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Brian Mark Weber / April 22, 2022

Inflation Has Consumers Cutting Back

There are no quick solutions to Bidenflation, but consumers are buying less or buying generic.

There’s been a lot of talk about inflation these days — or what we might more accurately call Bidenflation.

Of course, Joe Biden’s administration blames Russian President Vladimir Putin for rising prices in America, but even the hardest of hard-leftists must know that the real reasons include reckless government spending and a stubborn dismantling of the Trump-era achievement of American energy independence.

Political analysts and Biden officials are in full spin mode about inflation, but don’t let the smoke and mirrors fool you. Just go to any grocery store and randomly ask a shopper about food prices, or ask your recently retired neighbor why he suddenly decided to go back to work.

In 1980, then-presidential candidate Ronald Reagan famously looked into the camera and asked Americans: “Are you better off than you were four years ago? Is it easier for you to go and buy things in the stores than it was four years ago? Is there more or less unemployment than it was four years ago?”

It’s doubtful that President Biden would have the courage to ask these same questions to the American people today. (If he did, it would just be the dementia talking.) And we all know what the answers would be. No, we’re not better off today than we were two years ago, or six months ago for that matter. Today, inflation is higher than it’s been in 40 years.

One of the signs of the times is shoppers cutting back in the grocery aisle and looking for generic food items to replace the more expensive name-brand goods they’re accustomed to.

As The Wall Street Journal reports: “Now consumers, hit by soaring costs for everything from gasoline to child care, are drawing a line, analysts and retailers say. Shoppers are buying staples in smaller quantities, switching to cheaper, store-name brands and more rigorously hunting for deals.”

Now that the government’s COVID-19 stimulus checks have stopped coming, it’s back to reality for millions. But opting for store-brand or generic equivalents isn’t going to solve the broader problem — indeed, it only masks the problem.

“Generic brands are still the product of a small number of supermarket giants which are still coping with the same inflationary and supply chain shortages,” writes columnist Daniel Greenfield. “So, it’s more of an illusion than a solution. Since supermarket chains are competing with Amazon and Walmart they may have a bit of an investment in maintaining lower prices, but investors expect growth and that means price increases will still happen even if they’re disguised in various ways such as shrinkflation or fake sales.”

Unfortunately, the reality of widespread inflation is that there’s no way to escape it. Even generics must be produced and shipped. Some companies, though, have devised a creative way to keep you from noticing. They haven’t changed the prices of chips or toothpaste, but there’s less of the product inside the package.

Of course, there’s more to inflation than food and gas prices. It now costs significantly more to rent an apartment, and mortgage interest rates are on the rise. The cost of everything has gone up, and many Americans are finding it hard to pay the bills.

According to a survey from Consumer Affairs, half of all Americans were unable to pay their bills on time at some point in the past year. Less than a third could save money on a regular basis. Additionally, 31% bought fewer groceries, 25% had to get a second job, and 26% resorted to selling personal items to make ends meet.

Some retirees have no other choice than to go back to work. From October 2021 to March of this year, The Wall Street Journal reported that nearly 500,000 retired Americans have reentered the job market.

Many experts believe inflation will get worse before it gets better. But is there any hope?

The midterm elections offer Americans an opportunity to chart a different course — to elect political leaders who’ll take our $30 trillion debt seriously and return our nation to energy independence. We’ll all feel the pain in the coming months, but we have the resources in our grasp to ultimately turn things around.

We just need better leadership in Washington.

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