Thanksgiving, a beloved American holiday ranking second in spending only to Christmas, faces a concerning challenge—the impact of inflation on the nation’s economy from escalating federal spending.

According to CNBC, Thanksgiving represents 13.4% of holiday spending, with Americans splurging an estimated $1.1 billion on festivities in 2022. Despite an overall decrease in Thanksgiving meal costs since 2022, the lingering effects of inflation are keeping prices astronomically high and higher than in 2021.

One of the reasons for rising inflation is the role of massive federal spending, which has exacerbated the rising costs and fueled inflation, directly impacting the cost of Thanksgiving dinner and travel.

The U.S. economy has continued to see a rise in food prices, increasing 3.2% from July 2022 to July 2023.

The Heritage Foundation released a report linking the increased federal spending spanning from March 2020 to December 2022 with the worst wave of inflation since the 1970s.

Federal spending’s impact on the economy is complex; with increased capital available in the economy, consumer demand is increased. However, suppliers unable to meet the heightened demand may raise prices, contributing to inflationary pressures. According to a Gallup poll, 48% of Americans define the status of the economy as “poor.” 

Over the years, Thanksgiving expenses have continued to climb for Americans. Key ingredients essential to the traditional Thanksgiving dinner have undergone a price surge.

Turkey experienced a 7.2% increase, gravy spiked by 7.5%, rolls rose by 5.7%, and both travel costs and cranberry sauce saw upticks of 3.5% and 3%, respectively, over last year’s price increases.

Last year, one in four Americans indicated they had to opt out of Thanksgiving dinner due to excessively high prices.

A report released by Reuters this week stated that a record-setting number of people will travel on Nov. 26 with 3.2 million passengers. 

Although the price of flights has gone down by 13.2% since 2022, rising travel costs are not obsolete, as the cost of Uber has increased at four times the rate of inflation.

Citizens across the country face financial difficulties that have inhibited their ability to celebrate the holidays. According to a survey by Bankrate, 52% of adults choose to forgo travel over the winter holidays in 2023. One local news station shared a story of a Virginia woman opting out of Thanksgiving, saying her reasoning was “Too expensive! We can’t do it.”

As Thanksgiving approaches, the repercussions of escalating federal spending cast a discernible pall over festive dinner tables and travel plans. 

The federal government must acknowledge the millions of Americans grappling with profound financial challenges. 

Addressing this economic strain becomes a fiscal responsibility and a moral imperative, ensuring that the spirit of gratitude will not be overshadowed by the hardships citizens are facing nationwide.

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