I wrote last month, in a column entitled "Corny Joke" (http://openchoke.blogs.com/open_choke/2007/07/corny-joke.html) about my musings while driving around South Central Texas and seeing how much corn was planted in fields that were historically growing other food crops and wondering what the unintended consequences of federally subsidizing corn would have on food prices. Well, it looks like I was right... food prices are sharply up. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/18902.html
Reasons given are: 1. Higher corn prices and loss of corn as a food source due to ethanol subsidies, 2. Tougher enforcement of immigration laws (strangely enough, I talked about the inflationary pressure of the illegal crackdown in my July 4th column http://openchoke.blogs.com/open_choke/2007/07/illegal-america.html), 3. A late spring freeze, (uhhh, global warming?) , 4. High diesel prices due to our long term energy policy of beating the bulk of US energy providers about the head with a ball peen hammer while masturbating to the idea of free candy canes falling from the sky, and 5. the hammering of the dollar, which makes our commodities so much more attractive to pesky furners.
So, enjoy your "consumer price index" of 2.7% while your food costs goes up 25%. On the bright side, at least this year, the price of oil and gas is flat after growing 35% per year between 2004 and 2006. No inflation due to us THIS year! Oh yeah, I forgot. We are not in the Consumer Price Index.
In any case, maybe consumer pain and anger will be refocused by the media this year on that other necessity- food! Maybe the Government should "do something about it"? Isn't that what the guy at the gas pump on TV always says? What do they tell the mom in the kitchen on the TV segment as her kids have to eat Wal Mart inhouse brand out flakes without milk? "Look what the government did to you"?
Maybe a Windfall Profits tax on agricultural products? I mean, those poor guys have less of a choice to do that business than us! Perfect tax monkeys!
The good news on the inflationary front is that if you live in California, you won't be feeling that inflation like the rest of us, because you can offset the increase in the cost of your food with the decrease in the value of your house, you lucky son of a gun!
In any case, all we need to figure out is how to eat Asian electronic equipment, and food inflation goes away altogether!