The Labor Department’s March inflation numbers released this month skyrocketed past February’s, hitting a 12-month increase of 8.5 percent and the steepest annual increase since 1981. That’s no small figure, but most Americans know the inflation they encounter at the grocery store checkout, the gas pump, the car lot, and the leasing office is far higher than that.
Just look at basic items like groceries and gas, and you’ll see how much higher those necessities are climbing than the generic inflation figures slapped across headlines.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in the average U.S. city, ground beef is up 14.9 percent since last March, boneless stew beef is up 24.3 percent, bacon is up 23.1 percent, boneless chicken breasts are up 17.6 percent, eggs are up 25.9 percent, milk is up 17 percent, frozen orange juice concentrate is up 18 percent, and ground coffee is up 15.8 percent. Meanwhile, fuel oil has jumped a whopping 71.5 percent, and utility gas is up 23.3 percent.
Many of these urban numbers don’t even capture how steeply prices have risen for middle America, however. In the Midwest, ground beef has risen 24.5 percent, almost 10 percentage points more than the urban average.
While BLS breaks down beef products into ground beef, steaks, stew beef, etc., its “all other uncooked beef” category shows a drastic 38.2 percent jump in the Midwest, compared to a still-high rise of 25.4 percent in cities. The inflation of the price of bacon in the Midwest is 3 percentage points higher than in cities, while for boneless ham it’s more than 15 percentage points higher. The price of boneless chicken breasts in the Midwest jumped by 31.2 percent, compared to 17.6 in U.S. cities.
In all likelihood, these prices aren’t done climbing. Investment firm Evercore ISI projected the price of chicken breasts to jump at a year-over-year rate of up to 70 percent in the first half of 2022, with beef and pork prices rising 20 percent.
So when you hear “8 percent inflation” bandied about but feel certain your costs are rising at a far higher rate, you’re not crazy — you’re just feeling the very real consequences of inflationary policies that Washington types are happy to brush off.
Don’t listen to CNN journo-splaining to you “Why inflation can actually be good for everyday Americans and bad for rich people.” As Axios reported from Labor Department statistics, “Shoppers with incomes of less than $40,000 aren’t buying as much fresh meat and seafood. … They’re turning to frozen meat or canned stuff instead — and buying more store brands. It’s these lower-income shoppers who are most at-risk as food prices rise.”
It’s also not just gas and groceries that are rising higher and faster than the nationally reported inflation numbers. According to a Redfin analysis, February saw a 15 percent year-over-year increase in asking rent, and a 31 percent jump in the national homebuyers’ median monthly mortgage rate. Americans in the market to buy used vehicles have also seen a far higher price spike than the overall inflation rate in the past year, at a whopping 41.2 percent as reported in March.
At the same time, wages can’t keep pace with rising expenses, meaning “Bidenflation” is skimming off the top of Americans’ paychecks — to the tune of around $4,200 in annual depreciation of the average salary’s worth.
These are unsustainable numbers for most Americans, especially those who aren’t making as much as the politicians pushing bloated, multi-trillion-dollar spending plans to flood the economy with cash that’s bleeding value. Legacy media outlets might try to downplay rising inflation as something that could be solved by eating lentils and letting the family pet die, but Americans know every time they buy groceries, fill the gas tank, or pay the utility bill how hard high-spending inflationary policies are making their lives.
Elle Reynolds is an assistant editor at The Federalist, and received her B.A. in government from Patrick Henry College with a minor in journalism. You can follow her work on Twitter at @_etreynolds.