By Kelly Loeffler
In America, the availability of everyday goods such as groceries and gasoline is generally a given. Even in 2020, amid the fallout of a pandemic, well-documented shortages were relatively short-lived. But as the economy recovered heading into 2021, the shift in Washington toward Democratic policies may now make hunger pangs familiar in a way unseen since the Great Depression.
While America is the world’s breadbasket, reliance on Russian and Ukrainian wheat, barley, fertilizer, and, most of all, energy has made every mouthful cost more, as have increased regulations and taxes on our farmers here at home. Russia and Ukraine produce 25% of the world’s wheat, and Russia exports 20% of the world’s natural gas supply, both vital to the food supply chain. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion has disrupted these exports and left the world in a precarious position.
A recent article in Parade listed basically every food as at risk of being in short supply in 2022, from eggs and dairy to produce and meat, but then laughably blamed climate change as one of the key causes. Particularly since shortages will be felt most by the more than 10% of Americans who are food insecure, President Joe Biden should be working to avert this looming crisis. Instead, he shrugs and says, “With regard to food shortage, it’s going to be real,” and then plays the solutionless blame game.
The buck never seems to stop at this president’s desk, but facts speak louder than spin. Biden’s harsh regulatory policies, trillions in reckless government spending, and his insistence on paying people not to work have triggered rampant inflation. Russia’s aggression threw fuel on the fire, but it doesn’t singularly explain away the price of beef shooting up 16%, the price of poultry increasing 13%, or the recent rationing of baby formula, not to mention skyrocketing wages shouldered by small businesses, which employ the majority of the public today.
Here in Georgia, farmers now pay over $1,400 for the same $400 bag of fertilizer they bought two years ago, in part because petroleum products are a key fertilizer ingredient. That is just one example of many products, such as diesel, seed, and equipment, the price spikes of which are exceeding gains in commodity prices. Supply and demand dynamics for all commodities, the building blocks of food, clothing, and fuel, will be discussed in 2022 like we’ve not seen in decades.
When the administration “helped” farmers by making it more difficult to keep animals and use water on their land, it made it more costly to produce food. Rising prices borne by families aren’t a concern of the elites, with Bloomberg telling us to try lentils instead of meat.
The Biden administration’s irresponsible policies threaten to leave grocery shelves even more bare than during the pandemic. Democrats in Congress play their part in the Kabuki theater, too, hauling in energy and agriculture executives for what amounts to show trials, hoping we forget that Biden inherited a nation that was a net exporter of oil for the first time in 80 years, where food stamp usage hit a record low, and where the post-pandemic economy was starting to boom.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, has even attacked grocery stores for rising prices, as if they haven’t seen their costs rise. Finger-pointing and climate schemes won’t make food more affordable or save the many family farms and other small businesses in danger of being lost in the inflation wave.
More regulation and bureaucracy, which Biden continues to roll out as the solution to our problems, has tightened the screws on farmers tilling our soil just as climate schemes such as canceling the Keystone Pipeline and banning drilling on federal lands have hurt thousands who work in the only industry that can reasonably provide energy security for all. The longer Democrats cling to big-government policies, the more likely it is that Biden’s prophecy of a real food shortage will be self-fulfilling.
Recently, a reporter asked former President Barack Obama if he had anything to say to Democrats worried about their fate in the midterm elections. “We got a story to tell,” he replied. “Just got to tell it.” But the story they have to tell is of a president, whose party controls both the House and the Senate, with an uncanny knack for making things worse, not better, with every move.
We are walking a tightrope between prosperity and a bleak future of fuel and food shortages. Unless we get back to putting the needs of the public ahead of the needs of activists on their Twitter feeds, we will be coping with the consequences of Biden’s reckless policies for years to come.