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The long-term approach to solving the economic crisis

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Posted at 11:04 AM, Nov 04, 2022

Jenival Santos knows how difficult it is to run a small business these days.

"It's pretty complicated," he said.

Breakfast is a big part of his business at City Bakery and Cafe in Denver.

Six months ago, Santos said he paid around $24 for a case of eggs. 

"Now, the case of eggs is getting $64 to $74," Santos said.

Eggs are among the foods with the biggest price jumps over the last year.

Many Americans can relate to the struggle of making ends meet at a time when inflation is near record highs.

As a supply chain expert, University of Denver business professor Jack Buffington doesn’t just look at the prices consumers pay, but also the costs that pile up, stretching all the way to the source of many of the items we buy.

"We need to get into the difference between a symptom and a problem," he said.

Buffington believes there needs to be more of a focus on long-term approaches to keeping the U.S. economy healthy, beyond short-term efforts like COVID stimulus money.

“Do you address these problems short-term where you’re just pumping money or reducing rates, or do you focus on a long-term investment approach, and that's the challenge is we keep ping-ponging back and forth," Buffington said.

Buffington doesn't believe success should be measured week to week if prices of key items, like eggs, drop. He said they should be measured in decades-long approaches such as relying less on the fluctuation of gas prices and focusing on other forms of energy.

“That’s the real challenge. How do we focus more on using the term 'sustainability' not just from an environmental standpoint, but an economic standpoint," Buffington says.

For Santos, and many other Americans feeling the direct impact of inflation, long-term economic solutions can be hard to think about when there are immediate challenges he faces every morning he opens his restaurant.

"Yeah, I have to handle it and try to do my best," Santos said.