Tag: pandemic
Despite Scare Headlines, Egg Prices Are Already Cracking

Despite Scare Headlines, Egg Prices Are Already Cracking

When I worked on Reuters' business desk, we weren't allowed to parrot press releases reporting that earnings soared 100 percent from the year before. Why? Because here's the reality behind some such claims: Acme Pebble's income last year may have grown from a miserable $100 to only $200. That's a 100 percent gain but hardly a reason to party.

And so it is with some skepticism that one encounters headlines about the price of a consumer item jumping 10 percent, 40 percent or 80 percent from last year. Relevant to the economic pain involved is the base from which the price rose, plus how much of the item an ordinary American actually uses. (Truffles, anyone?)

Eggs offer one such recent example. The price of eggs, we read, rose 60 percent last year. The number is not wrong. It's that eggs remain a relatively cheap food. At a high of $6 for a dozen, a two-egg dinner could still be had for $1.

We understand that eggs are an important food source, particularly for low-income people — and that any increase in their price can be meaningful to some. But a hamburger at McDonald's costs $2.49.

Now, news on the tab for common consumer staples like eggs, gasoline, and Thanksgiving turkeys draws attention and allows the creation of easy-to-make visuals. But so many of the headlines on the cost of eggs bang on the percentage rise in price while not mentioning the actual price.

Remember the turkey "crisis" of two Thanksgivings ago? The price of turkey hit a record $1.36 a pound for a 16-pound turkey. But you could still feed a family of 18 for a mere $1.22 a serving. Contrary to scary reports, there was no turkey shortage.

One other thing about panicky reports of price increases is that they generally fail to note that prices can also go down as market conditions change. As they say, the cure for high prices is high prices.

The price of eggs has already started to moderate as their stiffer cost has softened demand. Midwest large eggs, the commodity's benchmark, have already fallen to $4.63 a dozen, down from $5.46 last month. That's despite the persistence of the main cause of egg price inflation, an avian flu that has led to the deaths of millions of egg-laying chickens.

Some Americans tried to work around higher egg prices by obtaining their own chickens. A friend in rural Rehoboth, Massachusetts, keeps three chickens that produce about 90 eggs a month. They cost about $21 a month for a 50-pound bag of pellets. Left out, of course, is the expense of coops, fencing and the chickens themselves.

"I'll have to calculate how much it actually cost per egg," Mario Morais told me, "but I think I'm ahead of the game, and they're fresh."

It's worth noting that the sparked interest in maintaining one's own chickens started during the COVID pandemic and before egg prices shot up. People who suddenly found themselves working from home found it easier, as well as interesting, to keep chickens. That included people living in urban areas.

Feed stores in the Houston area report a strong demand for chickens and their food. And a growing number of businesses are renting out chickens. Driftwood Meadow Farms north of Houston rents chickens for four to five months at a price of $665 for two birds plus the coop, feed and water dishes. Also, the all-important instructions.

Bear in mind that cost pressures on eggs include Russia's war on Ukraine and the drought across much of the U.S. They and the avian flu all continue but the price for eggs has nonetheless started coming down. Thus, and another obsession should start to crack.

Reprinted with permission from Creators.

June Report: Every Job Lost During Pandemic Is Back

June Report: Every Job Lost During Pandemic Is Back

A strong June jobs report released on Friday showed that the private sector has now recovered every job that was lost during the COVID-19 pandemic when millions of people were laid off during former President Donald Trump's tenure.

The news came after the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the economy added 372,000 jobs in June, exceeding economists' expectations and keeping the unemployment rate at 3.6 percent, a level most economists regard as "full employment."

The milestone came a little more than two years after the COVID-19 pandemic began, which caused the stock market to plummet and employers to slash 22 million jobs.

The private sector has bounced back faster than many had previously thought it would. Some economists had predicted it could take as many as four years for the millions of jobs that were lost to return.

