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OPINION

Inflation Is This Thanksgiving’s Unwelcome Guest

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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American Farm Bureau Federation

Last year, Americans were instructed not to gather with their loved ones due to pandemic concerns. This year, as families are planning to gather once more, the most expensive Thanksgiving in history could yet again derail their plans.   

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Just four months ago, the Biden administration touted their claim that the price of an Independence Day barbecue was down 16 cents from the year before—proof, they said, “the Biden economic plan is working.” When Americans started noticing goods becoming more expensive, the administration assured it was just temporary

Now it’s November, and the administration is singing a different tune. The IRS recently adjusted tax brackets to account for inflation, indicating they anticipate it to be here for the long haul. And President Biden now says addressing inflation is a priority—perhaps because his approval rating is tanking by the day.

With inflation hitting a 30-year high, families are feeling its effects in preparation for Thanksgiving festivities even more than they did on the eve of backyard celebrations of American independence. 

Since July, the inflation rate has steadily ticked upwards—it’s now up 6.2 percent from one year ago—and we’re going on five straight months with an inflation rate of more than five percent. 

Thanksgiving staples will come with a price tag the pilgrims at Plymouth could never have imagined. 

The milk you’ll need to add a little creaminess to your mashed potatoes? It’s up four percent from a year ago—now an average of $3.59 per gallon. And a package of dinner rolls will now cost you nearly 15 percent more than it would have in 2020.

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You’ll spend 61 percent more on gas to get to and from your in-laws house for pumpkin pie—New Yorkers are paying an average of $3.57 per gallon; Missourians, $3.08; and some Californians are paying a dizzying $6.05 per gallon. If you can afford to arrive at your holiday destination, take your time and enjoy that slice of pie—because pie crusts have jumped 20 percent, and pie filling has risen seven percent. 

You can also expect the dinner guest of honor—the bird itself—to come at a substantially higher cost: The Farm Bureau’s annual Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey reports that a 16 pound frozen turkey will cost an average of $23.99—up nearly five dollars from last year.  

Last year, the Farm Bureau reported the lowest costs for a holiday feast since 2010. This year, Thanksgiving dinner will be an average of 14 percent more expensive than last year. This assumes, of course, that you can even find all your needed ingredients in the store. 

These price increases add up at the checkout counter. And as Americans are left gaping at the stunning grand total on their grocery store receipts the week of Thanksgiving—and every weekly grocery bill thereafter—they can thank the president and his policies, which have only made the situation worse. 

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The Biden administration continues to perpetuate policies that serve to prolong and worsen the labor crisis that helped to initially spur supply chain woes and send prices sky high. 

One is the Child Tax Credit. The Biden administration expanded this credit dramatically, revoking the work requirement and turning it into regular monthly payments. It is now larger than the most generous cash welfare payment a single parent with two dependents could receive. 

Another is food stamps. In October, the administration made a historic—albeit illegal—25 percent increase to food stamp benefits, while the work requirement for able-bodied adults without dependents remains suspended.

An unemployed parent with two dependents could make nearly $45,000 per year by staying home and collecting these and other expanded government benefits—more than the wages of the average median wage job.

Why would the administration expand programs that discourage work when there is a record 10.4 million open jobs in the United States? These pandemic-era programs fan the flames of inflation by discouraging work and making it more lucrative to stay home. If we want to see an improvement in the economy and in the prices of consumer goods, these programs need to go.

The Biden administration is at worst, manufacturing crisis, and at best, out of touch. 

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In a recent national survey, 75 percent of all likely voters say they’re concerned about the increases in costs of goods and services. A majority also say price increases have negatively impacted their budget at least somewhat, and more than half are concerned about their ability to meet all their monthly expenses.

The president recently said few Americans would prefer last Thanksgiving to this year’s Thanksgiving. But he’s wrong—because instead of eating turkey and toasting a glass of Chardonnay in solitude, many American families have serious worries about how they’re going to keep a roof over their heads. 

As is our tradition, Americans will be thankful this coming Thursday as we celebrate with loved ones, but it won't be for President Biden’s failed economic plan.   

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