Gas and groceries spike again as soaring inflation eats away at Americans’ paychecks

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By DAN MCCALEB | THE CENTER SQUARE

The price of food, gas and other consumer goods spiked again in May, as inflation is forcing Americans to make tough decisions about how to spend their money.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, consumer prices climbed 8.6% in May over the same period last year, the largest increase since 1981. From April to May, costs jumped 1%, a sharp increase over the 0.3% spike from March to April.

The cost of gasoline is driving the 40-year-high inflation, as gas prices rose for the 12th consecutive day overnight. The average cost of a gallon of regular gasoline is now $4.99, according to AAA, a penny from the $5 threshold that motorists in more than 20 states already are paying.

The food index rose 10.1% over 12 months and 1.2% from April to May. The cost of housing, rent, home energy and airline tickets also saw significant increases. Core prices, which exclude food and energy, rose 6% over the year.

Stock futures dropped after Friday’s inflation report was released.

Lower income Americans are being hit the hardest by rising prices because they have less discretionary money to spend.

“What’s both remarkable and troubling is the lack of discussion over the price level, which is the new ‘floor’ for prices in the economy,” Erik Randolph, director of research at the Georgia Center for Opportunity, said. “The only discussion is about bringing the inflation rate back down. This means that the federal policymakers are willing to leave the price level elevated. Leaving the price level elevated means we are leaving the economically disadvantaged further behind, exacerbating the economic divide in our nation.”

A new poll from the Trafalgar group shows that a majority of Americans think President Joe Biden “is intentionally letting gas prices rise to make Americans use less fossil fuels.” According to the poll, 53% of Americans believe so, 39.6% don’t think the president is intentionally letting gas prices rise, while 7.4% are unsure.

“Surging gas prices are creating immense hardships both for everyday Americans and for our economy at large,” Mark Meckler, president of Convention of States Action, said in a statement accompanying the poll. “This stunning data reveals that a majority of voters believe our gas crisis is by design. Specifically, that President Biden is intentionally allowing gas prices to continue to rise in order to advance the political agenda of Washington, DC special interests.”

​Dan McCaleb is the executive editor of The Center Square. He welcomes your comments. Contact Dan at [email protected].

40 COMMENTS

  1. Curious why the governor has been taking his time to sign (and veto parts) if the budget and get the PFD out to us sooner rather than later. After all his lamentations about how we needed this money to cope with the high gas and heating prices, he said he had not decided if he would distribute it early again or wait till October in a news article. 🤦‍♂️

  2. It will be good in the long run when everyone drives an electric car. Which will be powered with natural gas or coal generated electricity. And, built using materials mined from massive strip mines in Canada and China, using massive diesel powered machines. But… carbon emissions and money savings. It will be better for everyone.
    .
    Seriously though… This is the product of children thinking they are adults solely because they have reached full height. They seem to believe they can alter one part of a very complex system, like the US economy, without that change altering the rest of the system. And.. they refuse to learn from their mistakes. Another childlike trait. History is littered with do-gooders that refuse to consider adverse impacts of their actions, and only focus on the potential positives. And, when their ideas do not pan out as expected, their first response is to case blame. Again, a very childlike trait.

      • I did. Please let me know what part of my comment is incorrect.
        .
        Perhaps you know of a product or service that does not rely on fuel prices in any way?
        .
        Or is it the statement that children do not take any time to predict or account for potential adverse outcomes? Sort of like the leftists that think costs will not go up if they push up minimum wage, or energy prices.
        .
        Is history not littered with do-gooders who refuse to plan for potential adverse impacts? Research will bear out my comments.
        .
        But, I am very interested to know what I am missing. I always welcome the opportunity to improve my debate skills.

  3. But Usurper PotatoHead’s puppetmasters, er, cabal, er, ‘administration’ has assured us that inflation is transitory, and all Putin’s fault, and not as high as we think it is, and not a problem anyway!
    .
    Joe Biden cagator taurinus maximus est.

    • Oh, this is way too easy.
      I’ll be your huckleberry. You’ll be my female dog when this is over.

      1-Gas prices. Under the Orange Man we were creating so much gas prices were at modern lows. Well less than $3 a gallon in Juneau. Under Grandpa he cut the throat of the fossil fuel industry. Currently has is over $5 and climbing.

      We had supply, prices were low. Biden cut supply, artificial suppression forced demand. prices skyrocketed.

      2-Baby formula. Under Orange Man, it was affordable and everywhere. Even during Covid. Grandpa (alleged) had no idea his administration shut the main plant down. Nationwide shortage.

      3-Under Orange Man the supply chain was wobbly but working. Goods and services were flowing semi normally. Under Grandpa the supply chain collapsed and neither he nor his Sec Transportion could be found. Shortages nationwide.

      I could go on and on and on. But you won’t accept it so I’m not going to waste any more of my time. My supply of energy and interest is far less than the demand of my interest in pointing out reality to you.

