The state of the economy is a heated topic of discussion these days, as Republican presidential nominees debate their strategies to cure the nation’s woes and President Obama offers his solutions if given another four years in office. At the end of the day, Americans are spending more on basic living essentials -- food, gas, health care and utilities. As consumers tighten their belts, they are splurging less on steak dinners, and they are saving more pending a deepening of this financial crisis. How can agriculture turn this trend around? As the backbone of the U.S. economy, certainly we can find solutions, as well.
Lorna Barrett for NewsNet 5 reports, “Taking a bite out of a juicy steak or burger is going to take a bigger bite out of your wallet. The price of ground beef for a basic burger has soared to an all-time high, up 25% in just a few years. Analysts say retail beef prices will likely rise 4-5% this year from $2.87/lb. to $3.55/lb. Steak is up 14% to more than $6/lb. This follows a 10% increase last year, further stretching consumers still coping with high unemployment and modest wage increases.”
Francine Knowles, business reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, adds more, “Want to go somewhere? Whether by plane, train or automobile, it’s costing you more. Feeling hungry? Some grocery prices are enough to make you sick. But don’t get too ill; the medical co-pays will hurt. Own a house, its value has plummeted. But, surprise! Your homeowner’s insurance premium hasn’t. And what you’re paying for water and sewer service now could make you cry.
“The prices on a wide range of goods and services spiked last year and over the past few years. While inflation affects everybody, higher food and gas prices can be particularly problematic for lower-income households, which can spend as much as 30% of their income on such necessities.”
How has the struggling economy and the rising cost of living impacted your spending habits? What things are priorities, and what has your family cut to save more and spend less?