End of American Dream Blog: Food Distribution System Breaks Down

Michael Snyder has written an article at The End of the American Dream on how the food distribution system works in normal times and why it is breaking down now – Supplies Are Starting To Get Really Tight Nationwide As Food Distribution Systems Break Down. His message is that times have changed. Don’t blame hoarders for bare grocery shelves; the problem is much bigger.

All across America, store shelves are emptying and people are becoming increasingly frustrated because they can’t get their hands on needed supplies.  Most Americans are blaming “hoarders” for the current mess, but it is actually much more complicated than that.  Normally, Americans get a lot of their food from restaurants.  In fact, during normal times 36 percent of all Americans eat at a fast food restaurant on any given day.  But now that approximately 75 percent of the U.S. is under some sort of a “shelter-in-place” order and most of our restaurants have shut down, things have completely changed.  Suddenly our grocery stores are being flooded with unexpected traffic, and many people are buying far more than usual in anticipation of a long pandemic.  Unfortunately, our food distribution systems were not designed to handle this sort of a surge, and things are really starting to get crazy out there.

 I would like to share with you an excerpt from an email that I was sent recently.  It describes the chaos that grocery stores in Utah and Idaho have been experiencing…

When this virus became a problem that we as a nation could see as an imminent threat, Utah, because of its culture of food storage and preparing for disaster events seemed to “get the memo” first. The week of March 8th grocery sales more than doubled in Utah, up 218%. Many states stayed the same with increases in some. Idaho seemed to “get the memo” about four days later. We were out of water and TP four days after Utah. Then we were out of food staples about four days later. Next was produce following a pattern set by Utah four days earlier.

The problem for us in Idaho was this. The stores in Utah were emptied out then refilled twice by the warehouses before it hit Idaho. Many of these Utah stores have trucks delivering daily. So when it did hit Idaho the warehouses had been severely taxed. We had a hard time filling our store back up even one time. We missed three scheduled trucks that week alone. Then orders finally came they were first 50% of the order and have dropped to 20%. In normal circumstances we receive 98% of our orders and no canceled trucks. Now three weeks later, the warehouses in the Western United States have all been taxed. In turn, those warehouses have been taxing the food manufacturers. These food companies have emptied their facilities to fill the warehouses of the Western United States. The East Coast hasn’t seemed to “get the memo” yet. When they do what food will be left to fill their warehouses and grocery stores?

Food distribution and resources for the Eastern United States will be at great peril even if no hoarding there takes place. But of course it will.

Additionally the food culture of the East Coast and other urban areas is such that people keep very little food on hand. They often shop several times weekly for items if they cook at home. They don’t have big freezers full of meat, home canned vegetables in their storage rooms, gardens, or beans, wheat, and rice in buckets in the their basements.

With most of the country locked down, normal economic activity has come to a standstill, and it is going to become increasingly difficult for our warehouses to meet the demand that grocery stores are putting on them.

Meanwhile, our farmers are facing severe problems of their own.  The following comes from CNBC

The U.S.-China trade war sent scores of farmers out of business. Record flooding inundated farmland and destroyed harvests. And a blistering heat wave stunted crop growth in the Midwest.

Now, the coronavirus pandemic has dealt another blow to a vulnerable farm economy, sending crop and livestock prices tumbling and raising concerns about sudden labor shortages.

The chaos in the financial markets is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, and it is going to remain difficult for farm laborers to move around as long as “shelter-in-place” orders remain in effect on the state level.

Iowa farmer Robb Ewoldt told reporter Emma Newburger that “we’ve stopped saying it can’t get worse”, and he says that this coronavirus pandemic looks like it could be “the straw that broke the camel’s back”

“We were already under extreme financial pressure. With the virus sending the prices down — it’s getting to be the straw that broke the camel’s back,” said Iowa farmer Robb Ewoldt.

“We were hoping for something good this year, but this virus has stopped all our markets,” he said.

