It’s Getting Harder to Get By

Dear Friend,

When rising prices were cutting into Americans’ paychecks, we were told inflation was “transitory.” It wouldn’t last. If we just ignored the problem, it would go away on its own. That didn’t happen.

When gas prices shot through the roof, we were told selling off part of the strategic petroleum reserve would solve the problem. That didn’t happen.

Then, when the supply chain crisis clogged our ports, delayed shipments, and drove prices even higher, we were told the President would solve the problem. That didn’t happen.

Instead, ports on the west coast told ships to anchor further out and go slower across the ocean. Out of sight, out of mind, they reasoned. While there’s no longer an unsightly armada of loaded container ships anchored in the Port of Los Angeles, the problem still hasn’t been addressed.

The same can be said for sky-high gas prices and inflated grocery bills. These problems haven’t disappeared. If anything, they’ve gotten worse. As a result, most Americans are worse off than they were this time last year. It’s gotten more expensive to put food on the table, fill up your tank, and just scrape by. Inflation and rising prices cost the average American family $3,500 last year. Many are predicting this year will be worse.

The bigger problem is that paychecks haven’t even come close to keeping up with rising inflation. Real wages are down, and it seems like there’s no end in sight—no light at the end of the tunnel. It doesn’t have to be this way. There are real and concrete steps we can take to right the ship.

For starters, we’ve got to stop the things that are making this problem worse. That means we have to reign in the out-of-control spending that’s fueling inflation. Luckily, we caught a break there when the President’s massive tax and spending plan hit a brick wall in the Senate last month.

Next, we have to stop the mandates and regulations coming out of Washington that are making the supply chain crisis worse. For example, there’s no need to force vaccine mandates on truckers hauling truckloads across international borders. We’re already having problems finding enough truckers to get things where they need to go. There’s no sense in scaring any more off. Instead, we should be listening to them and giving them what they need to get the job done.

Finally, we have to make sure the money we are spending is actually going to fix this mess we’re in. Since last year’s infrastructure bill was passed, the Administration still hasn’t fully briefed lawmakers on how exactly they plan on spending all that money. That makes it hard for Congress to stop waste, fraud, and abuse. It makes it next to impossible to ensure that money is going towards things that will ease this crisis, like expanding capacity and increasing efficiency at our ports, instead of just paying to scrap diesel equipment and replace it with electric machinery powered by the coal-fired power plant down the road.

None of these problems will disappear if we just pretend like they don’t exist. We have to put aside our political differences and start doing what needs to be done to solve these crises. For the most part, Washington just needs to get out of the way. Until that happens, it’s going to keep getting more and more difficult for folks just to get by.


Sam Graves

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