But it seems that all across the country, the trajectory of the ongoing health crisis and high-inflationary pressures—which have surged to a nearly four-decade high—are only continuing to head in the wrong direction. And this is putting even more strain on the wallets of ordinary, pandemic-weary Americans.
Keeping Up With Inflation
For most economists, January’s jobs report was indeed fantastic, but there is already increasing talk regarding whether wages can keep up with rising inflation.
“The bad news is that if you look at what’s happening right now with the inflation, there’s no signs that it’s receding,” former President Donald Trump’s economic adviser Steve Moore recently told Fox Business.
University of Chicago Professor Austan Goolsbee echoed similar sentiments on the same network.
“Gas prices being such a public price have outsized their share of our budgets, what we spend [sic],” he said.
“They have an outsized impact on consumer confidence,” he continued.
Moore contended that “it looks like it’s getting worse. I mean, oil hit $90 a barrel—that’s the equivalent of paying about $4 to $4.50 a gallon.”
He continued by pointing out that “you see food prices rising—so I do worry about this inflation problem.”
Desperate Calls for Help
Against this unsavory backdrop, millions of financially struggling Americans have taken action to demand another round or two of government-issued stimulus checks to help them out.
Currently, there are no less than seven petitions doing just that and they have collectively amassed well over five million signatures. The most popular petition was launched by pandemic-hit Denver-area restaurant owner Stephanie Bonin, who is calling on Washington lawmakers to support cash-strapped families with a $2,000 payment for adults and a $1,000 payment for children until the pandemic ends.
“With businesses and schools closing across the country to control the spread of this virus, many people have already lost their jobs,” reads the petition, which recently reached its ambitious target of three million signatures.
“Others are being forced to stay home. This is catastrophic for working families like mine,” she continues.
Not to be outdone, another popular petition is being orchestrated by the Senior Citizens League, which has been aggressively pressing Congress to quickly approve a fourth round of stimulus checks to only recipients of Social Security benefits.
“Social Security benefits are one of the few types of income in retirement adjusted for inflation. But soaring inflation has taken a toll on household finances of retired and disabled Social Security recipients,” the petition notes.
“I strongly urge you that now is the time that you must support an emergency $1,400.00 stimulus check to Social Security recipients,” it concludes.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.