Of course this comes at a time when millions of Americans are losing their jobs and unemployment is shooting up to unthinkable levels.  Without any money coming in, many people are already turning to alternative sources of help in order to feed themselves and their families.

On Monday, hundreds of cars were lined up to get food from a food bank in Duquesne, Pennsylvania.  To many, this was eerily reminiscent of the “bread lines” during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

And it is also being reported that the number of people coming for free meals on Skid Row in Los Angeles has tripled since that city was locked down.

Sadly, these examples are likely only the tip of the iceberg of what we will see in the months ahead.

And it won’t just be the U.S. that is hurting.  The following comes from a Guardian article entitled “Coronavirus measures could cause global food shortage, UN warns”

Kazakhstan, for instance, according to a report from Bloomberg, has banned exports of wheat flour, of which it is one of the world’s biggest sources, as well as restrictions on buckwheat and vegetables including onions, carrots and potatoes. Vietnam, the world’s third biggest rice exporter, has temporarily suspended rice export contracts. Russia, the world’s biggest wheat exporter, may also threaten to restrict exports, as it has done before, and the position of the US is in doubt given Donald Trump’s eagerness for a trade war in other commodities.

If this pandemic stretches on for an extended period of time, food supplies are inevitably going to get even tighter.

So what can you do?

Well, perhaps you can start a garden this year if you don’t normally grow one.  Apparently this pandemic has sparked a tremendous amount of interest in gardening programs around the country…

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, more people are showing an interest in starting home gardens. Oregon State University‘s (OSU) Master Gardener program took notice of the growing interest.

To help citizens who want to grow their own food, the university kindly made their online vegetable gardening course free until the end of April. OSU’s post on Facebook has been shared over 21,000 times.

Food is only going to get more expensive from here on out, and growing your own food is a way to become more independent of the system.

But if you don’t have any seeds right now, you may want to hurry, because consumer demand is spiking

“It’s the largest volume of orders we have seen,” said Jere Gettle of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in Mansfield, Missouri. Peak seed-buying season for home gardeners is January to March, but the normal end-of-season decline in orders isn’t happening.

Customers are gravitating to vegetables high in nutrients, such as kale, spinach and other quick-to-grow leafy greens. “Spinach is off the charts,” said Jo-Anne van den Berg-Ohms of Kitchen Garden Seeds in Bantam, Connecticut.

For years, I have been warning people to get prepared for “the perfect storm” that was coming, but of course most people didn’t listen.

But now it is upon us.

Desperate people have been running out to the grocery stores to stock up on toilet paper only to find that they are limited to one or two packages if it is even available.

And now that “panic buying” of seeds has begun, it is probably only a matter of time before many stores start running out.

We have reached a major turning point in our history, and things are only going to get crazier.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of Americans still have absolutely no idea what is ahead of us…

Related:

The Organic Prepper: It’s Only a Matter of Time Until COVID-19 Lockdowns Lead to Civil Unrest and Violent Crime

…A lot of people are blaming “hoarders” and preppers for the shortages seen in stores. Of course, it’s nonsense to blame preppers because we’ve been buying our things over a course of years. And honestly, if it was only “panic buyers” causing problems, wouldn’t the stores be replenished by now? After all, people have hardly been able to shop for two weeks in many states due to social distancing measures.

In reality, there are major issues with the supply chain, a problem many folks aren’t seeing because they’re not at the store. Distribution systems are breaking down.

A source at a Walmart Superstore recently confided that the trucks were only delivering a fraction of the items needed to restock shelves. Imports aren’t arriving in California ports, at least not anywhere close to the degree they were before.

And because more people are eating at home than ever before, the demand on grocery stores has increased dramatically. This also comes at a time after farmers have been driven out of business by the trade war. (source) We have actual shortages here, and it isn’t just due to “panic buying.” That only exposed the dangers of the Just In Time delivery philosophy used by retailers.

