So Much Winning: Turkeys

If you liked the price you paid for your Thanksgiving turkey, the lowest in a decade, you’ll probably be happy with what you’ll likely pay for a Christmas/Solstice bird. Turkey prices are averaging $1.46 per pound, the cheapest since 2008. You can thank the current occupant of the White House.

Food prices, generally over the past couple years, have increased much more slowly than the general rate of inflation. Turkey prices in particular, have decreased. This is largely due to the lower price of feeding them. Remember those tariffs? (“Trade wars are good, and easy to win.”) In retaliation, the Chinese have stopped buying soybeans from the U.S., eliminating a major market. As a result, farmers are letting crops rot in their fields rather than pay to store surplus output. So turkeys are cheap…

… unless you want to eat turkey with some flavor, unlike ones that were raised in crowded enclosures, fed antibiotic-laced, genetically-modified soybeans, are so heavy-breasted they can’t support their own weight or mate naturally. If you enjoy so-called “heritage” birds, then you almost certainly are paying a record high price this year. The demand for free-range, naturally-raised heritage breeds is increasing so fast, if you didn’t order one ahead of the holidays, you may be out of luck.

Personal aside: In my two decades living in Sonoma County, I was fortunate to have Willie Bird free-range turkeys close by.


Just When We Thought It Couldn’t Get Worse

Despite the New York mayor’s assurance that workers on the World Trade Center 9/11 cleanup were in no danger, they have been contracting cancer and dying at startlingly high rates. The collapse of the towers released a thousand tons of asbestos into the air. U.S. manufacturers of asbestos products had already mostly gone out of business, bankrupted by claims of wrongful deaths. During their slide into insolvency, the companies set up trust funds for future mesothelioma claims. The fund currently totals $30 billion and legions of attorneys are eager to take up asbestosis suits. (Our company’s office was in the same building with a consulting economist. Most of his business derived from testifying as expert witness in asbestos lawsuits, calculating the economic loss of a victim’s early demise. He did well enough to own the building where we leased space.)

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