Monday, January 24, 2022

The Causes of Inflation

Consumer prices are up 7% year over year, the highest rate of increase since 1982. It's causing major headaches for the White House. Until we diagnose what’s really causing the inflation, we won’t be able to treat it, said economist Stephanie Kelton. (Axios, 1/24/2022)

The causes of inflation are rather obvious now. Free government money has created a substantial INCREASE in DEMAND. On the other hand, worker shortages worldwide due to free money from governments (why work... often for less $$$), and more worker shortages due to Covid illness/fears/deaths, retirements and fatigue (see nurses, teachers and cashiers) have caused a substantial DECREASE in SUPPLY. 

The reduced supply of materials and workers to create products and services that people demand has pushed costs up, which is inflation.

These are the main causes for the inflation. Other parts of the cost increase include infrastructure problems (capacity at ports and warehouses), energy jitters due to political games (Russia) and due to renewable and other expensive mandates, regional weather problems that compound the difficulties above, and various national or regional controls and restrictions for Covid that reduce productivity or directly increase costs.

The worst is not over, because now there is pressure for wage increases in both public and private sector. Income increases will affect both demand and production costs, adding more fuel to the inflation fire...

Friday, January 14, 2022

In Defense of Plant Based Meat

My Letter to the Editor

Reno Gazette Journal

January 12, 2022

"No Future in Manufactured Meat" by Jim Hightower (RGJ 1/2/22) will be one of the most erroneous editorial opinions this year. The article is peppered with scientific jargon to scare the reader about substances in plant-based meat. But these substances can be found in many foods consumed routinely. Hightower states a hyperbolic past cost, but today a 4oz plant-based meat hamburger putty is about $2 at Costco. 

Hightower asks, “who needs a meatless burger?” Everyone who likes meat does! The cattle industry is the number one agricultural source of greenhouse gasses worldwide, a major source of climate change that affects everyone. In June 2020, UC-Davis research estimated that livestock are responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gasses. 

Based on a large US-based study by the Harvard School of Public Health, in 2012 the National Institutes of Health informed that red meat is linked to increased risks of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers: “one additional serving per day of unprocessed red meat over the course of the study raised the risk of total mortality by 13%”. 

Last month, the White House stated that high meat prices are caused by four monopolists in the US meat-processing controlling 85% of the market: Beef prices in November were up 21% from a year ago and climbing. 

Other benefits of increased substitution of red meat by plant-based meat include the reduction of animal slaughter, the reduction of water and land pollution from massive amounts of animal waste, and reduced handling, transportation and energy consumption because plant-based products are produced closer to the consumer.