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There are a lot of things going on around the world at the moment, but we thought we would begin tonight with a report from your own country just to give you something a little different from what you've been watching every moment of every day for the past three weeks.  

On your screen are pictures from Brooklyn, New York. These are people waiting in line at a food bank. The queue stretches for blocks. It's what we used to call a bread line. Most of these people are not homeless or not addicted to drugs. Some of them have jobs. They just can't afford enough food. Very few living Americans have ever seen anything like this. It's been nearly 100 years since the United States experienced widespread food shortages. That's long enough that most of us have forgotten what it means.  

Here's what it means. If you want to make a society volatile, not just angry and divided, which is where we are now, but revolutionary and explosive, then you threaten the food supply. More governments have fallen to rising food prices than to any other cause by far. Hungry people are dangerous.  


Biden delivers remarks from the White House

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the debt ceiling during an event in the State Dining Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 4 in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The Biden administration doesn't seem to notice this is happening or acknowledge it. Like all neoliberals, they treat unchanging truths about anything as heresy. They censor them and shut them down. They live in an entirely ideological world that they created. They believe reality conforms to their theories, not the other way around. And why wouldn't they think that? If you can change your sex just by wishing it so, you can probably eliminate inflation simply by pretending it doesn't exist. When you're God, there are no limits.  

The problem is they're not God. They're not even very capable economists. More than a decade of reckless fiscal policies have devalued the U.S. dollar to the point that middle-class people can barely survive in the United States. Now, the suffering of regular Americans doesn't have the thrilling imminence of, say, war footage from Ukraine, but it's real and it matters. Here's what it looks like in number terms.  

This year, according to a new estimate, rising inflation will cost the average American family $3,500 in extra post-tax income. Now, that might be bearable if you make $250,000 a year, though you would notice it, but if you make $35,000 a year, that's a disaster. You will radically change the way you live. Your standard of living will plummet, and that's exactly what millions of Americans are facing right now. It's not a talking point. It's real.  

Americans for Tax Reform found that between November of 2020 and November of 2021, "The bottom 20 percent of earners spent $309 more on food, $761 more on energy, $476 more on shelter, $390 more on other commodities, and $224 more on other services." Those are the numbers from November. They've risen dramatically since then, and they're continuing to rise.  

Nationally, meat, poultry, fish, eggs — up 13 percent. In San Francisco, a dozen eggs is almost $5. Orange juice in Miami is over 4 bucks, so is a chicken breast in Boston. A pound of ground beef hamburger in L.A. is $6.34. A pound of bacon in New York City is $7.28.  

In Chicago last year, green grapes cost $2.50 a pound; now they're $4. The price of chicken wings in the Catskills went from $8 to $20. Order something else. If you tried to drink a pint of Guinness in California yesterday to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, it cost you $8.55 for a pint of beer. Prices of everything are rising far faster than wages are — a lot faster — and that means that in very real terms, the most real, people are becoming poorer, and not just people who buy things (consumers), but also people who sell them (retailers). This is a disaster for small business.  


CNN CORRESPONDENT: For a cold, hard lesson on inflation, step into the refrigerator where Karina Gudino Wollangk stores the food supplies she just bought for her pop-up food stamp business in Phoenix, Arizona.  

KARINA GUDINO WOLLANGK: So usually it would be, the boneless would be about a dollar a pound. Right now, it's $1.84 a pound. This cheese used to be $9. Right now, it's ... like $14.56.  

ED LAVANDERA: And that makes it hard for someone like you to run your business?  

KARINA GUDINO WOLLANGK: Correct. It makes it unbelievably difficult for us to predict any pricing. I can't even say I'm going to charge you a certain price right now, because in three days, it's probably bound to change, you know, and it's never for the better.  

Did you catch it at the end? Prices changing every three days. It's like Weimar or Zimbabwe. That is not the picture of a stable economy, and it's not just food that's moving fast. In the city of Baltimore, the cost of electricity has risen 18 percent in a single year. That does not happen with utilities, but it just did. In Philadelphia, the average utility bill rose from $477 a month to $651 a month.  

According to the National Association of Home Builders, building material prices increased almost 21 percent year over year. Overall, lumber prices alone have added almost $19,000 to the price of a home in the past six months. That's one of the reasons housing prices are so high, and then, of course, there's gasoline. In Los Angeles, it now costs about $180 to fill a Chevy Suburban. One tank of gas, $180. Nationally, gas is up nearly 40 percent, and here's what that looks like.  


ABC REPORTER: These prices are eye-popping here at the Chevron, at $7.29 a gallon. For a small car with a 12-gallon tank, it would cost you $87 to fill it all the way up. Of course, we know this is the top end of the spectrum. Here in California, it's the most expensive state. The average price for a gallon here is $5.67, but we all know that nationally, these prices are through the roof. The average cost nationwide now is $4.33 a gallon. That's up 63 cents in just a week's time. In fact, right now, the average cost has climbed above $4 a gallon in a staggering 38 states.  

Rising gas prices make people desperate. You wouldn't know that from watching television because most people who bring you the news don't know what the price of gas is, and a lot of them don't care because they don't drive themselves. But the rest of the country cares very deeply what the price of gas is, and in some places, the problem is so bad, gas prices are so expensive, that thieves have taken to drilling holes in gas tanks to steal it.  

