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Jordan Reid

Author; Founding Editor, Ramshackle Glam

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Opinion

Viral Big Mac video is misleading as inflation cools

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Jordan Reid

Author; Founding Editor, Ramshackle Glam

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In December 2022, an Idaho man ordered a limited-edition smoked half-pound Big Mac meal with a side of fries and a soda. The total cost came to $16.10. Now, one year later, his social media post on the purchase is going viral, and is attracting interest from right-leaning outlets like the New York Post, the Washington Examiner and Newsmax as evidence of runaway inflation.

Straight Arrow News contributor Jordan Reid objects to those arguments, pointing out that the average cost of a standard Big Mac is only $5.58, a small fraction of the cost of the limited-edition meal with a side and drink. Reid also argues that inflation has been cooling, and says that Biden should emphasize this if he wants to push back against the right-wing narrative.

Now, that said, the Big Mac kerfuffle — as ridiculous as it is — it still speaks to a problem that’s afflicting Biden’s reelection campaign. Even though inflation has dropped to just 3%, and the job market has rebounded significantly, a survey shows that by and large, Americans are still unhappy with the state of the economy. Just because inflation is slowing down doesn’t mean that wages — when they’re adjusted for inflation — aren’t still below where they were.

On top of that, price hikes continue and several COVID-related aid policies have either expired or are getting set to expire. And what all that means is that many Americans are still feeling a pretty significant pinch. So, when they see this Big Mac story, it can be easy to point to as evidence of their personal financial troubles. 

The simple answer should be that Biden and his aid should go all in on the strength of the economy and how much it’s picked back up while on the campaign trail, right? Get the message out there that things may not be perfect, but they’re absolutely going in the right direction. Well, the problem is, if Americans are still feeling significantly less financially stable than they were in 2021 — and a lot of them are — that argument runs the risk of feeling out of touch. And it leaves room for stories like this one — misleading stories with the potential for high virality — to spread like the proverbial wildfire, and that’s not good for anybody.

Here’s the topic I wasn’t anticipating covering on today’s segment, McDonald’s Big Macs, but now Big Macs are apparently political. So here we are. I’m talking specifically about this, this particular Big Mac that went viral for being $16. Now, to be clear, this was not a regular Big Mac. This was a limited edition luxury smokey double Quarter Pounder BLT, and it was sold with fries and a sprite. It was purchased by a gentleman in Idaho who went on to post about his $16 McDonald’s meal. And of course, people online had capital O opinions. 

Now, news outlets including the always reliable New York Post, and that was sarcastic for those of you unfamiliar with the legendarily effusive paper. And of course, Newsmax reported on this just shocking event, essentially holding up the price of this McDonald’s meal as evidence of Yes, Biden’s economic failures. Inflation, they yelled, is out of control. It’s so out of control, the fast food is nearly $20 these days. Biden, in other words, he killed the Big Mac. Except in this latest example of a false equivalency utilized by the Republicans to spread misinformation. This is shocker untrue. 

First of all, let’s get this out of the way. The meal in question was a specialty one off item that is not reflective of the cost of an actual Big Mac, which costs an average of $5.58. That is up about 70 cents from what it costs before Biden took office. So So yes, the price of a Big Mac has increased, but not by like 220%. So what this story is saying is just factually misleading. 

Now that said, the Big Mac kerfuffle, as ridiculous as it is, it still speaks to a problem that’s afflict afflicting Biden’s reelection campaign. Even though inflation has dropped to just 3%. And the job Mac market has rebounded significantly, a survey show that by and large, Americans are still unhappy with the state of the economy. Just because inflation is slowing down doesn’t mean that wages when they’re adjusted for inflation aren’t still below where they were. On top of that price hikes continue. And several COVID related aid policies have either expired or are getting set to expire. And what all that means is that many Americans are still feeling a pretty significant pinch. So when they see this big, big mac story, it can be easy to point to as evidence of their personal financial troubles. 

The simple answer should be that Biden and his age should go all in on the strength of the economy, and how much it’s picked back up while on the campaign trail, right? get the message out there that things may not be perfect, but they’re absolutely going in the right direction. Well, the problem is, if Americans are still feeling significantly less financially stable than they were in 2021, and a lot of them are, that argument runs the risk of feeling out of touch. And it leaves room for stories like this one misleading stories with the potential for high virality to spread like the proverbial wildfire, and that’s not good for anybody.

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