The other day I was at my local bookstore when a conversation caught my attention. While I’m normally used to hearing people discuss the horrific state of the economy on television or talking with family and friends, it’s rare that I hear strangers share their thought on it in public. For what it’s worth, what I heard broke my heart, especially because I’m spending the summer in an area that’s rapidly growing area and truly represents the American dream, at least for now.
I recall a bookstore employee saying something along the lines of “My family used to be solidly middle class, and now with gas prices and everything going up, we are slowly moving down the economic ladder.”
She was speaking with a customer, who also seemed to have his own concerns about his wallet. While he did partially blame the corporations–I’m not here to do a deep dive into the man’s political leanings, based on overhearing thirty seconds–but they both seemed to be feeling hopeless.
In the United States, if people are staying employed and continue to work hard, there is no excuse for people to be going down the economic ladder. Unfortunately, inflation has turned everyone who is not wealthy into penny pinchers, and even those who are wealthy more cautious. It would be easy to overlook slight price increases, but when they are everywhere someone shops, it does not take a rocket scientist to notice the difference over time.
People like this woman at the bookstore are simply doing their jobs, and their families are presumably doing all the right things to stay afloat. There are likely hundreds of thousands of families, if not millions, that are finding themselves sinking to a lower socioeconomic status than they were prior to the Biden administration.
Still, many are either unaware or unwilling to admit that these price hikes are largely due to high government spending. While the stimulus checks may have felt good at the time, Americans are essentially paying those back right now. Some opportunist corporations could be using this as a chance to hike their prices up without reason, except that is highly unlikely. In fact, if many places could keep their prices low, it would set them apart from the rest of the market and benefit them. For reference, look no further than In&Out Burger, Arizona Iced Tea, and Costco hotdogs.
Obviously, it’s impossible to know all the details about this random bookstore employee’s financial status. What is obvious though is that her sentiment resonates with many others, and they are left wondering how America got to be like this. Those who do understand have a responsibility to educate about the consequences of absurd government spending, even when it might sound nice temporarily. Fiscal conservatism is not sexy, but it does preserve the American dream and encourage upward mobility, as opposed to a downward spiral.
It’s fair to say that the Americans who voted for President Joe Biden were expecting someone like Bill Clinton, and the economy that came along with it. Instead, they got someone that made empty promises on coronavirus and ended up being worse than the Carter administration economically. Whether you’re a bookstore employee, a truck driver, or a white-collar office worker, we’re all feeling the pain of the Biden economy.