Due to the DC spending spree, your waistline and the prices are going up this Thanksgiving
BY RON SHULTIS
As you go to the grocery store to get those last ingredients you forgot in order to make the perfect Thanksgiving dinner, chances are you’ve noticed that everything—from rolls to the turkey itself—is more expensive. In fact, a recent survey found that the cost of Thanksgiving dinners is up 14 percent from last year alone. This comes on the heels of the Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell admitting that inflation would “likely remain elevated” for at least some time.
High levels of inflation rob all of us of purchasing power by making our dollars less valuable. Essentially a hidden tax, inflation makes everything from Thanksgiving staples like cranberry sauce to basic necessities like gas, clothing, and building supplies more expensive. While there is some amount of inflation every year, inflation has reached levels not seen in roughly three decades, over six percent in the last year.
While there are many causes and influences on inflation, one clear contributing factor is massive government spending. Both Republicans and Democrats in Washington have been on a massive spending spree for decades, as if every day was Black Friday. But between multiple COVID relief bills like the CARES Act and the American Rescue Plan Act, federal spending has reached all-time highs, injecting the economy with trillions of newly printed dollars. Essentially, they’ve been pouring gasoline on a fire of ever-increasing prices.
What’s even worse is the lack of understanding and empathy for how these rising prices harm everyday Americans. Recently, National Economic Council Deputy Director Bharat Ramamurti told Yahoo Finance that the recent inflation “is actually a good sign.” Oh, that’s good to know. But should we really be surprised at the lack of economic understanding coming out of Washington when President Biden states that the price tag for $3.5 trillion in new spending is somehow zero?
Instead, compare how Washington views money like they are playing a game of Monopoly to Tennessee’s fiscal restraint. Recently, Beacon released our first-ever Conservative Tennessee Budget (CTB). The CTB calls for Tennessee leaders to keep spending growth below population growth plus inflation. By keeping spending growth below that level, we can ensure that the cost of state government doesn’t increase more than taxpayers’ ability to pay for it. Interestingly, Tennessee has actually been below that threshold for over a decade, saving a Tennessee family of four nearly $6,000 since 2011.
Imagine if Washington kept to this same standard, keeping spending down over the past decade. Not only would inflation likely be lower this year, but Americans would also have saved countless thousands of dollars through lower taxes and higher purchasing power. It would mean not only a cheaper Thanksgiving turkey, but lower costs for food, clothes, cars, and homes. At least we can all be thankful for responsible spending at one level of government. As for Washington learning better, Christmas is right around the corner. Maybe if we all ask Santa Claus, he can make it happen. After all, he can work miracles.