Rising Food Costs

It is the first of the month and as is her habit, my wife, Rocky, went to the grocery to do her “stock-up” shopping. As the term implies, this is when we do the majority of our grocery and necessity shopping. We will do some shopping during the month for perishables and other necessities, so we normally keep fairly well abreast of the trends in food prices. The first thing my Rocky told me when I got home was that she was experiencing sticker shock. Our normal “stock-up” shopping trip is good for approximately $150. Today, she spent closer to $260. We are not folks who eat a lot of “snacky” stuff. Our snacks normally consist of a couple of bags of pretzel sticks. We do not eat prepared foods, Rocky is just too good of a cook. Therefore, we are talking about an exorbitant increase in the price of staples.

Even the least astute of my readers will understand that this is merely personal observation and not a scientific study, even though we have seen reports of this type of price increase on the news and the folks I work with have made the same observation.

Let’s look at a couple of possible causes for extreme inflation like this. My first thought is the eco-terrorists. But the harder I think about the situation, the less I am inclined to think of any other cause. You may ask, or not, what the eco-terrorists have to do with the price of groceries. Well, I’m glad you asked, because I am just chomping at the bit to tell you.

First, there is the eco-terrorist fight to keep us from drilling in ANWAR and in the coastal plains. We have enough petroleum within the borders and territorial waters of the United States to satisfy our needs for many decades. Additionally, with the new find in the North/South Dakota area we would be even more secure in our energy supplies. But that is only part of the problem. The eco-terrorists have prevented the building of new refineries in the United States for over 31 years. With the reduced refining capacity vs. demand, we have become increasingly dependent on foreign oil imports. Of course this is no surprise to anyone.

There is now a movement to reduce our dependence on foreign oil by turning corn into ethanol and mixing with gasoline to make our gas supplies go farther. Of course the farmers know a cash cow when they see one. With more and more of our arable land being taken up for ethanol production, there is less available for food production. Never mind that it takes almost as much energy to produce one gallon of ethanol as you get out of it. But what do the eco-terrorists care, we are using a renewable source for fuel, even though it is almost a wash as to cost/benefit, from a fuel standpoint. However from a food standpoint, there is definite negative cost/benefit. There less food available and therefore the demand/price equation comes into play and we not only see sticker shock at the pump, we see it in the grocery line.

But eco-terrorists are not economists; they are, by definition, terrorists. They are holding the country, and actually the western hemisphere, hostage. There is such a shortage of corn, that the price of tortillas in Mexico has sky-rocketed. I am not saying this to be funny; this was reported on the news (as reliable as that is).

OK, the experts tell us that the way to reduce our dependence on foreign oil is to use less. That is kind of a “no-brainer.” Let’s explore some ways to reduce our usage of petroleum products, primarily gasoline, diesel, and natural gas.

One of the primary ways is to convert power plants to coal or nuclear power. The coal plants of today are not the same as those of our grandfathers’ day. There are chimney and stack scrubbers that clean up the emissions to the point of acceptability.

And then we can look at nuclear power. I was not able to find out how long it has been since we have built a nuclear power plant, but I know that it has been a long time. It is just easier not to bother with it than to fight the eco-terrorists. When you look at the success of the nuclear power industry in Europe, one can only wonder why we do not follow suit. The answer is simple. The eco-terrorists have beaten Congress and various administrations into submission.

We use a lot of petroleum to make electricity. Why; because the eco-terrorists would rather scream about the ecology than do something about it. With every court battle, they prove their disdain for America.

Of course, no terrorist can ply his trade without an enabler. The good news for the eco-terrorists is that they have a number of groups of enablers. They start with the Senate and House of Representatives and go all the way down to state legislatures. In my next posting, I will discuss the complicity of these groups.

As always I welcome your comments/discussions.
Dan Lanotte

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