USDA Warns Coming Food Price Increases Will Dwarf All Recent Spikes

P. Gardner Goldsmith | June 1, 2022
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Much like a gaslighting vampire might suck one’s blood, then feign concern over your ghostly pallor, much like a bully might punch you in the face and then pretend concern over the stains of blood on your shirt, the “no-constitutional-provision-yet-still-here” United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) just radiated grand expressions of “concern” over what it forecasts as the worst food price spikes in the contemporary era.

The USDA just released its revised “Forward Price Outlook” - i.e., its forecast - for 2022 food prices, and, while the info is frightening, it was to be expected, and has been predicted by free-market economists for a long time.

Specifically, the info comes from the $2.1 BILLION tax-grazing USDA’s “Economic Research Service,” and, offers records and predictions for price increases that not only could be the worst in 40 years, but the worst in a century.

Why? Because the anti-constitutional, forced-on-us, U.S. Federal Reserve Note, long-decoupled from any tie to gold, and always under the sway of political powers, has “jumped the shark” into normative valuelessness. Thanks to government-granted monopoly power, the Fed has created so much cash, and the politicians have placed so many burdens on business productivity, the “Dollar” is engaged in a full-on dive towards an economic black hole.

The event horizon can be seen in the ERS report, but we "great unwashed," we "hoi polloi" have been talking about it for years. Since Obama hugged RINOS to pass the utterly insane and unconstitutional "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act," and pile on us massive money pumping, international meddling, lockdowns, jab-mandates for border truckers, pipeline cancellations, bans on construction of new oil refineries, tariffs, embargoes against Russian trade, bailouts, freight rail mandates, and more. And, already, gas prices have more than doubled in less than eighteen months, shortages are widespread, and the core of the black hole awaits.

These price increases are not the fault of Putin, or some fantastical surge in employment and demand. They are – and will be, as the months pass – the result of government spending, government-granted central bank money creation, said same central bank facilitating that profligate government spending, and political-bureaucratic government burdens placed on those trying to put things into or move things along the supply chains.

As my friend, author James Bovard, tweeted when posting a link to a Washington Post story on Biden’s “scramble” against inflation:

Maybe Biden can order FBI to treat it as a 'hate crime' when people attach 'Joe Biden - I did this!' stickers to gas pumps?

That certainly seems to approximate the level of adult discourse in which the Biden administration and most Democrats have been willing to engage when it comes to looking at the core of the price increase problem – a problem their own USDA is predicting will get much worse.

And for which the USDA, itself, is partially responsible.

When the Founders imagined the existence of the USDA – wait, they NEVER imagined such a pernicious body, nor did they allow for it in the U.S. Constitution’s list of enumerated powers, meaning its existence is an afront to the government’s own rules.

So, let’s rephrase that. Since Abraham Lincoln almost 160 years ago to the day signed the clearly unconstitutional attack on southern agricultural interests now euphemistically called the Agriculture Act, the United States government has imposed itself as both nemesis to farmers and back-scratcher to special agri-interests.

Its edicts and pronouncements reach across the entire spectrum of items grown in the U.S. and shipped within it, and out of it, and touch on items from other countries that Americans want to buy.

Its impositions and “standards”… its tariff suggestions and “special enhancements”… and all its various bureaucrats’ immoral interpositions range from giving plum growers tax cash to destroy plum trees (about which I wrote a sarcastic, but, hopefully, informative, piece for The Foundation for Economic Education -- FEE -- in 2002), to impositions on the free speech of livestock sellers, to suggestions that Congress impose tariffs that cost consumers BILLIONS a year (and which the USDA’s “Commodity Credit Corporation” often feeds back to US special interests through what it calls “trade mitigation packages.”)

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As James Bovard noted for The Mises Institute in 1989:

Farm subsidies—roughly $20 billion a year in federal handouts and $10 billion more in higher food prices—are the equivalent of giving every full-time farmer two new Mercedes each year. Annual subsidies for each dairy cow in the United States exceed the per capita income of half the population of the world. With the $260 billion that government and consumers have spent on farm subsidies since 1980, the government could have bought every farm, barn, and tractor in 33 states. The average American head of household worked almost one week a year in 1986 and 1987 simply to pay for welfare for fewer than a million farmers.

And that was 1989.

And he added:

USDA marketing orders annually force farmers to abandon or squander roughly 50 million lemons, one billion oranges, 100 million pounds of raisins, 70 million pounds of almonds, 7 million pounds of filberts, millions of plums and nectarines, etc. USDA announces each season how much of certain fruits and nuts will be allowed to be sold and how much must be held off the market in order to boost prices. USDA endows cooperatives with the power to effectively outlaw competition and to force farmers to let much of their crop rot or be fed to animals. To preserve federal control of the lemon business, USDA effectively bans new technology that would boost fruit sales and benefit both growers and consumers.

And, despite the USDA’s ERS number-crunchers sending contradictory signals about consumer-slamming tariffs, USDA import “standards” literally block all kinds of food that American consumers, themselves, should be able to judge, buy, or refuse – free from US overlords.

USDA and Borders and Customs agents handle the Congressionally-set import quota limits that block food from reaching us.

Heck, they even claim the power to block imports of wood.

As Jeffrey Tucker wrote for the Mises Institute in 2003:

giant avocados from South Africa, large enough to make two pounds of guacamole, are going on sale in Britain. Will Americans be allowed to buy them? The USDA severely restricts imports from Mexico. Wal-Mart was fined a civil penalty of $45,000 for inadvertantly selling Mexican avocados.

And, as Bovard noted more than twenty years ago in his book, “The Fair Trade Fraud” and in associated articles about tariffs and import limits, the US government uses an endless stream of tariffs to slam customers (you and me) while blessing politically favored interests. That politically-inspired bullying results in less money in our pockets to spend on other businesses, other productive employees, other new developments that would have a chance to help us and others.

As he wrote for FEE in 1992:

USDA [United States Department of Agriculture] estimates that dairy import quotas, price restrictions, and marketing restrictions cost American consumers between $5 and $7 billion per year. This amounts to over $50 billion in higher consumer costs since 1980, or roughly $800 per American family. For the same amount, each American family could have bought its own cow.

So, when one reads about the USDA sounding the alarm on higher prices, it’s important to remember its vampiric, bully-like role in the problem, and to remember the entire framework of government being culpable when it comes to our money getting us less and less.

The idea that the government and all its parasitic, monopolistic, glad-handing agencies are helping you is a charade, and the sooner people turn away from that illusion and recognize the fundamental moral primacy of private contract, free will, and free trade (including the choice of one’s currency of trade), the better we will be.

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