The grocery bill is going to keep rising in 2022
Official government measures of inflation have final caught up to what people in the real world have known for years: prices for everyday items have never stopped rising. Where are prices going in the year ahead? According to the Wall Street Journal, up, up, and away. And the pinch will get sharpest at the grocery store:
Coming price increases in 2022 range from as low as 2% to 20%, hitting all sections of the grocery store including produce and packaged goods. Potatoes, celery and other heavier vegetables will have higher price tags next year in part because of higher freight costs, supermarket executives said. Wine, beer and liquor are also likely to get more expensive, they said, especially those that are imported.
Pantry staples such as mayonnaise and frozen meals are expected to be more pricey partly because of higher labor, logistics and packaging costs, some executives said.
It’s the kind of inflation that scares politicians to death – people see the prices rising right before their eyes. This will lead to accusations that someone, somewhere, is illegally profiting, and must be punished (see Joe Biden’s campaign to blame phantom monopolists, Big This and Big That, probably the bogeyman, too).
What is unlikely to happen is that politicians and central bankers will get out of the way, stop trying to micromanage economic activity, and allow markets to rebalance themselves.