The Egg-onomic Truth About Joe Biden's Egg-Flation!
Monday, during his lie-laced debt ceiling speech, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy started talking about eggs. No, he wasn't recreating the end of Annie Hall. He thought he was making a serious point about inflation.
He said, "And eggs, a staple of America's breakfast, have gone from a cheap source of protein to a luxury good."
\u201cSpeaker McCarthy on debt and inflation: "And eggs, a staple of America's breakfast, have gone from a cheap source of protein to a luxury good."\u201d— Sahil Kapur (@Sahil Kapur) 1675723063
Thanks, Joe Biden! Now that eggs are so damn expensive, I have no choice but to keep humoring my mentally ill brother who thinks he's a chicken.
This morning on "Fox & Friends," McCarthy's brain was still on eggs.
\u201c"The people, just when they're making breakfast, they question whether they can afford the eggs this time" -- McCarthy certainly has a way with words\u201d— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar) 1675864376
"The people, just when they're making breakfast, they question whether they can afford to do the eggs this time." Do the eggs this time? He doesn't speak so good.
Republicans have abandoned any pretense that they are sensible leaders. Instead, they see a balloon in the sky and immediately try to shoot it with their Red Ryder BB gun. If the price increases for a common food item, they immediately freak out and blame Joe Biden.
So, what's happened to the price of eggs? Well, it's more complicated than what happened to McCarthy's spine and integrity.
According to the consumer price index, egg prices almost doubled in the past year, more than any other grocery category. In some parts of the country, a dozen eggs cost more than a gallon of gas, and gas isn't an acceptable egg substitute in most dishes, even if you're vegan.
This wasn't because drag queens ate them all before their brunch performances. Nor did "woke" teachers use an excessive number of raw eggs to pummel white kids during Black history class. No, in reality, an outbreak of avian flu wiped out more than 50 million egg-laying hens in the US. Chicken prices, however, still declined. That's why a restaurant might've charged more for a Cobb salad than chicken Caesar. Egg-laying hens are different from the chickens raised for meat consumption. If that's confusing, here's a brief instructional video.
Bill Lapp, president of Advanced Economic Solutions, a consulting firm specializing in food economics, told CNBC: "A lot of things are up since 2020. But the recent spike is extraordinary in the shell-egg as well as egg-product markets.” Lapp should've said "eggs-traordinary." That's the whole reason you take this job and devote your life to the study of egg-onomics.
According to the CDC, avian flu kills 90 to 100 percent of chickens, often within 48 hours. Sadly, the chickens would've gladly taken a vaccine if available. The flu is highly contagious so farmers have to kill not just obviously sick chickens but any remaining ones to prevent further spread. It's a bloodbath.
However, the avian flu is relatively rare in the US. The last outbreak was in 2015 and prior to that, the bird flu hadn't emerged in more than a decade. The important point here, though, is that despite the unfortunate timing, increased egg prices have no direct connection to any Biden domestic policy.
You might've noticed that fancy-schmancy organic and cage-free eggs had suddenly become cheaper than the eggs from doped-up, caged hens. According to an NPR report, farms that produce specialty eggs are usually smaller than their mainstream counterparts so were spared the worst effects from the bird flu outbreak. Of course, poor people, especially those who already live in food deserts, probably didn't have reliable access to specialty eggs. Errol Schweizer at Salon has a breakdown on egg pricing that you can read when alone and bored.
The Washington Post reported in January that egg prices weren't dropping in line with inflation. Republicans would obviously ignore that fact because they can't admit inflation is easing. They have to root for the worst whenever a Democrat is president because they can't make the case for their own lousy policies.
\u201cEggflation wasn't a media invention. It was a real thing. But when egg prices double, that sends a really strong message to suppliers (to ... supply) and to omelette lovers (to eat oatmeal instead), and sometimes markets adjust really quickly.\u201d— Derek Thompson (@Derek Thompson) 1675793878
However, egg prices are expected to decrease very soon. There is usually a normal decrease in demand after the holidays when people say enough already with cookies and pies. Everyone's all "whole30" for a while. Retail prices often lag the wholesale market, but eggs should fully drop by the end of the month.
So, it looks as if Republicans who rushed to blame Biden for so-called "egg-flation" will soon have egg on their face.
I'll see myself out.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."