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Biden's Food-flation

Betsy McCaughey on

Biden's war on fossil fuels pushed up the cost of fertilizer before Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine. True, Russia is a fertilizer producer, but the war in Ukraine is merely making a self-imposed problem worse.

Reducing fertilizer costs is critical to making fruits and vegetables affordable but also meat. Feed prices for livestock and poultry went up 12.7% last year, largely because of soaring fertilizer prices. If feeding beef cattle costs less, steaks will, too.

Energy inflation drives up food prices in another way. Shipping goods within the U.S. costs nearly 25% more than a year ago, according to St. Louis Federal Reserve data, thanks to the trucker shortage but also fuel prices.

You'd think Biden would be bending over backward to tackle the food price crisis. Instead, he's doubling down on climate extremism. Food shoppers be damned.

The federal Conservation Reserve Program pays farmers to leave farmland idle. Agricultural groups asked Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for permission to cultivate idle land, but Vilsack said no, predicting a "detrimental impact on ... efforts to mitigate climate change."

Not all the factors pushing up food prices are within Biden's control. Avian flu is ravaging poultry and egg producers. Drought is curbing production in California. Putin's war is diminishing wheat production in Ukraine. But Biden has the power to tame food-flation by standing up to the climate extremists in his own party.

He should also curb overall inflation by calling for tight monetary policy (the Federal Reserve's job) and halting out-of-control federal spending, including shelving even a pared down Build Back Better.

 

Sadly, the president offered none of these remedies in Tuesday's speech.

What can average Americans do? Shop smart. Those precooked supermarket chickens are loss leaders -- a bargain designed to lure you into the store. They actually cost less than uncooked chicken, though they tend to be smaller.

You can vote smart, too. There's a direct relationship between who governs in Washington and what you're paying at the checkout.

Biden must be channeling Marie Antoinette, who dismissed public anguish over the price of bread by saying, "Let them eat cake."

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Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York and author of "The Next Pandemic," available at Amazon.com. Follow her on Twitter @Betsy_McCaughey. To find out more about Betsy McCaughey and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Copyright 2022 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
 

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