Some folks are reporting that the shelves in their areas are full, but many others are reporting the exact opposite

Organic Prepper: How to Talk to Creditors When You Can’t Pay

Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper has an article on How to Talk to Creditors When You Can’t Pay Your Bills. With some businesses closing permanently and others temporarily closed over the coronavirus pandemic, many people are put in an economic bind with no income coming in. While Washington state has announced some coming benefits for workers who are quarantined or laid off because of the coronavirus, we don’t know how long it will take to file, eligibility, or how it affects hourly workers who are not laid off or quarantined, but are not working because they business is closed or slow.

As our economy gets rocked by the coronavirus outbreak, lots of folks are already beginning to have financial problems. For others, they see money trouble on the horizon.

These issues are occurring for several reasons. Some businesses are cutting back staff or hours preemptively so they can survive financially. Other businesses are laying people off because of supply chain shortages – if you can’t get parts to repair furnaces, you can’t pay people to repair furnaces. The travel and shipping industries are already feeling the pain from the global outbreak.

So if you aren’t having money problems now, it’s very possible you will be soon.

What to do when your income slows down

This is something I’ve written about in detail in more than one article. Here’s a detailed article about job loss but the strategies would also work if your hours are cut. The basics are:

  1. Know your rights. You may have some recourse if your hours are cut or if you are laid off. If you have any type of employment contract, now is the time to go over it with a fine-tooth comb. Don’t sign anything until you’ve taken the time to calm down and think things through.
  2. Begin a total spending freeze. Give it a couple of days before you spend a dime. You’ll need to re-assess your budget.
  3. Apply for unemployment. Whether you lost your job completely or your hours were cut, you may qualify for unemployment or other benefits. You’ve been paying taxes for just this reason, so don’t be too proud to accept the help.
  4. Create a budget for necessities. Sit down and create a budget for the absolute bare minimum expenditures.
  5. Slash luxury spending. Now isn’t the time to go on a vacation, join a gym, or eat out at restaurants.
  6. Look for new streams of income. If you can, look for odd jobs, start a small business that doesn’t require an investment, or use your expertise to begin consulting in your field.
  7. Sell stuff. All that stuff you’ve been meaning to go through in the basement just might be the key to keeping a roof over your head.  Sell things online or in person, keeping in mind your personal safety.
  8. Audit your budget. Take the time to see where you can slash your spending. Can you cut your fixed or variable expenses?

Take action right away to stop the bleeding of money. A few dollars may not seem like much right now but it could be a much bigger deal in the future. You may need to make drastic cuts.

Make a list of your creditors.

Once you have created your new emergency budget, it’s time to take a look at those to whom you owe money. Some of these will be necessary expenditures. Keeping a roof over your head, the utilities on, a car in the driveway, and remaining insured. are likely the most important expenses.

Other expenditures are things like unsecured debt: credit cards, student loans, and personal loans. You may have some secured debt on things with which you’re willing to part – second cars, recreational vehicles, etc.

Write down all these expenses, your account numbers, your minimum monthly payments, and contact information for the creditor.

Before anybody jumps in and says, “You shouldn’t have any credit card debt” or “I bought my car in cash,” remember that I’m writing about a change in circumstances here. Sure it’s better to be debt-free, but when you have found yourself in a crunch, it’s all about surviving the rough time, not about beating yourself up for previous decisions.

Contact them one by one.

Next comes the part that may be difficult for some – you need to contact your creditors and see if they can help.

Keep in mind that many people are running into difficulty right now and these companies know it. Some places may have already authorized negotiations with debtors in expectation of the difficulty in which you currently find yourself.

Contact them in order from most essential to least. Below you’ll find some tips to help you guide the conversation.

How to talk to creditors… (continues)

Click here to continue reading at The Organic Prepper.

AIER: The Stakes of Politics are Far Too High

This piece by economics professor Alexander Salter at the American Institute for Economic Research dwells on the idea that growth in federal government and expansion of federal power are at odds with maintaining liberty, thus The Stakes of Politics are Far Too High.

