Government figures keep assuring us that our economy is slowly but surely improving. They say that things really are better. Unemployment is down and more and more jobs have appeared. Yes, according to the reports coming from Washington, things are just hunky dory!
Every time I see those reports, I scratch my head. How can that be? Tales that don’t come directly from government offices conflict seriously with these tales of the wonderful state of our economy.
This morning on television, I saw a western rancher talking about his situation. Because of the drought, he and his fellow ranchers have had to sell off most of their cattle. They couldn’t grow food for them and had no other choice.
“The cost of red meat is going to skyrocket and stay high for at least 3 or 4 years,” he said, shaking his head. “It won’t be back down anytime soon. Even if the weather clears up right now, it’ll take several years to rebuild the herds.”
As I listened, I remembered my last trip to the grocery store. I bought 3 pounds of ground beef, and at the check out counter, I realized that I was paying $2.00 more than I did the last time I bought a 3 pound package. Recently, we had a family gathering at my house and I cooked two beef roasts. I paid about $35.00 for the two roasts. A friend in Vidalia said he had a hankering for steak last week and went to the store to buy some.
“My hankering disappeared when I saw the price,” he said. “It was $10.00 a pound for sirloin steak. I never thought I’d see the day in my lifetime when steak cost that much.”
Other meats cost more, too. Has anybody bought bacon lately? How about pork chops? Even chicken has gone up about an average of $.43 per pound.
These prices affect our entire economy. We paid $3.75 for gas last week, and when the price drops, it never goes all the way back to where it was before the latest hike. The reduction just soothes our frustration for a few days and then up goes the price again. And all our prices are interwoven with other aspects of our society.
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