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‘Now We Care About Inflation’ ABC/NBC Discover Americans Paying More Debt, Fast Food

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‘Now We Care About Inflation’ ABC/NBC Discover Americans Paying More Debt, Fast Food

While they’ve largely been unwilling to put a spotlight on how bad the economy has been, due in large part to them trying to keep President Biden clean for the election, ABC’s Good Morning America and NBC’s Today discovered that inflation was causing people to pay more on their debt and shell out more money for fast food on Wednesday. Reacting to the cost of fast food, NBC co-anchor Craig Melvin declared: “Now we care about inflation,” meanwhile, his colleague made a joke out of high prices.

On ABC, co-anchor Robin Roberts sounded the alarm. “Now to what could be a debt crisis brewing in our country. Household debt rising to record levels as more Americans struggle to pay the bills,” she announced.

Chief economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis reported that Americans had taken on a record $17.5 trillion in debt. “Plus, more people are falling behind on their payments…” she warned. She also lamented that this was happening, “despite the strong jobs market, consumers are facing higher prices and much higher interest rates.”

Jarvis broke down the numbers to reveal how much more Americans were being forced to pay on their debt:

So, take a look at this. In just the last two years, the typical credit card has gone from 14.5 percent APR to now 21.5 percent APR. So, let’s say you’re carrying a $1,000 balance on your credit card. Two years ago, if you were making minimum payments, it would have cost you $729 in interest to pay it off. At today’s rate, you are paying almost $1,200 in interest. That is a nearly $500 difference.

At no point did ABC mention that this was happening despite Biden and his White House claiming the economy was amazing.

Over on NBC, inflation was apparently a joke to Melvin and senior business correspondent Christine Romans:

MELVIN: Now we care about inflation!

ROMANS: Oh yeah! Now we do!

MELVIN: Now we care!

ROMANS: Right, because inflation has come for your fast food menu!

“Once upon a time, a few dollars could purchase a quick meal at a fast food restaurant,” Romans quipped at the top of her report, followed by a clip from an old Wendy’s ad featuring founder Dave Thomas: “I think people should be able to eat good food without spending much money.”

The eating and food puns were a constant throughout Romans’ report:

But these days, grabbing a burger and fries takes a much bigger bite out of our wallet. (…) Once home to the dollar menu, prices at the Golden Arches leaving a bad taste in the mouth of consumers who just want value.

Romans even seemed to make a reference to the “food at home” meme. “The price of food at home rose just 1.3 percent over the past year. But food away from home jumped more than five percent,” she noted.

And when they cut back to the live shot, there was a large plate with a pile of McDonald’s breakfast sandwiches on it. With a laugh, Melvin claimed it cost “$250.”

To his credit, Al Roker grabbed the plate and handed them out to the studio crew. Co-anchor Savannah Guthrie then made a wisecrack that the crew had pitched the story to them in order to be fed.

The transcript is below. Click “expand” to read:

ABC’s Good Morning America
February 7, 2024
8:02:52 a.m. Eastern

ROBIN ROBERTS: Now to what could be a debt crisis brewing in our country. Household debt rising to record levels as more Americans struggle to pay the bills.

Our chief economics correspondent Rebecca Jarvis is back now with more. Good morning again, Rebecca.

REBECCA JARVIS: Nice to see you, Robin. And Americans are taking on more debt. $17.5 trillion overall, $1.3 trillion of that is a record amount and it’s on credit cards. Plus, more people are falling behind on their payments because, despite the strong jobs market, consumers are facing higher prices and much higher interest rates.

So, take a look at this. In just the last two years, the typical credit card has gone from 14.5 percent APR to now 21.5 percent APR. So, let’s say you’re carrying a $1,000 balance on your credit card. Two years ago, if you were making minimum payments, it would have cost you $729 in interest to pay it off. At today’s rate, you are paying almost $1,200 in interest. That is a nearly $500 difference.

So, there are some things you can do. You want to put your savings in an FDIC high-yield savings account so you’re getting paid five percent instead of .5 percent. Check out sites like Nerd Wallet and Bankrate for your best options there. Also, check out CDs at your current bank. And if you are considering a balance transfer to a zero-percent-interest credit card, just make sure it is not a license to spend more money. Linsey.

LINSEY DAVIS: But zero percent interest sounds like a good idea for so many.

JARVIS: A lot better than 21.5, yes.

DAVIS: You are so right on that. Rebecca Jarvis, our thanks to you as always.

NBC’s Today
February 7, 2024
7:38:18 a.m. Eastern

HODA KOTB: This morning we are focusing on fast food.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Rising prices have popular chains under fire, this morning. Some customers are thinking twice about that quick bite to eat.

CRAIG MELVIN: NBC’s senior business correspondent Christine Romans is here with more. Now we care about inflation!

CHRISTINE ROMANS: Oh yeah. Now we do.

MELVIN: Now we care.

ROMANS: Right, because inflation has come for your fast food menu! And frankly, consumers are fed up with this. As some companies have become more creative with their menus, customers have become much more price-sensitive, they just want cheap. And those chains are hearing the complaints.

[Cuts to video]

Once upon a time, a few dollars could purchase a quick meal at a fast food restaurant.

DAVE THOMAS (founder of Wendy’s, via old advertisement): I think people should be able to eat good food without spending much money.

ROMANS: But these days, grabbing a burger and fries takes a much bigger bite out of our wallet.

MOMALLDAY_ (TikTok user): Why we not talking about these fast food restaurants going up, too.

REECYPIECES (TikTok user): Almost $9 for a Big Mac.

ROMANS: Once home to the dollar menu, prices at the Golden Arches leaving a bad taste in the mouth of consumers who just want value. Going viral, the Big Mac meal priced at $18 at a Connecticut rest stop and an egg McMuffin selling for $7.

Fast food companies are listening. McDonald’s CEO says he’s focusing on affordability this year. Telling analysts that customers making $45,000 a year and less are ditching their McD’s and buying groceries instead. You can see why. The price of food at home rose just 1.3 percent over the past year. But food away from home, jumped more than five percent.

(…)

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