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by Casey Harper

 

Americans will pay higher prices for a range of goods and services for the Thanksgiving holiday and Black Friday shopping this year, and it looks like things may only get worse as we draw nearer to Christmas.

Those driving for the holidays and of course those preparing the Thanksgiving meal will pay the price this year.

Federal inflation data from the Commerce Department shows energy costs have risen 17.6% in the past year, and overall food costs increased 10.9% in the same time.

“Inflation is really taking the joy out of Christmas shopping this year,” said E.J. Antoni, an economic expert at the Heritage Foundation. “Families are also thinking twice about putting their purchases on credit cards, since interest rates are rising.”

Heritage reports that the average family is $7,400 poorer since President Joe Biden took office because of interest rate hikes and inflation.

“Skyrocketing prices mean there’s nothing left at the end of the month to save, and monthly savings have collapsed 85% under Biden,” Antoni said. “Meanwhile, credit card debt is up 24%, real disposable income is down 11.5%, and homeownership affordability is down 33%. The hidden tax of inflation has hit Americans hard, and they have less spending money for Black Friday.”

Polling shows Americans are feeling the pain. A survey from Deloitte found that Americans are planning to spend more shopping this week than last year but are relying more on credit cards.

Americans are also saying they plan to spend more this holiday season than any year since before the pandemic, according to Gallup.

“One reason Americans’ holiday spending estimate is especially high this year could be that consumers are expecting to pay more for goods like clothing, electronics and toys after a year of high inflation,” Gallup said. “Still, the fact that spending intentions are significantly higher now than a year ago at this time is a promising sign for retailers as the holiday season gets underway.”

Federal inflation data shows Americans will face higher prices on a range of goods and services than in previous years, though it varies. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ seasonally unadjusted figures for urban consumers, from October of 2021 to October of 2022, several holiday shopping favorites have risen in cost.

During that time, prices for apparel increased 4.1%, audio equipment rose 3.4%; pets and pet products rose 12.5%; sports equipment rose 5.7%; photographic equipment and supplies rose 4.1%; toys, games, hobbies and playground equipment rose 6.7%; and musical instruments and accessories rose 4.7%.

Other goods, though, have seen notable decreases in the past year. Television prices, for example, have declined roughly 16% while computers, peripherals, and smart home assistant prices dropped 3.1%. Smartphones dropped 22.9%.

Potential supply chain issues may only make things worse as we get closer to Christmas. Gas prices are expected to rise in the coming weeks as offsets from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve come to an end and OPEC cuts oil production. At the same time, the potential for rail workers to strike could create major supply chain issues and even shortages.

“Despite the high prices, people are probably better off buying now instead of doing any last minute shopping this year because of the very real chance of a nationwide railroad strike which would cripple the economy,” Antoni said. “Virtually everything we buy – including food – is transported on trains. For context, railroad employees were considered essential workers during the shutdowns because everything would virtually grind to a halt without them. It turns out the ‘tentative deal’ Biden brokered was just to avoid a strike before the midterms, much like his secret request that the Saudis not cut oil production until after the elections as well.”

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce raised the alarm about that deal potentially falling apart, calling the unions the “Grinch who stole Christmas.”

“In September President Biden, who is a champion of labor, struck a deal with the leadership of the 12 railroad unions and railroads to avert a national rail strike. But now four unions are going back on their word and threatening to be the grinch who stole Christmas by forcing a national rail strike,” said Suzanne P. Clark, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “Congress must now impose the deal President Biden negotiated, and the railroads and union leadership agreed to. If Congress fails to do so, a rail strike would substantially exacerbate inflation and the economic challenges Americans are facing today.”

– – –

Casey Harper is a Senior Reporter for the Washington, D.C. Bureau of The Center Square. He previously worked for The Daily Caller, The Hill, and Sinclair Broadcast Group. A graduate of Hillsdale College, Casey’s work has also appeared in Fox News, Fox Business, and USA Today.
Photo “Black Friday Shopping” by Ray Bouknight. CC BY 2.0.

 

 

 

News Source: tennesseestar.com

Tags: americans black friday thanksgiving federal inflation data a national rail strike black friday shopping supply chain issues chamber of commerce the holiday season shopping this year in the past year the thanksgiving president biden shows americans on credit cards oil production americans to spend the same time higher prices to christmas prices

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Insider Reveals Bulls Plans for Star Trio

Getty Zach LaVine #8, Nikola Vucevic #9 and DeMar DeRozan #11 of the Chicago Bulls walk on the court.

It might seem strange to think a team such as the Chicago Bulls, with their 9-14 record, and think they should make anyone untouchable in trade talks. But according to one NBA insider, the Bulls are believed to be doing just that.

This season was supposed to be about continuity as the Bulls brought just three outside additions into training camp on guaranteed contracts.

Two of the three additions have largely panned out as hoped – the third is rookie Dalen Terry.

Perhaps that is why they aren’t ready to completely blow it up despite their record coming off of a 2-4 road trip. Of course, that doesn’t mean a generally aggressive front office – even their pursuit of continuity could be viewed as heavy-handed given last year’s results – won’t be aggressive once again with the pieces they are willing to move.

DeRozan, LaVine ‘Off Limits’

There have been innumerable amounts of hypothetical trade proposals sending one Bulls player or another to a different city. That has been the case since the summer, however, things seem to ratchet up with every loss.

The Bulls have lost three straight games, have just four wins in their last 11 tries, and sit 12th in the Eastern Conference, though they are just 1.5 games out of the Play-In Tournament field.

Still, according to Fox Sports’ NBA insider, Ric Bucher, the Bulls are holding firm in some ways.

“[The] Bulls are…laden with expensive rosters and high expectations and currently on course to miss the postseason,” Bucher writes. “But with stars that league sources say they’ve deemed untouchable – Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan …and role players with outsized contracts – Lonzo Ball and Nikola Vucevic…their flexibility to make a meaningful addition appears limited.”

DeRozan is in the second year of a three-year, $81.9 million contract while LaVine signed a five-year, $215 million contract this past offseason. The former has done more to help change the culture for the Bulls in his one-plus years in Chicago than anyone since Jimmy Butler.

Get up or get out the way!@DeMar_DeRozan | @NBCSChicago pic.twitter.com/Fu3qF2eoZw

— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) December 5, 2022

Perhaps ironically, Butler was traded by the Bulls for a package that included LaVine whom the Bulls hope will take reigns from DeRozan in due time.

Vucevic is in the final year of his contract at $22 million. He has played better this year but it hasn’t helped enough and, after stalled negotiations for an extension, it appears the Bulls are more willing to move him than not.

The wild card is Ball who has been down with a knee injury since January.

Bulls head coach Billy Donovan said that there has been slow progress following a second surgery to remove some loose bodies that Ball’s father says caused nerve damage.

Ball is the key to a lot of the things that made the Bulls so dangerous early on last season be it with his defense or starting fast breaks with hit-ahead passes. Without him, they simply have not looked like the same team.

Re-Tool, Not Reboot

A rival executive spoke out about the possibility the Bulls would not go into the tank in pursuit of keeping their draft pick this season and landing, say, Victor Wembayama.

“I don’t think they will take that approach,” the exec told Heavy Sports’ NBA insider Sean Deveney. “They are committed to seeing what this team can do if it is all whole together, healthy, which it has not been since they brought everyone together last year.”

The exec went on to say that, while injuries can be a crutch, he doesn’t believe they are under pressure to sell off pieces.

That could lead to additions as we approach the deadline as they try to balance out the roster before we see them make moves to take away from the core group. But, even if they reach that point, it won’t be to deal away DeRozan or LaVine, despite popular notions.

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