Senate President and Agricultural Commissioner candidate Wilton Simpson – who is also a farmer – appeared on Fox News Wednesday where he lambasted President Joe Biden’s economic policies, claiming that rising fuel costs are directly harming Florida’s farmers, which may lead to further supply chain issues and result in even higher day-to-day costs.
As fuel costs hit an average of $5.53 per gallon for diesel fuel in Florida, Simpson made evident that farmers must work to overcome lost profit margins because of economic policy in Washington, reflected in the stock market. Scotts Miracle-Gro Company (SMG) is down 3.28 percent, while Tampa-based The Mosaic Company, which provides many of the state’s farmers with fertilizer, is down 7.71 percent.
“When you think about the average farmer, all of us have to deliver our products to the stores,” said Simpson. “And we’re paying over $5.50 a gallon for diesel today. And not only that, the fertilizers that go into our crops [have risen in cost]. Everything has gone up nearly double in the last two years under Biden’s administration.”
Simpson alluded to an increased disruption in supply chain logistics as costs to transport goods proliferate on a monthly basis. Profit margins are down, which Simpson clarifies must pass onto the consumer in order to offset losses, naturally leading to an increase in costs at the store.
“The people running this country today have never been on a farm. They just don’t understand what it takes to get a product from a farm to a store, and the labor involved in doing so,” continued Simpson. “I believe they don’t care.”
Other statewide leaders have sounded the alarms, as both Gov. Ron DeSantis and Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis have warned that Biden’s policies will lead to a nationwide recession.
“I’m, quite frankly, concerned and worried about Biden plunging us into a recession,” DeSantis said during an April press conference. “If you look at what he did when he came in, decided to print trillions and trillions of dollars, and the result of that’s been the worst inflation we’ve seen in this country in four decades. It’s killing people across the board to have to pay so much for gasoline, have to pay so much for bills, have to pay so much for food.”
DeSantis’ dissatisfaction with inflation regulation matches that of Floridians, with just under two-thirds of residents saying that the Biden administration is “very” or “somewhat responsible” for the present period of inflation (64 percent) in a survey conducted by the University of South Florida (USF).
The most recent Consumer Price Index report for March 2022 showed that inflation rose a further 1.2 percent, amounting to an 8.5 percent annual increase. Gasoline, shelter, and food showed the highest rise in costs, further attributing to the responses of the survey.
Almost half of Floridians (48 percent) either “strongly” or “somewhat agree” that inflation has affected their ability to pay essential bills, and over three-fourths (77 percent) say that inflation has affected their grocery spending.
Survey results show that Floridians have had difficulties in keeping up with mortgage and rent payments over the past year. About a quarter of Floridians (24 percent) say that they have had a hard time keeping up with their rent and mortgage payments over the past year, and one in three (35 percent) noted that their current household income does not support the cost of renting or buying a home in the state.