A solution to inflation can be seated at your kitchen table

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IInflation is 6.8% and people are rightly concerned about this kitchen table problem.

“The amount I paid for 3 packs of chicken last month was $ 18. For the same amount of the same cut of chicken this month, it’s $ 27,” wrote a frustrated customer. Judy Brandt to our organization. And while elected officials may ultimately “pay the price” in the 2022 midterm elections if inflation persists, families are currently facing pressure on their budgets.

Instead of looking for answers in Washington, we need creative ways to re-engage sidelined workers. They are a key market force in driving prices down, but that will require smart policies, not more federal money.

According to the latest Monmouth University survey, 3 in 10 Americans say paying daily household bills and inflation are their top concerns – a big increase from this summer. Meanwhile, those who say it’s easy to pay grocery bills have dropped 13 points over the past two years to just 56%.

Women are extremely aware of inflation because they control or influence 85% household purchases. Women also own nearly 13 million businesses, which means they are sensitive to the extent to which even pennies of increases in the prices of raw materials, labor and other inputs reduce their profits.

Inflation is a tax everyone pays, but not everyone can afford it. Price fluctuations are more devastating for low-income consumers and seniors who spend proportionately more of their budget on groceries and other necessities such as home heating. Families at the top of the income scale are also feeling the price pressure. Pedestrian traffic among middle-income families picked up at discount stores like Dollar Tree. Even then, price-conscious buyers are shocked that everything is no longer just a dollar.

Almost half of the adult population believe that the actions of the federal government have actually made inflation worse. When left-wing economist Larry Summers sounded the alarm that too much federal spending on COVID relief – especially after the US bailout was passed last year – would trigger inflation, it was argued. fired. However, Summers was vindicated by economic data of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

The private and public sectors must find ways to re-engage sidelined workers who have left for a number of reasons, including fears over COVID, childcare issues, pensions and generous government benefits. Another round of stimulus checks and expanded entitlements are not the answer because they will discourage work. Raising compensation is not enough to attract workers either, as stubborn unemployment figures show. Workers want more flexibility.

In one Chamber of Commerce survey, COVID-19 unemployed ranked flexible hours and full-time work from home above pay increases. Small employers are often better placed to negotiate flexible agreements than large companies, which could be a competitive advantage over higher wages.

Workers who need flexible hours, such as caregivers, women and retirees, can find good opportunities in working from home. Two million concert workers would have been added in 2020 alone. Lawmakers should protect stage work and self-employment contracts by not enacting restrictive labor policies that wrongly reclassify stage jobs as full-time employees. States and Congress should consider legislation that encourages employers to create flexible opportunities.

We do not have to accept millions of missing workers as a new normal. If we do, we are heading towards a critical labor-deprived economy and at prices that will remain high for some time to come.

Hadley Heath Manning is the Policy Director at Independent Women’s Forum. Patrice Onwuka is the director of the Center for Economic Opportunity at the Independent Women’s Forum.


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