The Democratic Party and the Biden administration may have a very difficult time taking voters’ minds off of the condition of the American economy as this year’s midterm elections approach. The “May Food Price Outlook” just published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a strong indication that food prices are going to be front and center in the minds of average working voters.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is the most familiar metric discussed by the media when covering inflation. While the annual rate of CPI in April was 8.3%, that number does not convey the full impact felt by most consumers on core items. The USDA reported that food prices for the same period were up by 9.4%.
The prices for food purchased for consumption at home is increasing at a faster rate than that purchased for restaurant consumption. Prices for food at grocery stores shot up by 10.8% annually in April.
The USDA is now forecasting that the price of food will continue increasing significantly throughout the summer.
The combination of many factors, including Joe Biden’s policies of throttling domestic energy production and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, has led to an energy supply crisis causing skyrocketing transportation and agricultural costs. International fertilizer costs are also rising rapidly as supply chains and production are being impacted by instability in Eastern Europe.
Essentially every input cost involved in producing and transporting food to retail shelves is increasing rapidly.
Domestic food production is also being impacted by natural conditions that are exacerbated by Biden administration policies. In the egg and poultry industry, a highly transmissible avian flu has affected around 38 million chickens. The price of eggs was up 10.3% in April, and the USDA now predicts a further increase of up to 20.5% this year.
Foods in the USDA’s “meats” category are all rising sharply. Meats were up 11.9% annually in April and are predicted to continue increasing.
Even as the USDA says its May projections are subject to upward revisions, they already show the largest increases in food prices since 1980. That year, food inflation came in at 8.59%. The average annual food price inflation since then has been 2.95%. America is likely to see monthly increases in some food categories at that rate this year.
A new poll from the Trafalgar Group shows that among likely voters in this year’s elections, 60% believe federal spending and Biden policies are the primary reasons behind America’s surging inflation. Among Republican voters the number is 88%, and 61% of independents agreed.
Americans will directly face the food crisis hitting the nation every day between now and the elections in November, and the majority of them who know who is to blame is only going to increase.