      • Covid reduced demand for oil and oil went below $0/barrel. US Production increases also went down since 2018. Russia started a war taking 10% off of the world supply. Supply Chains are still disrupted from covid. Trump had zero to do with supply chains but the 2017 tax cuts and easy money policies laid the foundation for inflation My potassium chloride for softening went up 50%, a lot of potassium is stranded in Ukraine, just an example of what Russia has done to our pocketbooks. Only Saudi Arabia has the capability to turn up oil production quickly. I could go on and on also, but insults from an anonymous troll says all anyone needs to know about your characther

    • Yes Frank, supply and demand. Say didn’t Xiden Joe put the boots to the Oil patch? Hmm, isn’t that called supply?

    • Comprehending supply and demand.
      .
      So, when the president shut down petroleum pipelines on his first day in office, what did that do to supply?
      When petroleum development leases were rescinded, what does that do to supply?
      When massive portions of oil producing fields are shifted to protected land, what does that do to supply?
      .
      Your statement seems to imply that somehow the supply of petroleum, and subsequently gasoline/diesel is not being manipulated by this Administration?
      Perhaps you think it was Russia invading Ukraine. Which does nothing to explain the massive increase in gas prices before Feb 2022.
      .
      No, I think we understand supply and demand just fine.

  4. Given the clowns and characters elected as political leadership, it’s absolutely no surprise the direct correlation of resulting poor and disingenuous performance. The only way circumstances get better for the constituents // citizenry is when there is better elected representation. Until then, expect nothing better than what is currently occurring in our society.

  5. What the enemy uses for destruction, God uses all for our good. Some people who vote democrat still had needed be
    awakened where the nation is heading. Perhaps 4 biden/harris years is where this nation can learn humility and last chance at repentence before judgement. These
    aren’t the carter years, and we aren’t that generation. People during trump were so prideful, and americans still prideful. You know i feel like rahab in bible in the city walls of a city or nation who knew its destruction was near when it saw the isrealites camped afar waiting their day to attack the city. For those who repent God is with them while a city walls are crashing around them.

  6. People like Frank Rast will tell you this isn’t Biden’s fault because Biden’s only been in office 18 months.

  7. You said in the article “The cost of gasoline is driving the 40-year-high inflation”, that is not true. Inflation is caused by an increase in the supply of dollars. The federal reserve has printed well over $30 trillion dollars and loaned out trillions more to private banks and the central banks of other countries. 60% of all US dollars were printed and put into circulation since the start of the lockdowns. These additional dollars dilute the purchasing power of all other dollars, causing more dollars to be needed to buy things. Higher costs are a symptom of inflation, not the cause. Btw, the Feds plan to deal with inflation is to take dollars away from citizens, not private banks or other central banks, so Americans are going to end up with fewer dollars while costs remain high until hopefully Inflation can be tamped.

    • Broke:
      Tell me. What service or product do you know of that will not see an increase in cost because the cost of fuel went up. Anything?
      .
      Yes. Increase in money supply is the “driver” of inflation, but not the only driver. And, in this situation, I think it is a smaller contributor than other factors.

  8. Dan McCaleb, you report numbers well, but you don’t know the half of it. You’re forgetting a misery index. The senile hair-sniffer-in-chief has bankrupted my retirement – and with prices rising like this, I’m going to have to work until I’m 81 or more… – at least another 15 years or until I can’t. Leisure – can’t – I’ve been robbed. Sorry for the disrespect? NOT at all – this worst president and his administration, worst in American history, has reduced my carefully planned comfortable retirement to poverty.

    • Or perhaps it was your faith in capitalism, or just your poor ability to invest. Plenty of folks read the tea leaves and are still making money. You were just too slow to react or didn’t know how to react properly. But I’m sure it’s easier to blame someone else.

  9. I want to see it double so the lazy non informed voter is made aware of what a minority voting block is doing to this country. When it affects them financially then they will have a say in the game. If the true majority want this then everybody needs to vote on it . Make the cost of living higher raise prices way more crash the country then we can start over.

    • The majority did not ever want to go through this exercise in impoverishment and voted to reject this green new deal disaster but were defrauded. The top economic advisor to the deposed president was arrested at Reagan National, cuffed, leg ironed and jailed. There is no way to vote out of this. Fascism is always installed “legally” but does not relinquish power. The “conservative” Senator Sullivan signed off on this.
      If there were an actual opposition party, but there isn’t. In the outside chance the Republicans ever believed in their published party platform, they are so incompetent it makes no difference. One party with a few outliers, like yapping puppies.

  10. One more thing Frank.

    Under Orange Man there was money in peoples pockets (supply) and zero demand for his prices and Recessions.

    But under Grandpa and his messing with the economy, we got both. No demand for them, but more supply than America can handle.

  11. My electric car has cost zero to drive me around. You don’t need a double cab big diesel short man midget rig to haul a 2by4 to your homestead on the kenai.. hahahaaha. Bitching about gas is dumb if you live in Alaska. Like you have a commute? Jesus if you live in anchorage take the bus. All you city red neck wannabes need to drive priuses

    • Your electric car was free, the maintenance on it is free, the electricity to charge it is free? That’s amazing, where does one get a completely free vehicle?

