While America’s political leaders seemed to be focused on Healthcare Reform, 2012 elections and “violent rhetoric,” the stables of life have taking a concerning path. January 13, 2011, cotton was traded at a record high. Sugar and cocoa were traded at the highest prices seen in three decades. Corn and soybean prices continue to rise at a steady pace, while production forecasts look daunting.
A decrease in corn production, combined with a forecast of a possible shortage, raises cause for concern. The Agriculture Department predicts a corn production decrease of 4.9%, however, the Obama administration recently approved the sale of gasoline with an increase of ethanol to 15% from 10%. More than a third of our corn supply will be refined for energy use – corn that would normally go to our own diets or to animals as fodder, causing an increase in animal product prices as well. The United States of America is the only country in history burning its own food supply, and is doing so while on the brink of a shortage combined with economic collapse.
The World Economic Forum is showing an increase demand in water, food and energy due rising population and prosperity. Commodity market prices are soaring to heights never before seen, stealthy raising prices for each of us at the supermarket. A combination of bad economic situations is to blame. Supplies of corn, rice, coffee, sugar, wheat, cotton, etc, were recently predicted by the USDA to have light crops, combine that with soaring oil prices, $91.87/barrel presently, means we could see significant price increases.
In 2008, oil prices were rose to $147/barrel, with $4/gallon gasoline, while corn, rice, and wheat prices spiked. A formula. creating food riots around the globe. In the United States, apart from the price of oil, the average American was not as affected by the rice shortages to the extent of other nations. In some cases, restaurants were limited in their bulk rice purchases, and many food banks had to decrease their rice distribution, but there were not riots in the streets. However, in countries like Haiti, India and Indonesia, food riots occurred, and in some case government control suppose and prices.
In a recent interview, Eric Bolling, of the Fox News channel, told Megyn Kelly, with wholesale prices already high, if oil were to climb back to $147/barrel, commodity prices could increase 60%. Bolling added, “In 2008, we were on the heels of a very robust world economy,” obviously, very different from the situation of economies around the world today. During the interview, recent flooding in Australia was used to explain how commodities are tied together, and how their price and supply levels affect us. The United States imports large amounts of meat and wool from Australia; both supplies having been reduced from the recent floods. A reduced meat supply, on top of an already climbing price, could mean the U.S. will have to look elsewhere to import its meat, which has caused problems in the past. An increase in wool prices tends to cause an increase in cotton demand, which, as noted previously, is at record high.
Not addressed was the devaluing of our dollar due to national debt, and the fed buying its own bonds, something they promised they would never do, an action that history has shown to be a recipe for inflation. Inflation of the dollar, seen through the increase in the price of gold, which traded today at $1,385.80, could put food and energy prices at unpredictable levels. Apart from those who watch and/or listen to Eric Bolling or Glenn Beck, who has been talking about this for years, the current news reports are the first many Americans are hearing about the price increase to come. America has never tried to buy its own debt to control inflation, but the countries that have, including Nigeria and the Weimar Republic, were unsuccessful.
The bottom line, all of our problems right now are tied together. Shortages, price increases, natural disasters, oil prices and inflation will cause our grocery bills, cost of clothing, and the price at the pump to go up. How much they go up is unknown, but the phrase, “Expect the worst, and hope for the best,” comes to mind. Americans, when faced with hard times and unthinkable challenges have a way of banding together to rise above them. In order to do this, we have to focus on the necessities in our lives, not the toys and petty disputes. More importantly, we have to be prepared. Word of advice – hold off on buying that new TV, the ps3 and other unnecessary splurges for a while. Instead, focus on God, family, and the necessities we take for granted everyday, the things that really matter when we face hard times.