The Consumer Price Index rose by nearly 8 percent last month, the fastest rise in annual inflation in four decades. Prices are up across the board, with prices of fuel and food spiking particularly high, supply chains are falling apart, and store shelves are emptying. To say that America’s current economic prospects are bleak is an understatement. But this current state of economic hardship is hitting people of color even harder.
Inflation is an invisible tax on poor people, and the percentage of Black Americans in poverty is practically double their percentage of the total population. According to the U.S. Census, in 2019 Black Americans represented 23.8 percent of the population living in poverty, while accounting for only 13.2 percent of the population overall.
And because inflation hurts the poor most of all, it is disproportionately hurting Black and Latino families, as a report by Bank of America released in November of last year found: Black, Hispanic, and Latino households spent 7.1 percent of their post-tax income on energy—compared to 5.4 percent spent by other demographics, and they spent 12.5 percent of their income on food compared to 11.1 percent for everyone else.
Since the Democratic Party assumed control of the White House in January 2021, inflation has skyrocketed far beyond where it was when Bank of America’s report was released. As of this week, the national gas price average stands well above $4.00, according to the AAA, and last month Americans suffered the largest rise in food prices since 1981.
by DaQuawn Bruce. Newsweek 3/3/22