National Politics - 2016

Milk Prices And Politics …

CANDIDATES BETTER KNOW THEIR DAIRY …  The price of a gallon of whole milk dropped from $3.73 in May to $3.63 in June, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals.   That’s the first decline since last September, when the per gallon price dropped from $3.44 to…


The price of a gallon of whole milk dropped from $3.73 in May to $3.63 in June, data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reveals.   That’s the first decline since last September, when the per gallon price dropped from $3.44 to $3.42.

Of course if our experience at a local Kroger grocery story in Columbia, S.C. is any indication – the needle could be moving back in the wrong direction.  We paid $4.09 plus tax for a gallon of store brand milk this morning (August 2, 2014) – although the pre-tax cost for shoppers using their Kroger cards was $3.89.

Either way … that’s well above the June national average.

FITS keeps an eye on rising prices and their broader impact on the consumer economy … coupling national data with our own anecdotal experiences as well as the experiences of you, our readers.

But the “price of a gallon of milk” is also very important in the context of politics – especially presidential politics.

During a 1992 debate with Democrat Bill Clinton and Reform Party nominee Ross Perot, “Republican” president George H.W. Bush was forced to admit he didn’t know the cost of a gallon of milk.  The media correctly pounced on the incumbent’s failure to answer the question as evidence he was out of touch with the people.

In 2007, “Republican” presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani told a reporter in Alabama that the cost of a gallon of milk was $1.50 – less than half its actual cost at the time.

In fact for those of you keeping score at home, here’s a look at milk prices over the last decade …

milk prices

Commit those numbers to memory, candidates.

Case in point?  Scandal-scarred “Republican” Chris Christie – who somehow remains in contention for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination.  During a recent Christie campaign swing to early-voting New Hampshire, Heather Haddon of The Wall Street Journal  got this quote from a local political scientist …

You have to get out of the limousine and you have to go [to] people’s dining room tables and be able to take tough questions and know the price of a gallon of milk.

Same goes here in South Carolina …

Of course if there’s any candidate who ought to know the cost of food items, it’s Christie.

UPDATE: If you’re running for office in Great Britain, it appears you’d better know the price of a pint of milk.

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GrandTango August 2, 2014 at 11:33 am

Sounds like a gaggle of cackling old hens down at the beauty parlor.

A political site should understand the Big Picture, and explain it to us. You are as much a part as the problem, as the Dumbb@$$ democrats who gave us the architect of this disastrous, government-controlled economy. If you did not see it beforehand, and bashed those of us who did…you need to STFU now.

Tango's Farm Raised Cow Patty August 2, 2014 at 12:02 pm

Sometimes it’s best not to eat too many of them shrooms off my head.

tomstickler August 2, 2014 at 11:47 am

I want a President who knows the price of tea in China.

Sandi Morals August 2, 2014 at 11:52 am

Hey, this pResident knows the price of a ‘sajada’. What more do you want?

MashPotato August 2, 2014 at 11:05 pm

Jon Huntsman 2016?

Manray August 2, 2014 at 11:56 am

Here’s a question: How much of that $3.89 at Kroger is due to government meddling in the “free market?” The OECD claims it’s 26% Why? Because the price of milk is subject to: 1. Federal Milk Marketing Orders. 2. The Price Support Program. 3. The Income Support Program. 4. Import restrictions. 5. Export subsidies.

The federal government seeks to keep food prices low through a variety of means, but it pushes dairy prices up through the programs mentioned above. Perhaps by as much as $.26 on every dollar. An interesting note — many of the huge diary farms and milk conglomerates are in Red States, where the “farmers” troops dutifully to the polls to vote for Republicans who claim to oppose government spending, support fiscal responsibility, and cherish the free market. I think the word is “hypocrisy.”

The same applies to sugar. The U.S. price is 60-70% above the world market — mostly through subsidies and import controls which benefit a small group of sugar magnates in Florida.

Bingo! August 2, 2014 at 12:00 pm

I really like your comment!

Interestingly, the CPI, which is supposed to be a “unbiased” measure of price increases, includes milk…which as you note is subject to all sorts of government induced price distortion….yet another reason to cast a suspect eye on government measure of prices…which obviously is heavily influenced by politics instead of actually measuring what government claims it’s trying to measure.

major major August 2, 2014 at 12:26 pm

An interesting note — many of the huge diary farms and milk conglomerates are in Red States…

According to Wikipedia, the top dairy-producing states are California, Wisconsin, Idaho, New York, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Idaho is the only “red” state in that bunch.

That said, I do agree with your concern about government meddling in food pricing.

Manray August 2, 2014 at 12:28 pm

Take a look at SC and GA too.

TontoBubbaGoldstein August 2, 2014 at 12:21 pm

ITBGRC, 10 – 20 years ago the government paid many dairy farmers exorbitant sums of money to leave the business.

Correct August 2, 2014 at 12:51 pm

Yep, there’s a gentleman in Newberry I’m familiar with that took the Feds up on that very program (his father, actually, but he was working with him) and now has generational wealth and the cows were sold to S. America…with taxpayer subsidy….so the government made him with taxpayer money so that we can all pay higher prices too.

TontoBubbaGoldstein August 2, 2014 at 1:56 pm

TBG knows some folks like him, also.

aikencounty August 2, 2014 at 1:38 pm

Why did you pay tax on milk?

GrandTango August 2, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Nancy Pelosi goes berserk (video) Leon Lott has a tough couple weeks and Kids Count data looks more like political propaganda.
We got it all on our site…..and yall are talking about milk prices. Inflation has raged since late 2008..and you are fixated on this? C’mon. No wonder you’re in the dark so much.

Deo Vindice SC August 2, 2014 at 7:42 pm

I want you to have my milk in your faggot mouth, pervert

Bible Thumper August 2, 2014 at 3:41 pm

T-Rav is more familiar with buying it in the white powder form by the gram.

RHood2 August 2, 2014 at 5:01 pm

At harris teeter near Fort Mill, it’s $4.99 a gallon. As a Charlotte outlier, prices are generally a bit higher. We go to Costco in Charlotte, where it has, outrageously, risen a dime, to $3.49 a gallon. We “pay” for our Costco membership, $55 a year, in the savings we make buying our milk there, and generally see that the prices we are paying on certain things are much cheaper, too. Cereal. Paper towels, TP. Not everything. So it’s completely worth it, but you have to check prices.
As Rosemary Dattalico, the mother of Jimmy Breslin’s first wife used to say,”You’re cheaper off” if you shop around.

Centrist View August 2, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Consumer Price Index-Average Price Data for several energy and food items.

Start at the earliest year in the data series and look at the prices in the good ol’ days.

Centrist View August 2, 2014 at 5:24 pm Reply
euwe max August 3, 2014 at 1:52 pm

The recession began with milk and gas both at 4 bucks.

Ralph Hightower August 3, 2014 at 5:16 pm

The politicians at the Federal level (House, Senate, Executive and Judicial) and State executive level don’t know what the price is for a gallon of milk or gas is. They have other people buy their food and drive them around.


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