BUSH STARTLED OVER HIGH GAS PRICES - Markets Fall After Press Conference, Food Prices Zooming, US Dollar In Basement

(03/01/2008)

CALHOUNERS COULD GROW A 'VICTORY GARDEN' OVER HIGH PRICES

COMMENT By Bob Weaver

The markets did a major plummet yesterday, a day after President George Bush gave an optimistic outlook on the economy during a press conference.

A recession has yet to be declared, although retailers report buyers are staying away, apparently trying to pay-off their credit cards or have enough gas money to drive to work.

The value of the US dollar hit the basement this week, while the price of food and goods are continuing to rise.

The prospect of sharply higher fuel prices, including $4-a-gallon gasoline, apparently didn't make it into the Oval Office.

Bush was surprised Thursday when a reporter mentioned what energy analysts are saying about $4-a-gallon gasoline.

"Wait, what did you just say? You're predicting $4-a-gallon gasoline?" Bush responded to a reporter, "That's interesting. I hadn't heard that ... I know it's high now."

The gas pump squeeze may be nothing compared to the squeeze at the grocery checkout counter.

There has been little warning from government officials or consumer advocates, but food shoppers are beginning to feel the pinch.

USDA statistics show the average retail price of a dozen eggs have gone up 40 to 50 percent.

Milk prices are also sharply higher, up 30 percent a gallon to $3.90.

The cost of a loaf of whole-wheat bread is moving toward $3 a loaf.

In 1942, when the U.S. mobilized to fight World War II, Americans were urged to plant "victory gardens" to make up for the vast quantities of food shifted to the military.

At the time, most people lived in places where they had ready access to a garden plot.

Today, with more of the U.S. population centered in urban areas, it is a different story.

But if food prices do, indeed, follow the path of oil prices, consumers may want to brush up on their gardening skills, and find a small patch of land where they can raise a few vegetables.

That, indeed, is a blessing of living in Sunny Cal, where most people do just that.

Make sure you buy "heritage seeds," the kind which can be reproduced more than once, unlike the genetically-engineered varieties generally available at stores.


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