Weekly Columns

There is perhaps no holiday with a stronger connection to food than Thanksgiving. Family and friends gather around the table to enjoy favorites like turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and more. And then of course there’s the pumpkin pie and other sweets that await for dessert.  

Unfortunately the staples that make the traditional Thanksgiving meal will cost a lot more this year.  

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the wholesale price for the lynchpin of the spread, turkey, will cost nearly 20 percent more than last year. Familiar side dishes like potatoes and green beans could cost 17 percent and 39 percent more, respectively. And count on spending an extra 2 percent to have bread on the table, as much as 29 percent more for the butter to go with it, and onions to add to family-favorite casseroles could be more than double last year’s price.  

The numbers reported by the American Farm Bureau are even higher. The organization’s annual survey indicates 2021’s average cost of a Thanksgiving dinner for 10 is $53.31. This amounts to a 14 percent increase from last year’s average. 

For travelers, driving to a Thanksgiving gathering will also be more expensive. Gas prices are the highest they have been in seven years. If guests are staying overnight, their bacon and eggs at breakfast will both cost nearly 30 percent more, according to BLS data. And if it’s cold and you need to keep everyone comfortable, expect to pay more. Energy prices have risen by almost 25 percent. Using either data set brings you to the same conclusion. This will be the most expensive Thanksgiving ever. 

Not only do all of these holiday fixtures cost more this year, reduced supplies and supply chain disruptions will make many of the Thanksgiving favorites harder to find.  

This is not the fault of our farmers. It’s not the delivery truck driver’s fault or the store’s fault. The blame falls squarely on the White House and the Democrat leadership in Congress for not addressing the challenges we face today. 

The economic pressures of the Biden era – labor shortages and higher costs for raw materials and transportation – are raising costs throughout the food supply chain. Retailers are contending with tremendous bottlenecks and complications, which will mean long waits, shortages and higher prices for shoppers. 

Democrats have done nothing to alleviate to the supply chain struggles. They refuse to address the private sector’s massive labor needs, and their focus on the reckless tax and spending legislation is poised to send inflation to record heights.  

Americans’ paychecks are being stretched further and further, and that hurts people like seniors on fixed incomes and single parents most. Meanwhile, inflation is rising at a pace not seen in decades. The Consumer Price Index increased 6.2 percent over the last year, reaching a high not seen since December 1990. Food inflation under President Biden’s watch is the highest since the Carter administration.  

The price tag that accompanies their reckless tax and spend package, estimated by some academics to be as high as $4 trillion, is sure to continue to push inflation even higher.   

It’s time for the Democrats to abandon their cradle-to-grave agenda, reach across the aisle and work with Republicans to find bipartisan solutions to bring relief to Arkansans.