“Child hunger is not a necessary cost to pay to bring down inflation,” said Ms Ananat, from Barnard.
Republicans, meanwhile, have blamed the Biden administration — and in particular the $1.9 trillion U.S. bailout package that Democrats passed early last year — for worsening inflation. Many economists, including Democrats, agree that the spending has driven at least some of the inflation, making the economic aid policy even more strained.
The economy remains strong for the time being, but the first signs of a pullback are surfacing. Job growth, while rapid, is slowing. Unemployment claims, still low, have resumed. Evictions are on the rise in some cities where the bans have expired, and retail sales fell in May.
“I think we’re starting to see indications that the good times are coming to an end for some people,” said Karen Dynan, a former Treasury Department chief economist who is now at Harvard University. “There will be widespread pain.”
For many families, this pain has already happened and it seems very specific.
Brandy Sandersfeld gave birth to a boy in March 2020 – the same week her eldest son’s school closed due to the pandemic, and the month her husband’s pizza business had to close permanently.
After a few months trying to ride out the pandemic, Ms Sandersfeld and her husband, Kurtis, moved to a more rural part of their home state of Arkansas, where they owned land. Unemployment benefits helped pay for the move, and last year the expanded child tax credit provided a much-needed financial cushion. Those payments ended in January – just before Ms Sandersfeld, 37, hit a deer in her SUV. Replacing him wiped out their savings.