Tuesday, May 5, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Economy puts squeeze on weeknight dinner

By
From page A11 | May 02, 2014 |

With all the recent turmoil, it may seem the least of our collective worries is the escalating cost of food. But for millions of Americans, this is a daily worry.

Prices of beef, pork, fruits and vegetables are rising; current bouts of bad weather will not help.

True, we pay a smaller percentage of our incomes for food than much of the world. And too many of us have eaten too many calories over the years.

But most Americans get by on a fixed amount of money each week; $10 or $20 more spent for the same amount of food means something has to give.

Not insignificantly, along with plain old bad weather, climate change seems to be an increasing factor in food prices, along with mysterious blights, government regulations, land prices and changing food tastes.

The price of limes is front-page news. (Yes, we now have the 89-cent lime. The Wall Street Journal found a California Mexican restaurant needing 1,000 limes a week that will give customers a 25-cent margarita in exchange for a bag of limes from backyard fruit trees.)

Apparently, the harsh winter and heavy rains have decreased the lime supply from Mexico, which provides 97 percent of the 500,000 tons Americans squeeze each year. Prices have quadrupled.

But this is about more than the search for half a lime to jam into a bottle of Corona, even with the approach of Cinco de Mayo.

In Florida the citrus crop is imperiled by one of the worst blights in memory. No changing out that margarita for a mimosa or a salty dog without worrying about the rent.

As grilling season begins, we learn the number of cattle coming to market has plummeted because of recession and the dreadful winter. For 19 consecutive months inventories in U.S. feedlots with 1,000 head of cattle or more have declined from the same months the previous year. There’s evidence beef prices are the highest in 17 years.

Drought now extends to 50 percent of the contiguous United States, causing water shortages and weakening farmland values.

As for pork, prices are at an all-time high because of a deadly pig virus.

And woe to you if you crave healthful “super foods.” At an East Coast supermarket, blueberries were fetching $10 for 16 ounces although most customers were putting them back after ascertaining they were, in fact, ordinary blueberries.

The White House, with its own carefully tended vegetable garden, seems unconcerned. President Obama, seen not too long ago exiting a $400-a-person sushi bar in Japan, has other things on his mind.

But prices are skyrocketing so fast it could be an issue in the all-important, crucial, incredibly significant, make-or-break midterm November elections. (If you have been focused on other things such as making a living, Democrats might lose control of the Senate, leaving Obama at the mercy of Republicans who can’t abide him controlling Congress.)

More significantly, high food prices hurt the poor and the few Americans left who call themselves middle class. Families are eating cereal for breakfast and dinner; fresh produce is even scarcer on America’s tables.

Chalking up the cost of breakfast a few weeks ago, USA Today found eggs up 5.7 percent, tomatoes up 6.9 percent, sausage up 8.7 percent, potatoes up 6.9 percent and oranges up 12.2 percent.

The Agriculture Department says it hopes “normal weather” will resume and prices will settle back to “historical norms.”

But after more than a decade of war, Americans are telling pollsters they want their political leaders to pull back from world affairs and fix domestic problems. Who can blame them? The trillion dollars spent on war could rebuild a lot of roads and bridges, address water distribution issues, fund research and start rebuilding the economy so a few more dollars spent at the supermarket wouldn’t be so painful for so many.

Ann McFeatters is an op-ed columnist for McClatchy-Tribune. Readers may send her email at [email protected]

Ann McFeatters

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 3 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • JBMay 02, 2014 - 5:10 am

    Do not worry Obama does not care as long as the taxpayers keep footing the bill. He will just keep raising taxes. Tax and spend the democratic way. He deserves those dinners look how much better the country is because of him being in charge. Truly I am kidding.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • patrickMay 02, 2014 - 1:29 pm

    government spending on the $80 billion-a-year food stamp program -- twice what it cost five years ago. thank you obummer how about some jobs?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JagMay 02, 2014 - 1:32 pm

    Well it is like this Ann, If the current Republicans take control of the sent you have nothing to worry about because they are like democrats anyway but if the tea party republicans win you will see much improvement

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

2 hurt in Fairfield freeway crash

By Glen Faison | From Page: A5, 17 Comments

 
 
Vacaville police announce training at outlet stores

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A5

 
Solano marks Mental Health Month during May

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A4

 
Western Railway Museum plans special events

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A2, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Comedies, dramas, documentaries hit screens this weekend

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A7

 
Caltrans announces work on Highway 160

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

Caltrans outlines work on Highway 29

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
 
 
 
.

