Biden Acknowledges There's Little He Can Do to Combat Soaring Food and Gas Prices

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KEY POINTS

  • For many months, consumers have been grappling with sky-high living costs.
  • While many are calling on lawmakers to step in and help, Biden recently acknowledged there's little he can do to ease the burden.


Consumers may be in for a long stretch of difficulty.

There's a reason so many Americans are struggling financially these days. Since last year, inflation has been soaring, driving the cost of just about everything upward.

Meanwhile, gas prices have been through the roof since the start of the Ukraine conflict. And so not surprisingly, consumers are having an increasingly difficult time making ends meet.

For some, that means raiding their savings accounts to come up with the money to cover their basic costs. But for those without savings to tap, racking up credit card debt may be the only solution in the near term for putting food on the table.

Many Americans are hoping lawmakers will step in and arrange for some measure of relief. And earlier this year, lawmakers floated the idea of a gas-specific stimulus.

But recently, President Biden admitted that there's little he can do to lower the cost of food or gas in the near term. And that means consumers could be in for an extended period of pain.

What's being done to address inflation?

So far, Biden's plan for combating inflation has been relying on the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates. When that happens, it becomes more expensive to borrow, which generally, in turn, results in a pullback by consumers. As consumers start spending less, the gap between supply and demand can close. And that can ease inflation.

But beyond that, there's little Biden says he can do. And those who think a fourth stimulus check is the answer to the current problem are actually pretty far off.

See, part of the reason inflation has gotten so out of hand is that stimulus policies last year pumped tons of money into the economy at a time when supply chains were sluggish. That caused consumer demand to well exceed supply, thereby driving living costs up. If lawmakers were to issue another stimulus round now, it likely wouldn't help things in the long run. If anything, it might make inflation even worse.

How to combat inflation

While Biden may not be able to do much to bring down food and gas costs, he is working on plans to help families pay for things like medication and childcare. But still, in the absence of federal aid, consumers will need to spend very carefully on essentials to make their money last.

One option consumers can look into, though, is participating in the gig economy. Thankfully, the job market remains strong, and there are lots of work opportunities available. Those who take on a second job could give their income the boost it needs to keep up with soaring costs.

Consumers can also look at making budget changes to battle inflation. Granted, those living a bare-bones lifestyle may not have expenses they can cut. But those paying for non-essentials may need to consider scaling back until living costs dip back down to manageable levels. Unfortunately, we don’t know exactly when that will happen.

It’s also worth noting that U.S. consumers aren’t the only ones battling inflation. Rather, the problem exists all over. We can hope that gas prices will ease once the Ukraine conflict resolves, but sadly, there’s no clear time frame for that, either.

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