What’s Really Driving Price Changes

November 12, 2021

Slowing our recovery won’t help.

The Roosevelt Rundown features our top stories of the week.

How to Respond to Price Increases

As predicted by economic experts, consumer prices rose 6.2 percent in October compared to last year.

Those increases are real, and felt most deeply by those who can least afford them. But as Roosevelt Deputy Director of Macroeconomic Analysis Lauren Melodia explains, addressing today’s price changes requires that we understand what’s causing them.

“Pandemic disruptions, long-term underinvestment in our economy & rises in volatile sectors like energy are all clear drivers of increases,” she writes. “Luckily, all have solutions.”

Instead of reining in federal spending, policymakers should be pursuing targeted policy reforms that could prevent the kinds of challenges we’re now facing—by investing in supply chains, raising wages, and addressing market concentration. 

The bottom line? Scaling back the recovery doesn’t solve the real hardships people are experiencing. We must ensure our economy rebounds quickly and equitably, and make the long-term investments necessary to make people’s needs more affordable. 

Learn more in “Rethinking Inflation Policy: A Toolkit for Economic Recovery.”


No Room for Rent

“If policymakers want to alleviate the price increases facing families, they would be wise to start with the single biggest line item in household budgets: rent,” Sammi Aibinder and Lindsay Owens write in a new issue brief. 

“History shows us we cannot expect the private market to develop or sustain affordable housing to meet the needs of millions of people; ensuring stable shelter for all will require major investment and a reshaping of public power in our housing markets.”

Read more about how Build Back Better’s investments in housing supply can alleviate the increasing burden of rent on families, and other recommendations for policymakers, in “No Room for Rent: Addressing Rising Rent Prices through Public Investment and Public Power.”


What We’re Reading

You Know Who’s Not Hurting from Inflation? Big Business. – Business Insider

How Climate Activists Pushed the “Left Edge of the Possible” – The Intercept

As Average Temperatures Rise, Workers Will Finally Get Protection From Extreme HeatThe Nation

Why Millions of Job Seekers Aren’t Getting Hired in this Hot Job MarketWashington Post

How Dodd-Frank Locks Out the Least Affluent Homebuyers – Bloomberg