Half The Crap At
Twice The Cost
By Anita Sands <>
As you all know if you've gone food shopping recently, butter prices have more than doubled. Yes, in the last few months they've shot from 2$ a pound to way past $4 a pound. I know most of you don't even look at the prices. I've been in line, seen people with carrots and asked, what are carrots a pound now? And I get stares. "Like I LOOK??"
Having four adult aged children, I knew this already, of course. Kids today do not check prices. And as they don't --they are incapable of simply LEAVING a store empty handed and driving to a barrio market where produce is cheaper. Kids are more basic today. They just look up at the fluorescent lights on the ceiling, see they're IN a market and they start slinging things into the cart. That's the end of their marketing reflex. No young person today can tell you what anything costs any more But take my word for it, prices at one local supermarket this week ranged from $3.99 to $5.69 a pound, and stores say it's hurting sales. Which to me means that a lot of people who want butter are gagging down margarine.
Butter's not coming down either because the peak-use holiday season fast approaches. Did OPEC reduce gas pump prices after we got the hang of four digits a gallon? Dream ON! And I'm betting an OPEC Butter squeeze is coming with mashed potatoes, pies and fruitcakes dead ahead!!!
When confronted, the dairies whimper that cheese is just SOOO popular now and that all the fat has fled over THERE. And then there's El Nino wetting the cow pastures, and then bagels have been so popular and what's a bagel without cream cheese? Then they mention the horrible HEAT wave and the terrible alfalfa and hay shortage, and with the hot summer, ice cream is having the best summer ever. PEOPLE aren't. Ice cream is. And that's where the fat fled to they shrug, batting their eyes.
Then, the dairy spokesperson takes the reporter aside and whispered darkly that 'government policies' may also be involved." This is what an industry spokesperson actually said, reported in a Seattle newspaper "No more subsidies. Government price supports for nonfat powdered milk - a by-product of butter production - have dropped sharply because schools just don't want milk powder."
Now "dropped SHARPLY" is a very semantically plastic term. "Dropped Sharply" does not mean an abysmal drop. It means things have just gone SOUTH a little more than dairy producers would like. "Nonfat powdered milk is not a top-seller anymore so we can't get the profit out of powdered milk that we used to get, so why make butter if we have to throw away the skimmed milk?"
OK. So these milk producers are basically telling us that they're putting their now limited fat resources into remunerative cheese but not butter as Americans are eating more cheese than ever before and then this bewildering fact: Fat prices have been declining for ten years and as a result, dairy producers focused more on MILK production, responding to market signals. So the upshot is that dairy producers have really not been using bulls with high fat genetics."
Ahhhh, I get it. They fired all the fatty sector bulls. Let them go...Not realizing that the key to a tasty future in the fat craving millenium was in their scrotums. Like the IRS and SSA firing all those COBOL programmers and now they can't find one to fix the check machines for all those entitlements and after December 31st, l999, the poor gov can't send us money anymore. Because of the missing programmers. AHHHHHH. The missing fatty sperm sires of good fatty milk cows are all geriatrics in the mountains near Denver where they can't be found when they're needed. GOT IT.
Seeing the argument is patently ridiculous, the dairy spokesguy slides back to the government's part in the blame. "No, it's the government, really. There actually happen to be seriously declining butter reserves." Butter reserves? We are clearly mystified. "Yes, you see, the government buys less surplus butter these days. The Butter Bumper is gone. "Ahhh." And cafeterias are at fault. They buy less surplus cheese and nonfat powdered milk for use in feeding programs, such as school lunches. And then those cheese giveways to the homeless, that's dead in the water since the Republican right wing trashed welfare. "
Riiii-ght Newt Gingrich and the students'. So let me get this straight. A mysterious, sudden rising demand for FAT in products we've always eaten and these limp missing bulls, then lower-than-expected milk production and these nasty cafeteria staff and 'icky-poo-I-won't-eat-it students' are why butter's sky high? I ask you, where's the logic of this cheesey excuse? Ask your buddies right now. Are we truly eating more cheese than ever before guys? Is anyone here eating more full fat cheddar than they did, say ten years ago? I think the answer's a resounding NO! And what kid at an American school cafeteria hasn't learned to eat what's on the tray and smile?
Then what's this other pidgeon switch in the magician's hand? The industry maven tells us the milk fat that otherwise would go into butter now goes into cheese, raising butter demand and price and all this despite Americans' much-publicized concern about fat and health.
The industry rep mentions how cheese consumption hit an all-time high of 28 pounds per capita in 1997. How could that be when heart attacks have hit an all time low? I smell a fib. Somewhere in the middle of these statistics, the truth is being squeezed into little lie-shaped molds like soft yellow patties of pricey butter!
And then this BIG twinkie defense only it's a bagel defense. Your honor, ALL the fat has fled to the bagel community. I am just waiting for the Diary Council to come right out and hang it on a convenient culprit. Immigrants! Bagels come after all, from a minority ethnic group who perhaps has cagily used yuppies to create artificial butter fat shortages. Bagels are on every streetcorner, in every Starbucks and damnit, they CRY OUT out for cream cheese, The fattiest cheese of them all, a hugemongus milk-fat user. And who started this bagel thing? Blame the ethnics!
