July 20, 2007
Your food prices
By Perry Willis
Quote of the Day: "Capitol: Seat of misgovernment." -- Ambrose Bierce, from "The Devil's Dictionary" Subject: Grocery prices The tepid Democrat plan to reduce the number of troops in Iraq failed. The Defense Authorization bill to which that plan would have been attached has been withdrawn. With it goes the amendments that would have restored habeas corpus and dismantled the military tribunals. But all of these issues will be back soon. The defense bill has to be passed, and when the vote comes we have a very good chance to pass the amendments. Your messages on these issues were helpful. You can be sure they have been reported to your members of Congress. Congress knows what you want. When these issues come back to the floor we will hit them again. Meanwhile, other bills will be brought to a vote. One of the most important is likely to be the agriculture bill. Year-in and year-out this is one of the worst bills Congress considers. It's a grab bag of wasteful spending and corporate welfare. It's not yet time to try to stop the bill as a whole. We need to be larger and stronger. But we can work with others to stop some of the worst aspects of this legislation. Perhaps you've noticed that your grocery bills are rising. I certainly have. There are many causes. Recent government inflation that first drove up the stock market, and then the housing market, is likely to now be finding its way to your food bill. But there are also other causes . . . Farmers around the country are having a hard time getting their crops harvested. Apparently, there aren't enough Americans who want to do that kind of work, and there aren't enough Mexicans to meet the demand. More importantly . . . Government subsidies for ethanol production have caused a lot of farmers to shift from producing food to growing corn for fuel production. This is having downstream effects on everything you eat. Funny thing is, it costs more to make ethanol than we get out of it. It isn't about energy. It isn't about the environment. It's about Archer Daniels Midland. All of these policies mean higher gas prices and higher food prices, for no real gain. Tack on government restrictions that are strangling U.S. refinery capacity and you're getting hammered at both the pump and the check out line. And despite what the politicians claim, none of this has anything to do with precarious Mid-east oil flows or greedy oil companies. We get a tiny amount of our oil from the Mid-east -- just 14% -- and that percentage has been dropping for some time. Neither does it have anything to do with price gouging. If oil companies really had the capacity to gouge they'd be doing it all the time, and at even higher prices. I'm always struck by how no one claims that oil companies are gouging themselves when the price goes down. It's really all about government policies that restrict supplies of both food and energy. Aren't you glad we have politics and government to make the world a better place? But there's one other factor that may soon come into play, making your grocery prices rise even higher. That something is NAIS, the National Animal Identification System. NAIS is supposed to protect you from animal diseases. Never mind that private procedures have already been created that do the job better at less cost. If government wasn't redundant of superior private efforts it wouldn't be anything at all. NAIS involves electronic chips in animals and all sorts of complicated and expensive reporting and tracking procedures. The rules are preferential to big corporate agri-biz over small family and organic farms, so this is really a back door corporate welfare scheme. NAIS will drive many family and organic farmers out of business, reduce food supplies, and raise the cost of your groceries yet again. Plus, once again, you get to pay taxes for the privilege of paying higher prices. And it won't even work. Because smaller farms will be driven out of business, it remove a key form of safety; diversity in the food supply. There are NAIS related sections of the upcoming bill. They need to be removed. Tell Congress you oppose NAIS. You can do that here. Finally, we're off to a bad start on funding this month. We lost a whole week to the July 4th Holiday. We always try to give you guys a break when there's a holiday in the middle of the week. But it comes at an economic cost to us. If you can help us catch up . . . We'll mail a "9/11: Press for Truth" DVD to your home. Here's how to get one . . . If you're an existing monthly credit card pledger in good standing as of June 15, 2007, all you have to do is increase your monthly pledge by at least $1, and we'll send one to you. If you're NOT an EXISTING monthly credit card pledger then you can start a monthly credit card pledge of at least $6, or make a one-time credit card donation of $35 or more, and we'll send you the DVD. (Sorry, for technical reasons we cannot make this offer for PayPal pledges or donations). You can make your contribution here. Thank you for being a DC Downsizer. Perry Willis Communications Director, Inc. P.S. Also, Downsize DC President, Jim Babka, is on the radio again for his regular Friday appearance with Jerry Hughes. And this national show is a great opportunity to spread the DC Downsizer message. Please support this show. Help us create "buzz!" You can do so by listening, but especially by calling-in or sending an email. The toll-free call-in number is: 1-866-222-2368 The email is: Jerry at AccentRadio dot com Time: 3:00 PM Eastern, 2:00 PM Central, 1:00 PM Mountain, Noon Pacific Length: 1 hour Host: Jerry Hughes Show: Straight Talk w/ Jerry Hughes Internet: Click Winamp or Windows Media Playerm, as appropriate. You can listen to the show in more than 20 markets. A complete list of "affiliates" is available here.
Filed under Downsizer Dispatch, Energy
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