US / World

 
Ex-Christie allies plead not guilty in bridge case

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Assembly approves ban on Redskins school team name

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
‘Exceptional’ NYPD officer dies from gunshot wound to head

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 2 Comments | Gallery

 
CalFire chief seeks to change discipline after scandal

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment | Gallery

California drought leaves 12 million trees dead

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 2 Comments

 
Study: Cutting carbon dioxide saves 3,500 US lives a year

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
GOP field grows: Longshots Fiorina, Carson launch their bids

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment | Gallery

Accused Texas gunman well-known to FBI before attack

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Britain’s new princess can’t expect fairy-tale life

By The Associated Press | From Page:

A name for Britain’s new princess: Charlotte Elizabeth Diana

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

Carson, Fiorina won’t change 2016 election

By Jonathan Bernstein | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: May 5, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Internment art to be displayed at California museum

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Take the mad out of money with these tips for couples

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
North America’s tallest peak opens for climbers

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Huge SoCal waves lure surfers, crowds to beaches

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

.

Entertainment

Obama jokes about a future playing dominoes with Letterman

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Boxing match pops up on phones as TV habits change

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

‘Star Trek’ actress Grace Lee Whitney dies at 85

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
‘Avengers’ sequel soars to $191.3M

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
The Muppets to team up with several YouTube stars

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
New McCullough book celebrates the Wright Brothers

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Blues legend B.B. King resting at home in Las Vegas

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
TVGrid May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6, 1 Comment

 
.

Sports

Local Report: Baseball, tennis, swimming, football

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
Cruz hits 14th HR, Hernandez pitches Mariners past Angels

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Bumgarner pitches Giants past Padres for fourth straight win

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Griffin’s triple-double lifts Clippers over Rockets 117-101

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Hunter backs Hughes with 3-run HR as Twins top A’s 8-7

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Pacquiao could face disciplinary action for shoulder

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Brewers win in Counsell’s debut, 4-3 over Dodgers

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Rose, Gasol pace Bulls to 99-92 win over Cavs in Game 1

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Canada, US, earn 3rd straight wins at ice hockey worlds

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Murray wins BMW Open for 1st clay-court title

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

FIFA to study Israel-Palestinians dispute on election day

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Earnhardt back in victory lane and happier than ever

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Rory McIlroy: Holding the top ranking, wearing the crown

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Warriors’ Stephen Curry voted NBA’s MVP over Harden, James

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment | Gallery

 
.

Business

 
China factory index shows fastest deterioration in a year

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Airlines bring in more money from bag, reservations fees

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
General Motors will invest $174 million in Kansas plant

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Greece to lobby EU, ECB for swift loan payout

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
AP source: Goldberg died after collapsing in gym

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment

Supreme Court will hear appeal over energy regulation

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Dow Chemical to trim about 3 pct of global workforce

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
US stocks gain, pushing market back to record levels

By The Associated Press | From Page:

US factory orders rise in March for first time in 8 months

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Buffett again defends lending standards at Clayton Homes

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
McDonald’s challenge: Make it simpler, but add choices

By The Associated Press | From Page:

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Beetle Bailey May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Crossword May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
B.C. May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Get Fuzzy May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baldo May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sudoku May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Bridge May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Peanuts May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Wizard of Id May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Cryptoquote May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Zits May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Word Sleuth May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sally Forth May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie May 5

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4