Consumers defy inflation to support economy. For how long?

  • Dan Gabel, right, and fellow musicians perform in downtown Boston, Tuesday, May 10, 2022. Gabel has canceled Netflix and other streaming services and tried to cut back on driving as the costs of gas, food, and other items, such as the lubricants he uses for his instruments, has soared. In the photo, from left to right, are Eric Baldwin, banjo; Ed Goroza, sousaphone; Josiah Reibstein, trombone; and Gabel, trumpet. (AP Photo/Steve LeBlanc)

  • Dan Gabel, right, and fellow musicians perform in downtown Boston on May 10. Gabel has canceled Netflix and other streaming services and tried to cut back on driving as the costs of gas, food, and other items, such as the lubricants he uses for his instruments, has soared. In the photo, from left to right, are Eric Baldwin, banjo; Ed Goroza, sousaphone; Josiah Reibstein, trombone; and Gabel, trumpet. (AP Photo/Steve LeBlanc)

  • Consumers shop at a retail store in Vernon Hills, Ill. ON Nov. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

WASHINGTON — With prices across the economy — from food, gas and rent to cars, airfares and hotel rooms — soaring at their fastest pace in decades, you might think Americans would tap the brakes on spending.