If you are like so many here in our great community, you are experiencing the national epidemic of hardworking Americans known as “funds be low and extra no longer exists”. Your paycheck no longer covers your cost of living. This is the same paycheck that previously provided funding for food, gas, medicine, and cable along with all your needs. It is the same paycheck that provides a little extra savings for a rainy day. The rainy day began in 2019 with massive government giveouts and mandatory government taxation and regulations which provided a massive US debt and regulations that increased the costs of so many goods and services. This combination produced an inflated economy making it hard for hardworking Americans to pay debts, buy groceries and gas, and generally not be able to provide for all the needs of their families. With this continued struggle of making ends meet so many Americans have lost any hope of achieving their American Dreams.

Most people experience paycheck shortness, but most do not realize the significant increases we have all endured in purchasing goods and services for survival. The latest information provided by the Producer Price Index provides a very clear picture of why our paycheck is not enough. “The Producer Price Index (PPI) program measures the average change over time in the selling prices received by domestic producers for their output.” Since March of last year, fresh vegetable prices have increased by 26.4%, chicken prices have increased by 21.8%, beef prices have increased by 12.4%, pork prices have increased by 7.8%, coffee has increased by 6.9%, and electricity has increased by 3.9%. That is just one year’s price increase. Since 2020, milk has increased by 12.3%, eggs have increased by 100%, coffee has increased by 30%, bread has increased by 29%, bacon has increased by 13.3% and oranges have increased by 16.3%. Inflation affects every product, all goods and services, and every hardworking American.

The average annual price per gallon of home heating oil in 2020 was $2.55 per gallon and currently, it is $4.03 per gallon. Gasoline’s average annual price per gallon in 2020 was $2.25 per gallon and currently is $3.71 per gallon. Diesel in 2020 was $2.55 per gallon and now $4.06 per gallon. Fuel and electricity are major cost components in the production of goods and services.

All of these inflationary increases have led to an all-time high in Americans’ total credit card debt. Household debt has risen more than 20% since 2020 and American’s total credit card debt hit more than $1 trillion dollars. The paycheck shortness is easily absorbed by credit cards and will end up costing Americans even more in high-interest costs.

Inflation and taxation have killed our economy on both a national and local level. The good news is that hardworking Americans can help control skyrocketing inflation and excessive taxation by voting for leadership who will fight to stop reckless spending and senseless taxation. In August and November 2024, I hope you will vote for leadership who will fight for our local community and its hardworking American people. Vote for leadership who will encourage Americans to achieve their American Dreams.

I will leave you with those thoughts and that concludes this week’s The Straight Truth With Mary Ann Hutton.