"Your honor, Wetbacks from Russia have stolen our butter." Yep, the Whipping Boy every time. Back in the skinny recessionary thirties, Hitler built his New Reich on blaming bagel-eating bankers. Worked then and it works today. Bagels are the new tool of the International bankers, the Chosen Weapon for yiddish revenge on Goys, using ethnic dunkers to destroy the Whie Man while they were laughing up their semitic sleeves. And who did they get to sell Real Amer-i-kuns down the river? OUR CHILDREN. The same witless brats who are keeping the stock market artificially afloat daytrading in mutuals on their PC's. Our Village of the Damned brat pack breakfast club has been UTILIZED to suck the butter out of America's cows so they could be served cream cheese at Starbucks where they probably take a dab and send the rest back to the kitchen to keep those size 3 disco bods. And no doubt, the Mexicans in the kitchen are packing it into crates and selling second hand butterfat on top of tacos in the barrio and laughing up their sleeves at us butterless wonders, whitey, the overlord, spreading sugar free jam on his dry unpalatable recession morning toast. What is hidden in dairy council defense is a racist red herring of gargantuan proportions! The Protocols of Zion all over again.
I don't buy that the MILK FAT shortage is due to ethnics. Let's do our Sherlocking. Cheese prices are up too, from 4$ a pound to twice that in some markets... a product that also uses milk fat. Wait a minnite, I think I just found a CLUE.
Cheese costs an armload, ice cream and butter too, so MILK FAT is what's getting expensive. It's not MILK, it's the FAT. There's not enough to go around. Hmmm, that's suspicious. That's like the oxygen going down in the air, or frogs growing nine legs or the algae disappearing in the water, or the ozone leaking out thru holes in the atmosphere or forty year old men suddenly needing viagra and hair weaves. That's more of what we might call a planetary change, isn't it?
I comb the clues for anything transparant or for anything real for that matter. It's mostly evasive bait-and-switch rhetoric, excuses high on blame, low on logic. And I'm combing thru industry statements to see what other arrangements the atoms of truth can make.
What the dairy producers tell us reduces to a bevy of subtle insults to the American public. They claim to be blameless, while we are pigging out on more cheese and ice cream than ever before exactly at the time that the nasty government won't subsidize skim milk powder or buy surfeits. They claim to be between a rock and a hard place and are throwing this bagel defense at us ... This cheese/ Ice cream /bagel canard. You're eating more fat, thanks to yuppie food trends blah blah blah. Yeah riiii--ght. I don't know about you but phony chapter and verse always makes me wonder what truth is hidden by the red herring.
You wanna know about yuppie eating habits? It's been a YEAR since I've touched ice cream. No one in my family can pay 3$ a pint for dessert. Besides which we're all terrified of fat gobs in our aorta. But butter on our morning toast always seemed so irreplacable and MINIMAL. And we always knew that margarine was made by boiling oil with carcinogenic nickle at 3000 degrees for about a year and it was really lethal.. so AT MY HOUSE we never went on one of those tidy margarine diets.
But back to the evidence we're combing. Why isn't the milk that's left OVER after making ice cream and cream cheese showing its fat in butter as it always managed to do before?
Perhaps Those on High are sending the butterfat somewhere else? Like Brazil, Russia? Well it could happen. You heard the IMF had actually asked the USA to use its 700 billion surplus to London to bail out the bankers on all these countries that stiffed them. America isn't the friggin' Red Cross for bankers. These are planetary Overlords who lend countries a billion and get a hundred million interest back a month, 20% interest per month payback, straight off the backs of the slaveworkers they've been handed on a plate by local oligarchs, all for giving the local Somoza or Marcos billions to stick in their unnumbered accts in Swiss banks. And the bankers had Greenspan toss Clinton a quarter point of lowered interest to repay him. This news came out and the Stock market dipped bigtime anyway because Wall Street it seemed, wanted MORE of an interest cut from the Bankers. Everyone wants their butterfat!
But back to the disappearing yellow grease for toast. Do you think they're sending our butter abroad? I seem to remember a political cry 'guns not butter.' Maybe it had something to do with that?
While we're looking for conspiracies my simple intuition is that the dairy producers are hiding something. Maybe the FAT is SIMPLY NOT IN THE MILK ANYMORE. Maybe it's some kind of thing where there's twice the milk and half the FAT. HMMMMM? Yeah, like this bovine hormone could be doing some really weird things to milk. If a cow has to suddenly produce twice the milk, there's all the liklihood that a LOT of things have to get left out of it. Like FLAVOR, like MINERALS, like the color WHITE... (a lot of stuff they won't admit is not there, but which we certainly noticed were gone!) And the one missing thing they'll cop to, because they have to... BUTTERFAT content. And I look at my notes, and there at the bottom, a diary producer personally told me that "Bovine Hormone DOES cause less fat to appear in the milk."
I think I have just solved the case of the missing butterfat. I've given you the real, full-fat butterfacts. Bovine Hormone is juicing up the at-the-udder production and you can't squeeze fat out of a turnip! The horrible truth is, Millenium cows are excreting SKIM milk at the PUMP. Dairy producers watch out. I don't care which butter sheik is behind the BPEC butter barrel prices, we have nukes and phantom jets and the American peace keepers will come after you. This is, after all, the culmination of the Century of Having it All. Nobody is gonna squeeze Americans at the pump And (fist raised) so help me God, if I have to beg, cheat or steal, I'm never going to be hungry again. And I'm not going to eat petroleum jelly on my morning toast!