Monday, April 21, 2008

It's the groceries, stupid!

A while back I wrote about the hyperincreases in the price of corn, wheat, and then rice. I was thinking at the time of the Asian countries where rice is a large part of the diet and where much of the population is on a subsistence level. Little did I imagine then that in scenes reminiscent of South Florida before a hurricane, people in the United States would be racing out to stockpile rice. According to the New York Sun, that's what's happening in parts of the country. They even used the "r" word: rationing.

While they who would be president are running around decrying Iraq, the lack of affordable health care, global warming, and who knows what all, there is an insidious threat out there- grocery creep-going on unremarked. There are millions upon millions of people in the United States who either rent or did not go beyond their means in purchasing a home, but every single household in the country has to buy groceries. The substantial increase in the same amounts to a regressive tax on the poor. After housing, food is their largest expense. What can the government do?

Let's start by forgetting this corn ethanol nonsense. It is a negative proposition to begin with. It sounds sexy in this politically correct world of global warming, but take a look at it. First it takes more to create than the energy produced. It is physically impossible to plant enough corn to cover our energy needs, even if we had the infrastructure in place to distribute the ethanol, which we do not, and the cars capable of using it as fuel, which we do not. Let's get real. All we are doing at the moment is allowing the vilest element in our markets to speculate at the expense of the global population, much of which can ill afford it.

What else can be done should form the topic of political discourse, not the tired old hobbyhorses which each party trots out every election year. How about true bread and butter issues, guys and gals?

Article here. By the way, rice hoarders, a reminder: gorgojos.

No comments: