In January, U.S. inflation hit 7.5 percent – the highest inflation since February 1982. Inflation has now been above 5 percent for the past eight months. There are people raising families today who have never experienced this kind of inflation in their entire lifetimes. The average American household spent an estimated $3,500 more last year as a result of inflation. That’s a lot of money for most families in South Dakota, and many of them are hurting.
Everywhere they turn, families are facing higher prices. Whether it’s ground beef for the chili, bunk beds for the kids’ room, or a new car to accommodate a new addition to the family, higher prices are the order of the day. The price of chicken is up 10 percent, pork is up 14 percent, eggs are up 13 percent, fruit is up 8 percent, and whole milk is up 8 percent, just to name a few. Even the prices for household and family essentials are up. Furniture and bedding are up 17 percent, major appliances are up almost 10 percent, tires are up 14 percent, and used cars and trucks are up 40 percent. Then there’s energy prices. Gas prices are up 40 percent, and electricity is up nearly 11 percent.
Inflation is having its biggest impact on those least able to afford it. A recent study found that lower-income households, on average, faced an even greater spending increase in 2021 when compared to higher-income households as a result of inflation. It’s no wonder 69 percent of Americans disapprove of the president’s handling of inflation.
When President Biden took office last January, inflation was at 1.4 percent – well within the Federal Reserve’s target inflation rate of 2 percent. And it might have stayed there, had Democrats not decided that they needed to pass a massive, partisan $1.9-trillion spending spree under the guise of COVID relief known as the American Rescue Plan – mere weeks after Congress had already passed a major COVID bill.
The definition of inflation is too many dollars chasing too few goods and services. And that’s exactly the situation Democrats helped create with their American Rescue Plan. They sent too many federal dollars into the economy – and the economy overheated as a result. Despite the fact that it was Democrats’ massive March spending spree that helped plunge our economy into this inflation crisis, there are still many Democrats who want to double down on the strategy that helped get us into this mess in the first place. Passing another massive spending spree, which many Democrats want to do, would undoubtedly make this inflation disaster even worse.
Our country’s inflation crisis is creating real economic consequences for South Dakota families. Unfortunately, President Biden and congressional Democrats are so focused on passing their radical agenda full of heavy-handed, government-knows-best policies that they cannot be bothered to address issues that are affecting nearly every American family. However, I remain hopeful that the shocking inflation numbers that were released in February will resonate with Democrats and help redirect their attention to issues that are draining Americans’ pocketbooks.
It’s time for Democrats to recognize that families, small businesses, and our broader economy cannot afford any more reckless government spending.