Home Economic Trends Chicken, Beef, & Bugs – Robert Aro

Chicken, Beef, & Bugs – Robert Aro

You know the economy is in trouble when a CNBC headline reads:

This was a good week for inflation numbers, but whether it can last is the big question

…citing the Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase by 8.5% and the Producer Price Index (PPI) increase of 9.8% from a year ago as a mild victory. However, the celebration came with a reminder that:

Fed officials will be watching closely to see larger trends in how inflation is impacting Main Street.

Yet, understanding how Main Street is impacted is an impossible task. Measuring the average price increase, for the average person, in the average city, has severe limitations. Then there are even more immeasurable elements like human suffering, capital destruction, and opportunity cost that also comes from centrally planning an economy.

Using the Fed’s own data, we can attempt to visualize how bad things are by looking at one of the few things many people still have in common, their love of eating chicken and beef.

According the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, who compiles data used by the Fed, the average cost of chicken breasts is up almost 32% from a year ago:


Average Chicken Breast - FRED Data

The average price of ground beef hasn’t increased as much, only 12% from a year ago, per below:


Average Ground Beef - FRED Data

Of course these titles sound unintentionally humorous and highly arbitrary. In the case of ground beef, the Fed says this applies to: “Fresh regular 100% ground beef excluding round, chuck, and sirloin. Includes organic and non-organic. Excludes pre-formed patties.” Should one be so inclined to actually read the calculation method and average price data, it will quickly be obvious how inexact a science inflation calculations really are.

They categorize meats, poultry, fish and eggs together to arrive at a change in the CPI by only 11% from a year ago:


CPI Meat Poultry Fish - FRED Data

For those who abstain from eating meat entirely the average price of beans is up 17% from a year ago:


Average Beans - FRED Data

While not everyone is looking to buy a used car, pay tuition, owns a pet, or takes public transportation, everyone must eat food; and, by all measures, grocery bills, like the price of gas, remain elevated. The future shows little promise of sustained and long-term price decreases occurring anytime soon… or ever, since the Fed is pro-inflation.

Perhaps another sign of the times was from an article the World Economic Forum published earlier this year entitled:

5 reasons why eating insects could reduce climate change

Whether one eats chicken, beef, or chooses to eat bugs, we must remain cognizant of the fact that it never had to be this way. We should get angry when the mainstream media chooses to portray a CPI of 8.5% as good news, or worse, claim that:

Wednesday’s inflation numbers could take some heat off the Fed.

Remember no amount of positive CPI or PPI is necessary to support a functioning society. All these calculations attempt to do is capture how much the cost of living has changed from the month, or year prior, with the hope that it always goes up by a certain amount. For the planner, they’re okay with making life more expensive for you with each passing year, because they need to increase the money supply in order to pay for things not generally valued by the public, like wars, corporate bailouts and tax collector salaries. In their perfect world, they’d hope this to be gradual, so the public would never become aware of the perpetual loss of purchasing power.

The thing about a central plan is that it never goes as planned. If there is a silver lining, it’s the hope that this lesson in inflation will become a generational learning curve, much like price inflation, permanently entrenched.