Increasing Inflation Rates Raises Concerns for Americans


Alina Fairlie, Herald Writer

Editor’s Note: This article was written on November 19, 2021.

US inflation rates have hit a 30 year high, which is attributable to pandemic recovery. These surging prices, mixed with a labor shortage and the incoming holiday season, will prove to be an issue for American consumers. Everything from groceries, to energy services and the cost of housing has been affected. This acceleration in prices will mostly impact lower income Americans. 

This change in our economy has partially emanated from past government provided stimulus packages, to support families during the pandemic. Huge amounts of money were sent to families for Covid relief, and supply chains were globally disrupted. Demand for supply began to increase, but the supply itself did not, leading to prices rising. 

In 2020, many Americans opted out of working, or at least cut down on work time. This decrease in workers raises wages for employees, and prices in services. Some of those who did work asked for raises, adding to the economic issue. We have seen the most noticeable price increases in food (namely meats), gasoline, and vehicles. Prices on all items have gone up 6.2% in the past year, putting pressure on families across the country. This is the biggest increase seen in the country since 1990. 

This disruption in our economy has resulted in challenges for President Biden and the White House. On November 19, the Build Back Better legislation was passed by the House of Representatives, which is said to provide funding for covid relief, infrastructure, combating climate change, child care, immigration and many other systems. While this still has to pass through the senate, Biden says this $1.75 trillion bill is “a giant step forward”, and will put money into social safety net programs, ultimately resulting in tax deduction for Americans. Democrats are expected to get a lot of backlash for inflation and how they intend to handle it. Senator Rick Scot says “It’s devastating to poor families and people fixed on income. It’s really going to hurt the Democrats”. However, Democrats have insisted that passing the Build Back Better bill will ease inflation over time. 

Some economists and politicians oppose the Build Back Better plan, with fears that it will only harm our economy. It is possible that inflation could rise, with trillions of dollars being funneled into our economy. Minority Leader of the House Representative Kevin McCarthy says the legislation is “the single most reckless and irresponsible spending bill in our nation’s history.” 

It is unsure how long it will take for our economy to recover from the pandemic, so people tend to assume the worst. Policymaker Jerome Powell says “supply constraints have been larger and longer lasting than anticipated”. If workers begin to develop the expectation that this issue will persist for a long period of time, they may begin to demand higher wages. “Our dynamic economy will adjust to the supply and demand imbalances, and that as it does, inflation will decline.”

It is advisable to be a conscious consumer during this holiday season, and expect unusual prices.