Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Crazy capitalism - Farmers dump milk

“The U.S. is on track this year to post the longest stretch of falling food prices in more than 50 years, a streak that is cheering shoppers at the checkout line but putting a financial strain on farmers and grocery stores,” the Wall Street Journal reported last month. “The trend is being fueled by an excess supply of dairy products, meat, grains and other staples…”

In fact, the Journal wrote, “The glut is so severe in some places that dairy farmers have been dumping millions of pounds of excess milk onto fields.”

 The federal government recently bought $20 million worth of cheese to help out dairy farmers. 

The USDA forecast record corn and soybean harvests this fall, a bounty that likely would push down prices even further.

Population growth in the developed world is barely at replacement levels. “By 2025, it is likely that deaths will exceed births in the developed countries, the first time this will have happened in history,” according to the Population Reference Bureau.

“The number of retired workers is projected to double in about 50 years. People are also living longer, and the birth rate is low,” the Social Security Administration writes in Social Security’s Demographic Challenge. “As a result, the Trustees project that the ratio of 2.8 workers paying Social Security taxes to each person collecting benefits in 2015 will fall to 2.1 to 1 in 2037.”

The Economist magazine commissioned a survey in 19 countries and found attitudes in the developing world are increasingly aligning with the developed world. In Peru, Mexico, Indonesia, China and India, parents desire about the same number of children, a bit more than two, as parents in the U.S. Only in more agrarian Africa do parents want more kids than basic replacement levels.

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