The Price We Pay

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The supermarket is not a place where anyone hopes for surprises. Beyond a winning lottery ticket, finding a coupon for 10 percent off a 12-pack of Pabst Blue Ribbon or getting a smile from the cute checkout girl, surprises at the supermarket usually involve forgetting the shopping list, finding out they’re out of PBR (horrors!) or discovering that the price of some staple has skyrocketed.

While pushing my cart through the aisles the other day, I discovered the price of my favorite brand of pasta had reached $1.69 per box — nearly a dollar more than it cost the day President Barack Obama took office. Since I’m the sort of fellow whose feats of culinary legerdemain away from the grill lean toward boiling water or making really outstanding… reservations, a hike in the price of pasta strikes fear in my heart. Imagine the compounded trepidation that sent a shiver down my spine when I realized the price of macaroni and cheese has also embarked on a northward climb. Since the cost of Doritos and Pop Tarts also rose, we know three things to be true:

  1. The prices of staple groceries are climbing across the board, meaning middle-class families are coughing up more of their hard-earned pay for food purchases.
  2. The economy is still mired in the economic quicksand of the past couple of years.
  3. Bachelors nationwide are in serious danger of starvation.

That list seems out of place, especially considering the days-of-wine-and-roses claptrap that the Democrats and their minions in the corporate media have been serving up of late. In fact, add the price of gasoline and the middle class, about whom President Obama and his accomplices claim to be so concerned, once again teeters on the edge of the fiscal precipice. In 2006, Senator Barbara Boxer held a shrieking press conference at a Washington, D.C.-area gas station to complain about President George W. Bush’s lack of action on gas prices, which were lower than they are now. If Boxer is now demanding answers from Obama, I haven’t heard her.

Any working stiff can tell you: The prices at the grocery store, the gas station, the pharmacist and even the sport shop where he buys bulk ammunition have risen dramatically, outstripping inflationary increases. There’s no sign that the pricing trend will slow down, much less revert to pre-Obama levels.

Although the wine-and-cheese-millionaire set backing Obama and the Democrats won’t discuss it, food prices in the United States rose as much as 10 percent in 2011, with most experts agreeing even more dramatic price hikes should be expected for 2012 and beyond. The liberal elite’s feigned concern for us common folk begins with meaningless rhetoric and baseless finger-pointing and ends with, well, meaningless rhetoric and baseless finger-pointing. None of the major economic indicators have shown anything but costlier trends since Obama arrived in the White House on a wave of hope and change (not to mention race-baiting and hate speech).

Where are the sunnier days and star-filled nights Obama and the Democrats promised us? Surely, things must have improved somewhat. After all, I hardly think Michelle Obama would have taken the kids skiing in the millionaire’s playground of Aspen, Colo. if there were a chance that someone might misinterpret their snowbound cavorting for Marie Antoinette-like disregard for the “little people.”

The truth, I expect, is far worse. I doubt the perspectives of the millions of Americans suffering under the yoke of Obama’s economy ever entered Michelle Obama’s mind. It is a fair bet that the plight of everyday Americans has gone — and will continue to go — unrecognized by the liberal millionaires who claim to have a monopoly on “caring.”  Their version of “caring” extends only as far as giving a decent tip to the valet at the restaurant, throwing a couple of extra bones for their caddie at the golf club and perhaps dropping a few coins in the Styrofoam cup that belongs to the homeless guy on the sidewalk. Beyond that, “caring” is reserved for speeches, fundraisers (at which they tell each other how much they care, in between white wine spritzers) and campaign ads.

In 1992, President George H.W. Bush stepped on a publicity land mine when he was unable to give an accurate price for a gallon of milk. Democrats, eager to play Bush as an out-of-touch elitist, hammered him for not knowing the economic circumstances of average Americans. Fast-forward to 2012, and I wonder if liberals like the Obamas even care.

Ben Crystal

is a 1993 graduate of Davidson College and has burned the better part of the last two decades getting over the damage done by modern-day higher education. He now lives in Savannah, Ga., where he has hosted an award-winning radio talk show and been featured as a political analyst for television. Currently a principal at Saltymoss Productions—a media company specializing in concept television and campaign production, speechwriting and media strategy—Ben has written numerous articles on the subjects of municipal authoritarianism, the economic fallacy of sin taxes and analyses of congressional abuses of power.