The New Normal: Why are consumers still heavily spending amid record inflation numbers?

Whether or not the United States formally tumbles into a recession, rising costs are likely to weigh on consumer spending, as many Americans struggle to afford basics like food and gas and wages fail to keep pace with inflation.
News 12's Elizabeth Hashagen is joined by CPA and economic development consultant Marty Cantor to discuss rising inflation around the country and how it may affect gas prices, public transportation, homes sales and mortgages.
In addition, the Federal Reserve likely will raise its target federal funds rate by another 0.75 percentage point at its meeting next week.
What would that increase mean for consumers, in terms of how it may affect gas prices, public transportation, homes sales and mortgages?
Gasoline prices have been heading lower for the past month and are expected to fall even further, possibly below $4 a gallon, as drivers cut back on spending at the pump.
Analysts say average prices may have peaked at $5.01 per gallon in June and are not likely to go back to that level, unless there is a disruption in oil and refining operations or a spike in oil prices.
What is the correlation right now between gas prices and the price of oil around the world?
On Thursday, the New York state Comptroller Brad Lander announced that lagging ridership left the Metropolitan Transit Authority with hard choices, as ridership remains well-below pre-pandemic levels and federal relief runs out. They now must adjust to changing demand. What contributed to this and how should the MTA navigate it?
How should the MTA navigate low ridership numbers as federal relief runs out?
Small business owners also say surging costs are affecting them.
Nearly 90% of small business owners say current economic trends, including inflation, ongoing supply-chain snarls and staffing challenges, are hampering how they operate, according to a recent survey by Goldman Sachs.
About 65% percent of respondents said rising input costs have forced them to raise the prices of their goods and services.
What should small business owners do to safeguard their economic success?
U.S. existing-home sales fell 5.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.12 million in June, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.
This is the weakest level of sales since June 2020.
Buyers have lost considerable purchasing power, as rates have almost doubled since earlier this year.
What does this mean for buyer purchasing power this year?
Mortgage demand also fell last week, hitting the lowest point since 2000, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.
Since the coming rate hike is largely baked into mortgage rates, homebuyers are going to pay roughly $29,160 to $39,240 more in interest now.
That is assuming there is a 30-year fixed-rate on an average home loan of $405,200, according to WalletHub's analysis.
How should consumers navigate this change?