Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial kick-off to the summer season. As a nation, we remember the brave men and women who gave their lives to defend our country and our freedoms. 

We also look forward to the start of summer activities: traveling, cookouts, beach vacations, road trips, and pool parties.

For yet another year, prices are markedly higher on summer staples, celebrations, and travel.

Cookout prices were up 10% overall from 2023. Here are price increases on specific barbecue items based on recent inflation data:

  • Ground beef for burgers: +6%
  • Steaks: +6.5%
  • Hot dogs: +7.1%
  • Chicken: +0.7%
  • Buns: +0.4%
  • Fresh Veggies: +2.3%
  • Barbeque sauce: +3.5%
  • Juice and sodas: +3.3%
  • Beer: +3%

We expect high prices to continue throughout the summer, but this is only one expense that families and households will shell out more for.

Nerdwallet assembled statistics about Memorial Day. The travel predictions are notable.

Gas prices are up 4% since 2023. Meanwhile, prices on flights and hotel stays have decelerated from last year (-5.8% and -0.4%, respectively). At least, that’s a bit of relief for families.

What’s next for the summer?

Retailers such as Walmart and Target have announced price decreases on thousands of items across their stores. 

As CNN reports:

Now Walmart is taking things one step further. The superstore said on May 16 that it has rolled back prices on nearly 7,000 items in its stores, noting deflationary trends in general merchandise. Inflation during the first quarter increased at half the rate seen last year, it added.

“Our combination of everyday low prices plus a large number of rollbacks is resonating” with consumers, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said on a call with analysts.

On Monday, Target slashed prices on more than 1,500 items, ranging from laundry detergent to cat food to sunscreen, with thousands more price cuts expected over the summer. For example, the price of a pack of 16 Huggies baby wipes fell to 99 cents from $1.19 and roasted nuts from the Good & Gather brand now cost $5.29 from $6.89, according to a press release.

However, dining out, especially at fast-food restaurants, is accelerating. New regulations such as minimum wage increases ($20 in California), new federal overtime time rules, and junk fee prohibitions will raise costs for franchises.

As a result, low-income households are shouldering a heavier financial burden as they spend more of their income proportionally on food and other basics. Increasingly, the economy is working for fewer Americans and creating a society of the haves and have-nots.

While incomes may be rising, high inflation on goods and services, rising rent prices, higher interest rates on mortgages and car loans, and higher costs for other bills leave less money in the pockets and pocketbooks of men and women.

How did we get here?

Massive federal spending during the pandemic, funded by the government printing money and flooding the economy to spur spending, lit the fuse for prices to accelerate. Inflation was 1.4% in January 2021 and started to rise in the spring of that year following the nearly $2 trillion American Rescue Plan, which was passed exclusively by Democrats in Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden. Inflation crested at a whopping 9.1% in June 2022 overall, with some prices increasing at double that rate.

Inflation is no longer rising as high as 9.1% but it is rising at 3.4%, which is still far above the 2% rate that has been constant for decades and the target inflation rate of the Federal Reserve.

It will take time for prices to decelerate. In the meantime, we do not need the federal government to continue spending trillions of dollars recklessly or strangle businesses with costly regulations. American households simply cannot afford tgus agenda.