The White House celebrated the jobs number, touting the speed of the recovery from the pandemic slump.

"This has been the fastest and strongest jobs recovery in American history, and it would not have been possible without the decisive action my administration took last year to fix a broken COVID response, and pass the American Rescue Plan to get our economy back on track," President Joe Biden said in a statement.

Biden, who rarely brings up his predecessor by name, said the employment situation is now better than it ever was during Trump's time in office.

"We have more Americans working in the private sector today than any day during Donald Trump's presidency — more people than any time in our history," Biden said.

Brian Deese, the director of the National Economic Council, also celebrated the news that the private sector is now at pre-pandemic levels. "The strength of this labor market is historic," Deese told the Washington Post on Friday.

The report has eased some fears of an impending economic recession. Even Fox Business said the jobs report "doesn't look like an economy in recession."

Good economic news could help Democrats in this year's midterm elections, as economic concerns top voters' list of issues heading into November.

Democrats, for their part, touted the stimulus bills they've passed as one of the reasons for the labor market's recovery, including the American Rescue Plan in 2021.

"This isn't a coincidence," Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) tweeted, referring to the fact that the job market recovered from its pandemic losses. "This is thanks to our recovery efforts like the American Rescue Plan."

Democratic lawmakers also called out their Republican colleagues who voted against their efforts to stimulate the economy with increased government aid.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) chastised Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) after the Georgia Republican criticized Biden for the 3.6 percent unemployment rate, despite saying the same number was "strikingly low" in 2019 when Trump was president.

"You call an identical unemployment rate 'strikingly low' and credited the president for creating a third as many jobs, but then of course, that president was a Republican," Beyer quipped.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

DeSantis Reveals Biggest Regret Of Covid Lockdown (Which Will Anger Trump)

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) has revealed his biggest mistake during the COVID-19 pandemic; a mistake that will likely ruffle former President Donald Trump's feathers.

On Thursday, January 13, the Republican governor appeared on the conservative podcast "Ruthless," where he revealed his biggest regrets while governing during the pandemic. DeSantis, a known Trump ally, suggested that he wasn't in favor of the national lockdown that was enforced at the onset of the pandemic, according to CNN.

He recalled the early days of the pandemic and revealed he was actually involved in the White House's pandemic response, offering advice to the former president. Although the pandemic had quickly became a national crisis, DeSantis claims he was relatively shocked when Trump shut down the economy.

"I never thought in February, early March, that [coronavirus] would lead to locking down the country," the Republican governor said on Thursday. "I just didn't. I didn't think that was on the radar."

Per CNN, the Florida governor largely blamed Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert and head of the White House coronavirus task force, for advising Trump on shutting the country down.

Fauci along with other public health experts advised the former president, but the story notes that "the decision was Trump's to make, and DeSantis ultimately followed the White House's lead, closing Florida schools, government buildings, gyms, bars, and restaurant dining rooms and advising Floridians to stay home."

DeSantis' latest critical remarks about Trump follow similar comments he made back in November. At the time, DeSantis criticized the travel restrictions that were implemented as part of the pandemic response.

Although he had also supported the decision Trump made at the timie, he again came to believe that was a mistake. "I was probably the first governor in January of 2020 to call for travel restrictions from China. I supported President Trump when he did that," DeSantis said. "But we have to take a step back and acknowledge that those travel restrictions just didn't work."

Article reprinted with permission from Alternet


The Pandemic Is A National Test That We’ve Failed

Over the past century, there have been times when Americans showed they can unite to overcome formidable challenges: winning World II, sending men to the moon, bringing down Soviet communism. The coronavirus pandemic will not be remembered as one of them.

It's fair to say that we have done many things right, individually and collectively. Most Americans, most of the time, have abided by the counsel of public health experts that we wear masks, socially distance and avoid large indoor gatherings. Most governors and mayors have taken prudent steps to curb transmission of the virus. In all, we've done pretty well.

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