CBS News recently reported that while the government says prices are up 6.4 percent since 2011 many food staples have gone up much more than that. Some specifics reported on were that chicken is up 18.4 percent, ground beef is up 16.8 percent and bacon has skyrocketed up 22.8 percent. And the big problem with these increases are not only that they are higher and no one likes higher prices but that incomes in America have been stagnant. When prices skyrocket but wages stay the same–trouble is brewing for the poor and middle class.
Median income is up about 1 percent a year and is plainly lagging behind food inflation. CBS showcased a writer, Jen Singer who is the mother of two teenagers. She said that she wrestles with her grocery list every week. It’s taking her family budget to the limit and she struggles to be able to feed her family no matter what the government says about prices not rising very much. “I’d like the government to stop by my house, come food shopping with me and see where the real costs are,” she said. And about eating healthy, she opined, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is impossible thanks to apple prices.” It’s apparently not just some fringe food items that have skyrocketed either. “The things that are going up in price are the things I absolutely need to buy,” Singer said. “It’s the meat, it’s the milk, it’s the eggs and it’s getting out of hand.”
CBS interviewed ConvergEx market strategist, Nick Colas. He said that mothers could tell the government a lot about inflation. “Food inflation is far greater than the government thinks it is.” Singer also added, “If my income isn’t going up, how am I going to keep up with inflation?”
However, it’s not only food that is going through the roof. A watercraft broker just told me that diesel fuel has quickly risen about a dollar a gallon and now a gallon of diesel costs around $4.50. Those prices make it cost prohibitive for middle class folks to purchase and in many case operate anything that uses diesel fuel such as some vehicles, trucks and pleasure boats.
America has struggled to get its financial act together and in some ways we have come a long way. However, there is a problem. Bureaucracy. Bureaucracy basically means leading from a desk and the government is famous for doing that. Generally, the larger the company the more bureaucracy but it’s much easier to lead from a desk when you’re using and dealing with other people’s money.
In-favor economists generally paint a benign present picture, however, as CBS reports, middle-class families are quietly struggling. “The disconnect is severe, because it’s the economists that make policy but it’s the people who have to live with the outcome of that policy and that disconnect is growing to the point where I think it has to break soon,” Colas said.
We’ve had tough economic times in the recent past and are still facing daunting issues. Some of which, seemingly, are not correctly focused on our government’s radar. So what can we do? How about getting help from those who know what’s really happening? How about getting real live, walking and talking moms to help economists. I say, don’t completely lead from a desk, textbook or from the theoretical. I say, get some real live moms on board with the movers, shakers and policy makers. Moms who have traditionally been the lifeblood, the brains and caretakers of families. People who see the reality of the economy daily. Farfetched? Perhaps, but does anyone believe that it wouldn’t be better with getting those on board who see, smell and feel reality every day?
Steve's a three-time survivor of violence in his youth and was an award winning police officer.
For several years, Steve also did radio political and current event commentary and taught college Criminal Justice. He is the former host of the long running 'The Kovacs Perspective' Internet radio talk show.
Presently, Steve is the owner and Managing Director of one of the oldest martial art schools in Ohio, 'The Mayfield Academy of Self-Defense'.
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