Inflation driving more people to food banks. Georgia DA seeks FBI protection after Trump comments. UK’s Johnson scrambles to keep seat amid “Party-gate”.
Inflation driving more people to food banks
Early on in the pandemic, business closures and layoffs drove millions of previously solvent American families to seek help from local charities. Food banks in particular saw increasingly high demand. Then in 2021, as the economy re-opened, wages steadily rose and millions of low-income families benefitted from the short-lived monthly child tax credit, lines at food banks diminished somewhat. But now, the rise in wages has failed to keep up with rampant inflation, and as of January, millions of families are having to do without the monthly child tax credit. And food banks have seen their lines of needy folks steadily increase once again.
Families with low and fixed incomes have generally been able to keep up with fixed costs like mortgages and rent. But many are now finding they have little or nothing to spare to buy commodities with more volatile pricing like gas and groceries. On average, groceries now cost 6.3% more than they did a year ago.
The Federal Reserve is now eyeing tactics to slow inflation. The Fed has telegraphed that they will most likely raise interest rates on borrowing steadily, with 3 or 4 incremental increases over the coming year. Experts are still debating whether the Fed was waited too long or whether their proposals will be sufficient to cool the rate of inflation.
Georgia DA seeks FBI protection after Trump comments
A Georgia District Attorney investigating former President Trump and his political organization has asked for increased protection from the FBI. Fulton County DA Fani Willis made the request after inflammatory comments by Trump at a weekend rally. Last week, Willis announced that she would seat a special grand jury to investigate Trump & Co. for attempts to obstruct Georgia’s election process. That body will convene on May 2.
Days before the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol, Trump phoned Georgia’s Sec. of State Brad Raffensperger. During the call, Trump demanded that Raffensperger “find” the 11,000-odd votes it would take for Trump to win the state. Trump also implied there would be consequences for Raffensperger should he refuse.
Over the weekend, Trump held a rally in which he lashed out at the “vicious, horrible people” looking to hold him accountable for this act of extortion. Willis says Trump’s statements “escalated” security concerns for herself and her staff.
Willis may have good reason to worry. Recent polls, including this one by the COVID States Project, suggest that a growing number of Americans believe it is justifiable and even necessary to use violence to advance political goals.
UK’s Johnson scrambles to keep seat amid “Party-gate”
The office of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has published a heavily redacted report of the investigation of “party-gate”. During the UK’s harsh lockdowns that shuttered shops and pubs, Johnson and his staff held numerous boozy office parties at his government seat at 10 Downing Street. The scathing report by civil servant Sue Gray cited “serious failures of leadership and judgement” that allowed the parties to go ahead.
While the parties all took place well over a year ago, the controversy is coming to a head now because of other perceived political failures by Johnson’s Conservative Party. The scandal is such that many speculate it could potentially bring down Johnson’s government.
This scandal at home may have more far reaching consequences. In an attempt to stay politically relevant, Johnson has committed significant military resources in Eastern Europe amid rising Russia-Ukraine tensions.
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