Have you noticed that your grocery bill has gotten more and more expensive over the last couple of months? Turns out you’re not alone.
I think that while in the short term this is going to hurt a lot of people financially (last time I checked, we do have to eat, so we’re probably going to continue to spend money on food despite the higher prices) in the long term higher food prices may be exactly what the United States needs.
The reason being, when prices increase above what you’re normally used to paying (especially if the jump is both unexpected and dramatic) on some level there is a correlating reduction in demand/consumption of that product. For example, let’s say gas prices jump to $4 – invariably more people will think twice about hopping in their car and going for a drive and will simply drive only if they have to.
Now, let’s translate this idea to food.
What’s the country’s most pressing health related issue? If you said obesity, you’d be correct. Obesity obviously has been linked to increased risk for a myriad of chronic health problems, from heart disease to cancer to erectile dysfunction.
What’s one of the largest growing costs for the average American family? Aside from energy, health care has the highest year over year out of pocket expense increase. Much of the reason health care has become so expensive is because the health care system has had to treat more and more of these very expensive chronic diseases.
On top of all of that, there is the brewing Medicare/Medicaid problem for the U.S. government. With health care costs expected to continue to skyrocket, the United States government won’t be able to continue the current health care plans without selling its fiscal soul to China (if it already hasn’t).
So, back to the price of food – if it continues to jump, people are going to have to be more selective about what they eat and, more than likely, do a better job of eating less and rationing their food. Last time I checked, it’s pretty tough to become morbidly obese when your caloric intake is slashed by 10 to 20 percent.
So, with people having to actually adjust to eating less and not being so gluttonous, there should be a decline in the obesity rates throughout the country. In turn, over time this should lead to a corresponding decline in chronic diseases which more than likely will lead to a decline in health care costs for everyone.
Granted, this is a very rough theory, but in the end, I think it’s easy to see how an increase in the cost of food would likely bring about a less fat society, which in turn would hopefully bring lower health care costs for everyone.