    • Currently if people were to order electric cars, there is a three year wait before the car is ready. And no offense, but a Prius has quite a price tag to it (2020 used $30,000). Not everyone – like older folks like my husband & I are – can afford on a fixed income. I like to see how a Prius does in the middle of winter here on the peninsula where I live. This past winter, I saw a many cars and sedans stranded along roadsides unable to get around because of the amount of snow we had this past winter. What about construction workers needing pick up trucks to haul lumber around? What about pulling a boat when you fish for a living? I don’t believe a Prius can do that. And not all places in Alaska have a bus system. And by the way, how do you think the groceries and supplies you buy in the store get here? Truck driver, barge or plane. They use gas or oil.

    • And by the way, per the recent Consumer Report, electric cars driven in weather below freezing (32 degrees and under in case you’re “really” not from Alaska) the batteries lose a lot of juice in the cold. They’re recommending you buy a car with a range double what the actual miles are. If you have to drive a 100 miles round trip a day, you need a battery that handles 200 miles reliable without a recharge. And of course, you have headlights and heating system that also drains the battery. The Consumer REport says the battery is reduced over 41%. Someone up here has a Nissan Leaf with a range of 151 miles, due to the temperature, they drove 64 miles & had ten miles left.

    • And, you know of some product or service that is not dependent on gas/diesel? Perhaps your grocery store gets their produce via Star Trek teleportation. Do you think your dentist does not see an increase in the costs of the material he needs to keep your teeth healthy? And, do you really think he just absorbs that cost instead of passing it on to the patient?
      .
      Ah, you must be one of those people who cannot see how the US economy is a massive interconnected system. It is impossible to change part of that system without affecting the rest.

      • Oh, thank goodness. Your response in an earlier comment indicates you are not from AK. You must have a lot of time on your hand to be frequently commenting on an online news service for Alaskans. Nothing at all going on in your own state, eh??

        • Really, which response?
          I am most certainly from AK, and what I do with my time is my business.
          .
          Now, can we get back to the topic at hand.
          .
          What goods or services do you know of that will not see an increase in cost when fuel costs goes up?

          • You said on June 15 2022 @ 6:50am “You use potassium chloride for softening your water in AK? That explains a lot.” What’s wrong with using that? It’s frequently used to soften hard water. The only issues is it takes out magnesium and calcium. Why I said you’re probably not from AK is how you responded to the comment…”in AK?” If you lived here, you would not have to stress the “in AK?”

            You said on June 10 2022 @ 8:03am “it will be good in the long run when everyone drives an electric car.” On June 11, 2022 @ 11:57am I addressed the issues of electric cars in the northern climates and that means ALL northern climate that deal with extreme cold temps (please look at a map of the US, draw a line from San Francisco, CA to Charlotte, NC and all the states above the line are going to struggle with operating an electric car. And don’t forget the Canadians too.

            As for the topic at hand, goods/services are going to go up, gas price is up, affecting food and so on; however most people wages have not increased to counter the raising prices. Hence, inflation. And now that the Feds are raising the interest rates making it harder to borrow money, country will probably go into a recession. Electric cars will not significantly impact the transportation infrastructure or the supply chain as it is currently set up.

            This is an issue that has been badgered enough on this thread.We can talk and debate all week long, but the reality is the price sitting at the service station. And that affects everyone one way or another.

  12. Floundering I think this describes Joe Biden perfectly.

    Verb
    To move without the benefit of perfect vision
    Present participle for to physically struggle or flail around clumsily
    Present participle for to move or act clumsily, ineffectively, or with great difficulty
    Present participle for to move ploddingly or with heavy steps
    Present participle for to fail to have the intended effect or result
    Present participle for to face difficulties in a given task or environment
    Present participle for to have financial difficulties
    Present participle for to act or be mentally confused or dumbfounded
    Present participle for to hesitate in acting or speaking, especially due to being flummoxed or confused
    Present participle for to move or jolt around unsteadily or abruptly
    Present participle for to worsen or degenerate
    Present participle for talk with continued involuntary repetition of sounds, especially initial consonants
    Present participle for to interfere with or put into a state of disorder
    Present participle for to fall, move, or hang in a loose and ungainly way
    Present participle for to go to a lower level, especially abruptly

  13. Who are the 39.6% who don’t think the president is intentionally letting gas prices rise? He’s told us that is what he is doing! He said “And when it comes to the gas prices, we’re going through an incredible transition that is taking place that, God willing, when it’s over, we’ll be stronger and the world will be stronger and less reliant on fossil fuels when this is over,” he’s cheering it on!

    He also has a plan to save you $80 a month by spending an untold amount of money “Let’s provide investments and tax credits to weatherize your homes and businesses to be energy efficient and you get a tax credit; double America’s clean energy production in solar, wind, and so much more; lower the price of electric vehicles, saving you another $80 a month” Why do liberals always think spending other peoples money is free?

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