NBC REPORTER: With the national average at $4.33 a gallon, a troubling new trend is on the rise — gas theft. Crimes of opportunity now happening across the country.  

GUAD VENEGAS: Criminals are targeting unattended vehicles for gas, but they're not going in through here. Instead, they're drilling holes from underneath your car and draining your tank.  

NBC REPORTER: And once the tank is drilled, it can't be fixed. Getting a new one could cost drivers more than $1,000.  


Fuel prices at a Chevron gas station in Pinole, California, U.S., on Wednesday, March 9, 2022. 

Fuel prices at a Chevron gas station in Pinole, California, U.S., on Wednesday, March 9, 2022.  (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Contrary to what you may have learned from Sandy Cortez's TikTok feed, the internal combustion engine is not a sin. It's not the basis of a moral crisis. It is a miracle upon which all civilization rests. Your Amazon package arrives because of gasoline, so does your Uber Eats. You can fly to see your relatives across the country because of gasoline. So, when the price of gasoline rises, everyone is affected — no matter who they voted for and no matter whether they notice it directly or not. Here's how people in the state of Texas are reacting to the rising gas prices.  

SAVANAH HERNANDEZ, PODCAST HOST: Gas has reached an all-time record high, and here in Dallas, Texas, it's $4.19 a gallon. Let's go talk to Texans and see what they think about these prices.  

MAN: They're high, real high.  

MAN: It's f------ absurd. This s--- is ridiculous.  

MAN: We're spending more money to go … make money, so it's hard. 

MAN: It's outrageous, you know?  

MAN: It's kind of outrageous, not going to lie to you.  

MAN: It's been high for a long time. Now, it's too high.  

Will the capital of Ukraine fall to the Russians? We certainly hope not. Americans care about that. How high will gas get? Americans care about that even more. They care deeply because it affects their lives so dramatically, and yet the coverage of this is not proportionate. You almost never hear anybody ask, "What do you think of the price of gas?" But if you leave the TV studios of New York, Los Angeles and Washington, you will find people really do care.  

Every product in this country, with some exceptions, but not that many, is delivered thanks to gasoline, and that means with rising gas prices, all products become more expensive. The cheapest washing machine you can buy at a, say, Best Buy in South Carolina right now — $450. Furniture and bedding across the country is 17 percent more expensive than it was a year ago.  

Twelve months ago, a 28-cubic-foot Samsung stainless steel fridge was selling for $1,700 bucks at Home Depot. It's now $2,000, and so on for everything, and particularly for vehicles. The average price of a used car is up more than 30 percent nationally. It's up 35 percent in Massachusetts and Tennessee. It's up 38 percent in Florida and Maryland. It's up 40 percent or more in Louisiana, New York, Montana and North Dakota.  


That means the average cost of a used car in the state of Montana is now more than $42,000 — for a used car, some with high mileage. By comparison, last March, the average used Toyota sold for $20,000. The average used Toyota now goes for $28,000. These are real numbers with real effects. To restate: The standard of living of Americans, who for almost 100 years have enjoyed the world's highest standard of living in any big country, is plummeting. So, what's the administration doing to fix this? What are they doing to help? Well, of course, that depends upon whether or not you're Ukrainian. If you are, they can help you. If you're not, our transportation secretary recommends you take the bus.  

Pete Buttigieg, U.S. secretary of transportation, speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022.

Pete Buttigieg, U.S. secretary of transportation, speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022. (Samuel Corum/Bloomberg)

SECRETARY PETE BUTTIGIEG: We do have a lot of capacity in public transit, and that's something that, you know, I hope becomes a means of choice. We need to make sure that there is less pressure on family budgets from transportation, which is often the second-biggest budget item after housing itself. One of the tools that we have in our toolkit to do that is to make sure there's access to excellent public transportation.  

Take the bus? Yeah, homeless schizophrenics have been doing it for generations. Why shouldn't you? You can't afford to drive. That's the transportation secretary. So maybe the first question would be: What are you going to do about gas prices, pal? The roads are falling apart, maybe you could fix that. No, one of the tools in our toolkit is you can ride the bus with the crazy people and you'll like it. That's not their only plan to fight inflation. Their other plan? Blame others.  

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN: Now that we live in an America where there's a lot more concentration in certain industries — look at the oil industry, look at the meat industry, look at groceries generally … What's happened is these companies have said, "You know, we'll pass along costs, but while we're at it and everyone's talking about rising costs, let's just add an extra big dollop of cost increases to expand our profits."  


Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during a campaign event, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Mason City, Iowa.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., speaks during a campaign event, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Mason City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

You just heard from someone who's a sitting United States senator, whose total reservoir of knowledge about the world is smaller than the sink in your powder room. This is someone who knows literally nothing about how anything works. The meat industry? What would that be, Sen. Warren? She has no idea what she's talking about. She has no interest in learning why the dollar is less valuable than it was 10 years ago, and she has no interest whatsoever in improving your life.  

So, the question once again is: How long can this continue? It's one thing to pretend that boys can compete in girls' sports, and that's totally natural; it's always the way it's been. That may be offensive to people, but when they can't afford to buy groceries, boy, you are really teetering on the edge of something awful. They should wake up, soon.