Opinion: What sluggish consumers could mean for the US economy next year
The shock of the price increases is that they seem to come out of nowhere. Just a year ago, before vaccines and the complete reopening of the economy, many companies in the retail, travel, entertainment and personal services industries were still cutting prices in an attempt to attract customers and survive. The Delta wave of the virus changed all that, as it severely scrambled global supply chains and exacerbated labor shortages, forcing companies to raise prices.
If my diagnosis of what’s plaguing the American psyche is about right, then we won’t be regaining our rhythm anytime soon. A fourth wave of the pandemic is already forming, this one being fueled by the Omicron variant, about which we still know little. And our acidic political discourse is more likely to worsen than to improve as the midterm elections draw closer.
So what is it ? Will our gloomy mood slow the economy down, or will the strong recovery continue to prevail and ultimately lift our spirits? The latter remains more likely, but I say it with less and less confidence as the pandemic drags on and our politics become less civil.