Economic Crises in America

   Currently in the United States, America’s economy has been experiencing product shortages and price inflations. Citizens from all walks of life have been affected by these bleak issues, and surprisingly, for mostly the same reasons. 

   “Grocery shelves are empty,” United States history teacher Charlie Serafine said. “It’s inconvenient to be missing family staples, especially when everything is more expensive.”

   There are several theories as to why prices, like groceries, could be increasing. Economics teacher John Moody believes in a logical viewpoint of the issue at hand. “The reason inflation is happening is because supply is staying the same, while demand is increasing exponentially,” Moody said.

   This begs the question, why is demand increasing in the economy? Speculations suggest that incoming stimulus money could be a viable answer. “People are simply going to have more cash in their pockets,” Serafine said. “So because of that, companies want to take that money from people, so they’ll raise prices on things.”

   However, inflation could also be caused by companies trying to take advantage of consumers. People have to buy groceries, so raising the prices doesn’t mean that people won’t purchase them.

   “It feels like it’s still corporate greed taking advantage of a desperate America,” Serafine said.

   He believes that it’s illogical for conglomerates to raise prices. “Companies like General Mills turned a profit of billions and billions of dollars last year,” Serafine said. “So there’s no reason that the prices of their products should be a dollar more. It feels like it’s not supply shortage.”

   Latin teacher David Letts could consider this theory of corporate greed, but he is adamant that it cannot be alleged.

   “Well, it’s possible that [corporate greed] exists, but you’ve got to show evidence for something like that,” Letts said. “You can say they’re price gouging, but who are they? You have to be able to prove that they are.”

   There is a more definite answer as to why shortages are occurring in several markets in the United States economy right now, and it all has to do with our society’s changing consumer habits.

   “We are consuming more and more because we have the leisure of doing it from home,” Moody said. “Now, where do we want all of our stuff to be delivered? To our houses, and when do we want it? Two days.”

   New demands like these have pushed our product transportation systems to their limits. This is due to suppliers having to predict future consumer needs, and failing.

   “What happens is that companies try to get out in front of the issue by shipping more goods than necessary,” Moody said. “And the economy can’t process it because the system is bottlenecking.”

   A major good that has been a victim of transportation failures is gasoline, and prices have risen because of that. According to English teacher Margot Jeffers, her family has recorded around a 20% price increase for fuel. Her mindset has changed when it comes to the future of avoiding financial crises like these.

   “If I had to get another car now, I’d get a hybrid,” Jeffers said. “ I’d have to pay more, but it’s one way that consumers can start fighting back.”

   Serafine holds a different viewpoint, but they converge in terms of going against the unfair international economy. “Long term, the US would have to become energy independent,” Serafine said. “This way we’re not buying our oil from companies on the other side of the world that can manipulate their own prices.”

   He also suggests an idea that could be revolutionary in the near future. “I also think that investment in the personal energy industry would benefit us,” Serafine said. “Utilities like rooftop solar programs could contribute to making energy and fuel cheaper overall.” 

   These righteous speculations may prove to benefit our society in the future, as they work to form ideas that may solve our current shortages and inflation problems. However, only theories are at play here, the real cause of recent issues are impossible to be cognizant of.

   “We’ve gone through periods of economic unrest like this before, and if we knew what caused it we would have fixed it by now,” Letts said