle the uncomfortable details with budgetary requests. The “climate change” crowd doesn’t even seem to notice that jaunts in their private jets are more costly now, and they’re the ones who are setting national policy at current.
Democrats are more than oblivious, they’re dangerous. With senile president Joe Biden setting the tone, Democrats would much rather talk about abortion and purported democracy-destroying “MAGA Republicans” as the real threats to everyday living. It’s always January 6 in Democrat-land, and every person sporting a red, white and blue color scheme or carrying an American flag is bent on taking your rights away.
Last week, thanks in part to South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham’s forward-thinking proposal to pass a national 15-week abortion ban, Democrats became unhinged in their desperate hope to turn voters’ attention away from all of those marketplace shocks I presented above. New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, who could be the next Democrat Speaker of the House if and when Democrats get another lower chamber majority, didn’t mince words:
“If your top agenda is a nationwide ban on abortion, we’re not making [that] up… Lindsey Graham just introduced the bill that would leave in place extreme bans that states have enacted all across the country and undermine the freedom of women to make their own reproductive health care decisions in states like California, New York or the commonwealth of Massachusetts and beyond.”
Other prominent Democrats cited “extreme” Republican positions on gun control as endangering democracy and local communities, like purchasing and possessing an AR-15 puts inner city residents at risk. Sure, the garden-variety thug in Chicago is roving the streets offing innocent bystanders with a high-powered rifle, right? I haven’t seen the statistics, but aren’t nearly all gun-related murders committed in major cities the product of handguns that the perpetrators obtained illegally through the black market?
Not to be outdone, Democrats are also referring to the January 6 riot at the capital building as a reason why voters should forget about those rising, government spending fostered prices and vote for the current majority party. Apparently, the act of objecting to what was viewed as a fraudulent election makes one an enemy of “democracy.” Once again, Democrats are turning to anything they can use to distract from dwindling family budgets and savings.
The words “Joe Biden price hike” should be on the lips of every Republican candidate from coast-to-coast this fall. Democrats are behind the inflationary pressures that Americans are experiencing everywhere and they should be made to pay for their callous disregard for the average person’s cost-of-living. Ignore the noise and vote your wallet on November 8.
Joe Biden economy
Biden cognitive decline
January 6 Committee
Build Back Better
Marjorie Taylor Green
2024 presidential election