President Biden has proudly coined the term ‘Bidenomics’ to promote his economic agenda leading up to the 2024 election.
While the president remains confident in his economic plan, critics argue that inflation continues to bring hardship to Americans, a sentiment shared by Georgia small business owner Brian Maloof.
Maloof, the proprietor of Manuel’s Tavern in Atlanta, expressed his concerns on ‘America Reports’ by highlighting the historic price increases his nearly seventy-year-old restaurant has been forced to implement in order to stay afloat.
Despite the challenges, Maloof initially delayed raising prices in the hope that the transient inflation he mentioned was genuine.
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Unfortunately, as Maloof explained, the situation worsened when Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell urged Congress to abandon the notion of transitory inflation.
The floodgates opened, compelling Manuel’s Tavern and countless other small businesses to pass on the rising costs to their customers. In Manuel’s Tavern’s case, prices across the menu were elevated by approximately 6.5% as their expenses surged, including double-digit percentage increases for essential services such as utilities and accounting.
It was an unexpected turn of events that revealed a seismic shift in the economic landscape, altering the fundamentals that once dictated the success of businesses.
Beyond the challenges faced by Manuel’s Tavern, the broader economy continues to endure its share of difficulties despite marginal improvements in food costs.
While slightly relieved by the improvements in food expenses, Maloof highlighted the real obstacles encountered by businesses, such as a labor shortage, reduced customer spending, and the burden of inflated expenses for utilities, insurance, and rent.
The stark reality of employees facing monthly rent increases of up to $400 is a clear indication of the hardships faced by everyday Americans.
According to the May Consumer Price Index released by the Labor Department, inflation reached 4% year over year. Though less than its peak of 9.1%, this figure remains more than double the pre-pandemic average and significantly surpasses the Federal Reserve’s 2% target rate.
While there was a slight reprieve in energy costs, with a 3.6% decrease over the month and an 11.7% decrease compared to last year, other price hikes proved persistent.
Shelter costs, which contribute to around 40% of the core inflation increase, rose by 0.6% in May and have surged by 8% in the past year. Used vehicle prices saw a 4.4% increase, mirroring April’s figures, while grocery prices observed a 0.2% jump after declining for two consecutive months.
Amidst President Biden’s celebration of his economic accomplishments, individuals like Maloof and ordinary Americans find themselves grappling with the ongoing effects of inflation and the lingering concerns regarding its broader consequences.
Maloof expresses his hope that fellow business owners and local leaders will join in highlighting the apparent ‘disconnect’ between ‘Bidenomics’ and the realities experienced by most Americans.
Recognizing this significant disparity is essential to addressing the profound challenges and resolving the genuine problems faced by businesses and individuals alike.
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