Runaway inflation hasn’t just jacked up the cost of daily life in the U.S., it has also threatened the American summer itself.
There will be political hell to pay if hamburgers and road trips become an unaffordable luxury on President Biden’s watch.
THE UNPATRIOTIC PRICES
Surging inflation, apparently fueled by government borrowing during the COVID-19 pandemic, has forced millions of families to cut back on traditional summer leisure activities like cookouts and roadtrips.
ROAD TRIPS: While travel is rebounding somewhat from pandemic lows, a survey released last week by the American Hospitality and Lodging Association found that 57% of Americans are likely to take fewer leisure trips and 54% will take shorter trips due to current gas prices.
- Additionally, 44% of Americans are likely to postpone trips, and 33% are likely to cancel with no plans to reschedule,” per the trade group.
- Fully 82% of Americans say gas prices will have at least some impact on their travel plans, the survey found.
- The national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gas hit $4.62 as of Monday, according to AAA, 12% over the pre-pandemic record.
BBQS: Meat prices have reached record highs, chilling summer grilling demand, per the latest USDA data.
- The cost of ground beef and chicken breasts rose more than 20% in May compared to the previous year.
- Hot dog meat jumped 15%, frozen meat 16%, and frozen sausages 24.4%.
- “The inflationary environment is starting to take its toll,” Michael Nepveux, a senior analyst for animal protein at risk-management consultancy Stable USA, told Bloomberg News last week. “‘Instead of steak or chicken, we might have pasta or a pizza.’’
After decades of very low inflation, many Americans have gotten getting their first taste of rapid price rises, while stagnant wages have reduced their actual purchasing power.
- Americans see inflation as the country’s second biggest problem (17%), after “government and leadership” (22%), Gallup reported Monday.
- While the White House and congressional Democrats scramble to pin blame inflation on foreign events like the war in Ukraine, the inflationary surge long predates those external factors.
- Polling on Biden’s handling of the economy leaves no doubt where most Americans place the blame.