Despite the comedy of errors that was the Iowa Democratic Caucus, not to mention the ambiguity of New Hampshire, the national fervor grows. Bernie Sanders’ strong performance makes him the Democratic frontrunner: his odds of winning the nomination stand at 33%, with Michael Bloomberg at a surprising 27%.

Sanders’ campaign is notable because he is explicit about his radical vision for the U.S. economy. An advocate of the Green New Deal, Sanders has promised to reengineer the American economy from the top-down, at a cost of more than $10 trillion over the next decade.

On the Republican side, President Trump never leaves campaign mode. His proposed budget, released on Monday, will not balance for at least 15 years, suggesting he is more than happy to bestow gifts on the electorate without paying for them. Overall, the national debt has grown by $3 trillion since Trump took office. Now it seems trillion-dollar deficits are the new normal.  This suggests Republicans have made their peace with a government empowered to direct more and more of our lives.

In short, Democrats are close to going “all-in” on democratic socialism, or at least a hardcore form of social democracy that entails a large degree of federal dirigisme. And Republican policy (which differs greatly from Republican rhetoric) is heading towards the same.  Using new programs and new spending to secure electoral support is nothing new. But given the dire fiscal situation of the United States, as well as the ominous growth federal power, we have a very good reason to worry that the political clash that will culminate in November will end poorly for everyone, regardless of who wins the White House.

Plenty of op-eds have been written on the economics of deficits and the growth of the national debt. We know our fiscal trajectory is unsustainable. Less well known are the political consequences.  Those consequences can only be understood by first refamiliarizing ourselves with the purpose of our Constitutional system.

Why do we have a Constitution that fragments political power and divides it among many organizations? The typical answer is to prevent tyranny, which is true. But it is incomplete. Our Constitution has so many procedural safeguards in place because the Founders understood the first need of a durable government at the federal level was to lower the stakes of politics. Because it is difficult to enact sweeping changes at the national level, control over the national government is not perceived by any political faction to be an existential threat.

That is how it is supposed to work. In fact, we have deviated significantly from the politics of prudence and restraint envisioned by the Founders. Congress increasingly authorizes greater and greater spending, upon which the well-being of millions has come to depend.

The Executive increasingly governs by fiat, selectively enforcing laws and allocating significant fiscal resources of its own. In this world, the game of politics has necessarily become high-stakes: the benefits of controlling the government are enormous, and as a result, efforts to secure this control have become a matter of life or death. Bloated budgets and perpetual deficits are a sure sign we are moving towards winner-takes-all politics.

The political philosopher Thomas Hobbes, in justifying the state, wrote that rational individuals willingly cede political power to a central arbiter and enforcer so that they may escape the “war of all against all.” Unfortunately, our fiscal scenario has reignited this war.

The first axiom of sound governance is to lessen the dangers caused by differences in principles and worldviews among citizens. But when the state becomes an all-encompassing institution—when everything and anything is political—disagreements become existential threats.

“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.” This quote by a fictional Machiavellian monarch aptly describes our situation. Unless we commit to lowering the stakes of politics, once again embracing moderation and humility, we doom ourselves to a never-ending cycle of reciprocal political domination. This is the death of liberty under law, and of democratic self-governance itself.

Mises Institute: Why Marxism Shifted from Economics to Culture

Brian Balfour has written a short article on Mises Wire about cultural Marxism.

In his recent Reason magazine article, senior editor Brian Doherty assures readers that “cultural Marxism” is nothing but mere “paranoia” conjured up by the “conspiratorial right” to provide cover for their hate of “multiculturalism and gay rights and radical feminism.”

He openly mocks the idea that the unmistakable uptick in identity politics these last few decades has anything to do with “sinister machinations of commies striving to enslave us.”

One must be “mistaken” and “foolish,” according to Doherty, to believe that such concerted efforts to build coalitions based on racial, national and gender identities to replace the economic “class” identities of classical Marxism is anything more than “dubious conspiratorial theories.”

