Carper criticizes Fed Reserve during meeting with business leaders

Posted 7/5/22

DOVER — U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., scolded the U.S. Federal Reserve for not doing enough to combat inflation on Wednesday during a roundtable discussion with Small Business Administration …

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Carper criticizes Fed Reserve during meeting with business leaders

Posted

DOVER — U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., scolded the U.S. Federal Reserve for not doing enough to combat inflation on Wednesday during a roundtable discussion with Small Business Administration officials and local business leaders.

During the discussion, Delaware’s senior senator and federal business support leaders heard about concerns of worker shortages and the rising cost of inflation.

“(Jerome Powell), who is the head of the Federal Reserve, is a good man, a smart guy, but they have been AWOL, absent without leave,” Sen. Carper said.

He told business leaders that the Federal Reserve historically has responded quickly to inflation concerns, but Mr. Powell’s administration needs to do more.

Despite concerns, he said there may be light at the end of the tunnel.

“We have a BP station close to our house that I drive by every day, I’ve noticed that gas has come down from over five bucks a gallon to about $4.60. I am encouraged by that. Hopefully we are getting back on track.”

The federal officials were joined by Jonathan Urquhart, of Bavarian Bakery; Carlos Estrada, owner of La Hacienda restaurants; Gordon Winegar, realtor with Delaware State Management; Justin Williams, owner of Taino Studios in Dover; and Dina Vendetti, president of the Central Delaware Chamber of Commerce. The event was held at Vincenzo’s Pizzeria & Gelato in Dover.

Small Business Administration leaders and Sen. Carper regularly host discussions with business leaders and other stakeholders to connect with important issues.

Rising costs due to supply chain shortages and inflation was a top issue for all of the businesses present during the roundtable talk.

Dover’s Bavarian Bakery has seen the cost of many ingredients double in recent years. Mr. Urquhart said when he and his wife opened their business, the cost of flour was about $12 a bag. Now they are paying $25.

Rising costs was a key topic, but workforce deficits are plaguing many of the businesses as well.

“Our challenges today are the same as other businesses, just amplified. Challenge is the key to everything in business,” said Mr. Urquhart on Wednesday. “The lack of talent today is increasingly more burdensome. We are not going to get the experienced cake decorator or baker, so we really have to invest in developing our talent ourselves. We were never prepared to do that.”

Mr. Estrada said he works hard at retaining his current workforce to ensure they stay while encouraging younger employees remain on staff long term.

“We try and hire at 16 or 17 years old so they are familiar with the menu, they are familiar with the rhythm of the restaurant and we encourage them to become a server,” Mr. Estrada said.
Sen. Carper and Small Business Administration officials urged business leaders to take advantage of the programs available.

They also pledged to take back their concerns to Washington to work on solutions.

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