By Jessica Easthope
Tannisha Frazier is a regular customer at the Associated Supermarkets in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. She lost her mom and uncle to COVID-19 just days apart and says since then, putting food on the table for her and her teenage son has been a nightmare.
“Horrible, the prices have jacked up,” Tannisha said. “It’s horrible, we still have to eat and survive.”
Inflation in the United States has hit a 40-year high. Financial experts say American families are spending on average $275 more dollars a month. Goldman Sachs predicts grocery store costs will go up another five to six percent this year after rising 6.5% last year, causing people to skip the grocery store line and instead stand in line at a food pantry.
“It’s happened at the same time that there’s been this large increase in food insecurity and hunger,” said Public Health Professor at City University of New York’s Public Health, Nick Freudenberg. “So I think we’re really worried what these two trends in the face of the continuing pandemic will do for low-income folks and particularly for communities of color.”
The start of the pandemic showed how vulnerable our economy was to a global health crisis. Infectious disease experts say COVID-19 won’t go away but eventually spread at stable levels. The question now is if the pandemic never ends will prices ever go down?
“We need a much more aggressive federal program as we’ve seen many times over the last 100 years in challenging monopoly control over a variety of industries including the food industry,” Nick said, “and we need regulation of not allowing food companies to make windfall profits during this crisis.”
At family-owned and operated stores like Associated, their struggles are not far off from shoppers. General Manager Danny Liz says the cost of basics like bread, milk, meat and eggs are up because every hand that touches the product – from the farmer to the delivery driver – has raised their prices.
“A lot of people feel to kill the messenger,” Danny said. “We’re only the messenger. If I get it for $4 dollars, I have to sell it for whatever it is in order to keep the store running.”
With factories closing down due to staff shortages and refusal to comply with vaccine and mask mandates, the buck keeps getting passed.
“It rolls downhill and we’re the end of the stick,” Danny said.
Just like his customers, Danny wants things to change, but for now, his priority is to keep inventory and selection up in hopes that people continue to shop – that’s the bottom line.
Gas, homes, and cars could cost you even more soon. Supply chain issues have led to price increases already. If Russia further invades Ukraine, you might start paying even more.
That’s because it’s not so easy to export goods from a war zone.
Here are four ways a Russian attack on Ukraine could affect you financially.
One – you might have to pay more for gas. Russia is the world’s second largest producer of oil and prices are already spiking.
Some analysts say conflict in Ukraine could send them over one-hundred dollars a barrel. Prices haven’t been that high in seven years.
Two – global food prices could increase. Russia is the world’s top exporter of wheat. Ukraine produces wheat and corn.
Three – you might have to pay more in interest on your next loan. The Federal Reserve is already hinting it’ll raise interest rates. Increased inflation could add to its motivation.
Four – you might take a hit to your stock portfolio. Markets fell Monday when the U.S. said it would close its embassy in Ukraine. Investors knows the world economy is connected.