Doherty’s stance is especially puzzling, however, given the fact that socialist leaders have openly written about this strategy for decades…

…to put it in more familiar terms, the new socialist revolution must shift the “‘exploitation’ schtick to culture: ― women exploited by men; ― gays exploited by heterosexuals ― The old exploited by the young ― and vice-versa.”

Ron Paul had it right.

Doherty is either ignorant or naïve to spurn those who recognize today’s identity politics as a tool in the modern socialist movement. Prominent socialist theorists like Laclau and Mouffe have openly divulged this exact strategy for decades. It’s not foolish conspiracy mongering or mere “clever rhetorical deck-stacking” to accurately identify the identity politics of ‘cultural Marxism’ as the preferred strategy of modern day socialists.

2018 Liberty Academy Annual Symposium, Boise, June 20-23

2018 Liberty Symposium

 June 20th-23rd — Boise, Idaho

The overall objective of the Northwest Liberty Academy is to teach students 12-112 the moral and ethical principles of FREE ENTERPRISE and a FREE SOCIETY through interactive games, exercises, panel discussions and more…

 

 

 

 

 

“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people.” — John Adams

REGISTER NOW

FREE ENTERPRISE. Participants will be introduced to basic economic principles through INTERACTIVE GAMES, where participants are not just in their seats, but on their feet in activities that teach them about free trade, entrepreneurism and the consequences of political intervention.

NWLA is pleased to have FEE, Foundation for Economic Education, America’s oldest Free Market think tank as part of our annual Symposium and Regional Economic Workshops.

Business leaders, entrepreneurs and public officials will join in two panel discussions: “The Unintended Consequences of Well-intended Legislation”. Learn how governmental rules and regulations can affect our economy, our lives and our liberty.

“Propaganda & Political Correctness”: Learn how politicians, advertisements, and the media often use communication to influence public opinion. Discuss whether Political Correctness can lead to misrepresenting the intentions or meaning of a harmless statement.

CIVIC DUTY. Students are introduced to the moral imperative of standing on principles over politics, irrespective of party affiliation. The second part of the symposium includes a personal tour of all three branches where students will meet with elected officials and learn about:

  • The proper role of government in our Republic.
  • The significance of the Oath of Office to uphold our Constitution.
  • Understanding our inalienable rights to life and liberty including private property rights.
  • The duty of the citizens to remain eternally vigilant as to the activities of those who govern.

Please enjoy this video which was produced by NWLA Youth Ambassador, Ellie Carignan.

Symposium Speakers & Presenters

Mark Herr
Center for Self-governance

Jason Riddle
Program Director, Foundation for Economic Education, FEE

KrisAnne Hall
Constitutional Attorney – krisannehall.com

Dan Roberts
owner/manager, Lost River Log and Supply LLC.

Alex Baron
Founder, Charles Carroll Society blog

Connor Boyack
President, Libertas Institute; Author

Jeff Proctor
Program Manager and Senior Instructor, Charles Koch Institute

Russ Fulcher
Businessman; Former ID State Senator

John Green
Constitutional Attorney; Sound Money Advocate

Alan Hodge
Co-Founder, NWLA; Pres., White Pine Foundation, Inc.

Rep. Ron Nate
Prof. of Economics, BYU; Idaho State Rep.

Rep. Matt Shea
Attorney at Law; Washington State Rep.

Isaac Tellez
Sr. Pastor HC; Former Missionary

Jake Thompson
Founder of HEROES Academy

JoAn Wood
Former Idaho State Rep.; Business Owner

Rep. Heather Scott
Idaho State House of Reps

Lawerence Denney
Idaho Secretary of State

Ron Crane
Idaho State Treasurer

Justice Dan Eismann, Ret.
Idaho Supreme Court

Sen. Cliff Bayer
Idaho State Senate

Rep. Christy Zito
Idaho State House of Reps

Sen. Chuck Winder
Idaho State Senate

REGISTER NOW!

Continue reading “2018 Liberty Academy Annual Symposium, Boise, June 20-23”