Soaring Prices Impacting Minnesota Families: ‘We’re Already Struggling’

10 May 2022

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — President Joe Biden is addressing rising inflation Tuesday, telling Americans he feels their pain.

“I want every American to know that I am taking inflation very seriously and it is my top domestic priority,” Biden said.

The president blames rising costs on the pandemic and Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Inflation is quickly becoming a top issue heading into the November mid-term elections. Biden says Republicans will make things worse.

“Their plan is to raise taxes on 75 million American families, over 95% of whom make less than $100,000 a year,” he said.

“He pointed his finger at everybody else except himself, and the American people are sick and tired of it,”

Gas prices alone reached a new record high Tuesday, averaging $4.37 a gallon nationwide.

Biden announced no new policies, but talked about his move to release one-million barrels a day from the strategic petroleum reserve. He’s also asking Congress to pass clean energy and vehicle tax credits and boost fuel economy standards.

In Minnesota, inflation is also impacting family budgets. For St. Paul resident Roiae Bennett and her family, inflation impacts the shopping list. They’re thinking more about what they buy.

“It makes it really difficult when we’re already struggling due to the pandemic,” Bennett said. “It’s either or kind of I had to go with something cheaper and the cheaper stuff is even higher now it.”

(credit: CBS)

Rich Tuomi is on a fixed retirement income and is changing his habits.

“Cut corners, shop a little more at Costco where you can do bulk items you can parcel out, put away, save,” Tuomi said.

These are the types of decisions families make to try to cope with inflation. Mark Bergen, a professor at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, says it’s become a new normal for now.

“What I think people are doing is starting to get a sense of what it is, what that actually means for them as they look at their budgets,” Bergen said.

Federal data gives a glimpse into how it impacts families’ bottom line: Consumers prices rose 8.2% over last year, according to data from March. Food prices: 7.9%. Energy: up 30.9%.

The latest numbers from AAA out Tuesday show Minnesota gas is 30-cents cheaper than the national average — which is the highest on record.

“I know that families all across America are hurting because of inflation,” Biden said.

He knows inflation is a pain point for pocketbooks, but it’s also a political liability heading into the midterms. He’s trying to shore up support, calling it a top priority, but it’s unlikely to pass soon.

“It’s appropriate to be thinking that inflation is something we’ll be grappling with through the summer and throughout the coming year,” Bergen said.

At the Minnesota Capitol, House Democrats pitched a gas tax holiday this summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day, saving Minnesotans more than 28-cents per gallon. But the bill has stalled in the legislature and it’s unclear if it will pass before session ends in a few weeks.

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