Inflation continues to rise in the United States, causing the price of consumer goods to surge by 6.8% over the past year based on a Friday report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and shows the largest increase since the 1980s.
Across the board, American citizens can see the prices of everyday items from food to gas increase and will cause this holiday season to be more expensive than usual. While the fact that Christmas and New Year will cost more for residents, what can be debated is how worried every person should be about the situation.
Rising Inflation in the United States
There is currently sharp disagreement in Washington about what exactly is causing the speedy rise in prices in the United States. There are also discussions and arguments about what the federal government can do to address the issue or if they should even do something about it.
While some of the causes for inflation are self-evident, including the coming third year of the coronavirus pandemic, a supply chain crisis has ravaged nations worldwide. This meant that the majority of goods, from game consoles to oranges, are more difficult to stock for various reasons, driving prices up, VOX reported.
In response, the administration of United States President Joe Biden is continuing to crack down on antitrust violations that could worsen, instead of mitigating, the current inflation issue. This week, the concern was voiced by economist Larry Summers, who worked as the Treasury secretary during the Clinton administration.
In his statement, Summers said that the federal government's proposed antitrust actions were "more likely to raise than lower prices" across the nation. The Democratic U.S. president has called for scrutiny of top meat industry firms and U.S. oil companies.
Biden argued that the lack of competition in the industries has greatly contributed to artificially high consumer prices amid the coronavirus pandemic. But in a Twitter post, Summers said that the claim that antitrust can combat inflation reflected denial of science, the New York Post reported.
On Wednesday, the Biden administration announced that the federal government was extending the moratorium on student loan repayments, which will benefit tens of millions of Americans in the country. The decision came as the moratorium was scheduled to expire by the end of next month and extend by 90 days.
In March 2020, the moratorium was first put into place as part of the federal government's response to the coronavirus pandemic, and they had already extended it three times. The last extension was seen in September where the Department of Education said that it was the last extension.
However, many are questioning what has changed since September to justify the Biden administration choosing to extend the moratorium. Despite that, the extension of the moratorium will give more than 40 million student loan borrowers enough leeway to not pay hundreds or even thousands worth of monthly loan payments at least until May, which will provide them with more finances to spend on other necessities, MSNBC reported.