Come 2022, you won’t be able to buy items for $1 anymore at Dollar Tree. One of America’s last-standing dollar stores is getting a price hike, thanks to inflation. The announcement was made during the company’s quarterly earnings release on November 23, leading the internet to put the blame on just one man – President Joe Biden. From top Republicans like Kevin McCarthy to ordinary Americans, everyone targeted their fury solely at the President for the change.
Of course, Biden is no stranger to the criticism. Attempting to steer the US out of the pandemic, he’s been widely slammed for a large number of decisions and actions. Adding to that, the President is also facing rumors of infighting between himself and Kamala Harris, leading his already sinking ratings to sink even further. It doesn’t help that his numerous public gaffes have put the White House in a spot, leading them to reportedly reduce his time with the press.
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Back in mid-October, the hashtag #EmptyShelvesJoe began going viral as America’s supply chain crisis left many vital goods unavailable. Adding to that, Dollar Tree has conceded that inflation is a major issue, forcing it to jack up its prices. But just how much of the blame should Biden take?
The US’ inflation crisis
Thanks to Covid-19, the world economy was thrown into turmoil, as lockdowns left factories and businesses closed. Despite efforts by the government, inflation continues to rise as a result of consumers flush with cash, but a shortage of workers. The worker shortage (which is an issue globally), means we can’t produce as much as we need to, leading to greater demand for goods, thereby driving up prices.
According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) has jumped up 6.2% for October 2021, reportedly a 30-year-high. Over the past 12 months, the food index has gone up 5.4%, with meats like pork (14.1%) and beef (20.1%) seeing the sharpest rise. This isn’t surprising, for the past several months, farms and factories are struggling to get the people they need to process food, as is well recorded.
That inflation has hurt all businesses, but it appears to have finally forced Dollar Tree to give up its USP. From 2022 onwards, most goods will now cost $1.25, a 25% price hike that the company said was “not a reaction to short-term or transitory market conditions.” CEO Michael Witynski noted that the $1 price point hampered Dollar Tree, and “this is the appropriate time to shift away from the constraints of the $1 price point.”
The shift comes after 35 years of selling goods for $1, which made Dollar Tree an icon for low-income neighborhoods in cities all over the US. So naturally, people were furious that prices were going up. Needing someone to blame, many, like Kevin McCarthy decided to focus their anger on Joe Biden.
‘Only Biden could f–k up Dollar Tree’
“Thanks Biden,” McCarthy tweeted sharing a story of the price hike. Rep. Elise Stefanik said, “In Joe Biden’s America, the Dollar Tree store is now the $1.25 Tree.” One GOP State Senator reacted with, “Unbelievable! Joe Biden even ruined the dollar store!” One person commented, “Only Biden could f–k up Dollar Tree.”
In Joe Biden’s America, the Dollar Tree store is now the $1.25 Tree.
— Rep. Elise Stefanik (@RepStefanik) November 23, 2021
“Alright listen joe biden was bad, but this inflation causing dollar tree to become 1.25 tree has officially made him the worst president in history,” one user commented. Another said, “A 25% increase in Dollar Tree costs! Have you no shame, President Biden ?!!” One person tweeted, “Damn. Biden chopped down the Dollar Tree!”
alright listen joe biden was bad, but this inflation causing dollar tree to become 1.25 tree has officially made him the worst president in history
— 2SaltyRamen (@2SaltyRamen) November 24, 2021
A 25% increase in Dollar Tree costs! Have you no shame, President Biden ?!!
— Josh Copen (@joshcopen) November 24, 2021
Is Biden to blame?
As President, it can be easy to pin the blame on Biden for Dollar Tree’s hike, but the reality is much more complex. In response to inflation, the US Federal Reserve usually increases interest rates, which it has so far not done. If the reserve does so, it should help ease the pressure on the economy, but there’s also a larger issue at play. As economist Robert Reich noted, “the underlying problem isn’t inflation per se. It’s lack of competition.”
Right now, another reason for the rise is the supply chain crisis, which is an international-level issue. Biden alone cannot fix this, given that the US imported $283.4 Billion worth of goods (as of June 2021). With a staggering lack of workers, getting those goods to consumers is proving to be a challenge, leading to scarcity and increased prices. Ultimately though, Dollar Tree’s price hike is also a response to the fact that goods just don’t cost $1 anymore, inflation went beyond that point well before the pandemic.