By RONNY REYES
Americans spent more money on expenses like food, clothing and healthcare in 2021 while the average tax bill fell by $400, compared to the year before, as the cost of living soared under Biden.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics latest report found that in 2021, Americans spent about $16,700 in taxes to the IRS while forking over about $15,500 for food, clothing and healthcare.
And although people are still spending more on taxes than living costs – the gap between the two is down from 2020, where Americans spent $17,148 on taxes and $13,927 on the other expenses. It’s also the smallest difference between the two costs since 2017.
The BLS recorded the spending costs on an average ‘consumer unit,’ or a financially independent family or individual. In 2021, the agency reported 133,495 consumer units in the US.
On average in 2021, American consumer units spent $8,289.28 on food, $1,754.39 on clothing, and $5,451.61 on healthcare.
Meanwhile, federal and state, social security, property and other taxes totaled $16,729.73, according to the BLS.
The disparity between the two expenses was less than half of 2020’s, where it was about $3,200.
In 2019, the difference was about $3,500, and in 2018, it was nearly $4,000. It was nearly double the $2,200 difference recorded in 2017.
The BLS’s report comes as the agency found that the average income per consumer unit in 2021 rose 3.7 percent to $87,432, while spending jumped by 9.1 percent to $66,928.
The report concludes that the average American consumer failed to keep up with the rising cost of living impacted by rampant inflation that remains persistently high.
It underscores President Joe Biden’s claims earlier this week that his ‘bold and decisive’ action over the past two years has spearheaded ‘significant progress’.
A recent Gallup survey found the share of Americans who say inflation is causing them financial hardship has risen from 49 percent in January to 56 percent, with rising prices forcing 69 million households to make cutbacks
A worrying 12 percent of the survey’s 1,570 respondents said they were experiencing ‘severe hardship’ that was lowering their standard of living — a rise on the 9 percent who said so at the start of 2022.
Even though gas prices have fallen to $3.78 per gallon and inflation dipped to 8.5 percent in July, the economy and rising prices remain a top concern for millions of cash-strapped voters heading into November’s midterms.
‘With high inflation persisting for over a year, a majority of Americans now say they are experiencing financial hardship from higher prices,’ said the report.
‘Lower-income Americans were mainly affected early on, but most middle-income Americans and a substantial minority of upper-income Americans are now feeling the strain of higher prices.’
Poorer householders are more likely than others to be experiencing severe hardship — 26 percent of those whose annual household income is less than $48,000 say prices are seriously hurting their families.
That compares with 12 percent of middle-income Americans and 4 percent of the wealthy.
Reports of financial hardship also differ by party allegiance. Republicans (67 percent) are far more likely than Democrats (44 percent) to say inflation was hurting their households — likely an effect of Democrats controlling the White House and Congress.
In response to rising prices, the cash-strapped are cutting spending on travel, groceries, vacations, gas, and restaurants, as well buying cheaper products and even growing vegetables at home, according to Gallup.