Rising Costs, Falling Wages: The Unfolding Affordability Predicament

In the realm of government statistics, one that often misleads the public is the Consumer Price Index (CPI). While widely regarded as the inflation rate, it represents the rate of increase in a subjective “market basket” of goods and services.

Unfortunately, the items of utmost concern to the average American, such as food and gas prices, remain outside the CPI’s scope. Thus, the monthly CPI figure fails to provide meaningful insights into these vital aspects.

Currently, the CPI stands at 3.1%. That number is down from its peak of 9.1% in June 2022. However, this statistic alone does not paint a complete picture of inflation. With soaring food and gas prices, real wages are lagging behind, further exacerbating Americans’ financial strain.

The Biden administration continues to try to take credit for everything, even the things they said were totally out of their control. They felt deserving of praise for the gas prices dropping, even though they insisted they had no control over the prices — Biden himself even said he could not drop the prices for Americans.

According to a recent report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics disclosed a 4.1% increase in non-farm wages over the past year, exceeding the inflation rate of 3.1%. Nevertheless, the reality for the average blue-collar or middle-class citizen is harsher.

Since President Biden assumed office, inflation-adjusted real hourly wages have plummeted by 4.7%. This translates to a decline in weekly earnings from $399 in January 2021 to $381 in November 2023.

Addressing this economic challenge, former Trump economic advisor Larry Kudlow calls it the “affordability crisis” – a wage decline coupled with a dramatic price surge, contributing to President Biden’s abysmal approval ratings.

Reflecting on the escalating costs of essentials, the surge in food prices, epitomized by $5 dozen eggs and $4 gallons of milk at the beginning of 2023, paints a grim financial reality. Stagnant wages have led to a perceptible erosion of financial stability for many Americans since Biden became president.

Jerome Nathanial, director of policy at City Harvest, emphasizes that the “food crisis” is fundamentally an “affordability crisis.” This crisis extends beyond the realm of groceries, encompassing struggles to afford housing, childcare, medical expenses, and transportation.

City Harvest, as the largest food distributor to soup kitchens and food banks in New York City, has witnessed a 71% increase in the number of children served since the start of the Covid pandemic, highlighting the broader societal implications.

According to Nathanial, the crisis creates a daunting cycle, impacting children’s health and academic performance — thereby perpetuating poverty and hunger. The Food Research and Action Center highlights the long-term consequences, diminishing the prospects of future economic stability and success.

While Biden tries to emphasize his “efforts” to curb inflation, merely bringing down the CPI does not address the underlying issues. The American voter is astute enough to distinguish between persuasive language and tangible economic improvements.

Voters want to see economic and financial conditions improve and mere statistical declines will likely not be sufficient to secure voter confidence and support.