A Post in Which I Thank Donald Trump: Pork Chop Edition

I don’t pay close attention to prices of groceries, but the other day, I saw the price of pork chops and said to myself “darned if that isn’t remarkably cheap for pork chops.” So tonight’s dinner has inspired me to give thanks for DJT’s actions.

Figure 1: Lean hog futures for August settlement, as of 8 August 2018. Source: ino.com.

My rough math suggests a decline of about 35.5% since early March, when Mr. Trump excitedly announced relief for aluminum and steel. Some of the price decline is due to elevated pork production. However, in addition to tariffs on pork, we have the EU getting free access to Mexico. Should the US exit Nafta, one could expect further negative ramifications for hog farmers. No relief in sight, except for the fact that feed prices (i.e., soybeans) are depressed due to Chinese tariffs.

From Indiana Prairie Farmer yesterday:

Challenging financial times are expected for the pork industry in coming months.

So, thanks Trump!

15 thoughts on “A Post in Which I Thank Donald Trump: Pork Chop Edition

  1. Moses Herzog

    Now, I wanna tell you guys, I am a miser. And when people call me cheap or a miser, my shoulders become upright, my face turns up and I grin like I just got the blue ribbon at the county fair. I get this from my “departed” Dad, who was a Depression baby. My Dad had me late in life, and could tell me stories he remembers of the Dust Bowl hitting the midwest, if that gives you any idea. So I’m here to tell you, when I left lights on in the house I “heard about it”. When our family went out to eat buffet at a cafeteria, and some kernels of corn were on my plate or half a roll was uneaten I was often told something like the following by my Dad as my Mom and sister looked on with blank faces “We’re not leaving here until you clean your plate and eat all of that, so….. we can sit here all night if you like, but we’re not leaving until that plate is empty”. When I was in 3rd grade I had holes in my shoes and actually felt daily pain because I was exceedingly afraid to hear what my Dad would say if I asked for new shoes (no hussy fits about getting “Air Jordans” from me friends). And I’m here to tell you, you don’t get snobbish about food when a significant portion of your preteen years is spent eating from two food groups—packaged off brand macaroni and cheese and Van Kamp’s “Pork and beans”. Any concept of food snobbery goes right out the window when that’s your view of food as a kid.

    Now, as the sad song violins start playing in the background here (joke), I also wanna say I was very happy to eat. But the point is you get good at saving money, and you don’t lose that even when you move up to higher income brackets. It’s a habit. If I told you we shop at a place that is cheaper than Wal-Mart would you believe it?? I’ll HINT to you the place where we go, the name starts with a W, and the headquarters are based out of Idaho. So let’s go through a July 31 receipt here:

    medium pack of thick cut bacon (sorry, threw away the empty package), about 15 slices??—$3.98

    Canned corn 15.25 ounces (some water, not much)– 88 cents

    Texas grown watermelon 20 cents per pound—$2.97 (try to find 20cents per pound watermelon at Wal Mart friends—-doubt it exists, not Texas grown anyway

    12 cans pack Mountain Dew ripoff soda (tastes exactly the same with the caffeine fix)—-$2.39

    1 can “Monster” drink (the real deal)—- $1.48

    Large pack of chicken thighs (about 12 thighs)—$4.85

    6 cucumbers at 58cents each— $3.48

    Off-brand mixed nuts 10.3 ounces—- $2.48 (Honest to God, cannot tell difference from “Planters”)

    10 pound bag of carrots—$3.98

    2 large cans Dinty Moore beef stew— $4.36 (2.18 each)

    3 normal size can Wolf brand chili —$4.74 ($1.58 each)

    6 packages of Reeses’ peanut butter cups (2 cups per package, 12 cups total)— $2.98

    3 bottles of 2 liter Dr Pepper ripoff soda—-$2.25 (.75 cents each bottle)

    8 limes, .20cents each— $1.60

    2 small boxes Little Debbie Nutty bars (those are always same size yeah??— $2.16 ($1.08 per box)

    4 bars name brand anti-bacterial soap—$3.14 total

    Zucchini Squash .78cents per pound—-$1.85 total

    Off-brand Bran flake cereal (no raisins) 18 ounce box—$1.78

    1 loaf of white bread, 20 ounces—-.98cents

    OK, there’s more on this receipt that aren’t bad, but harder to quantify if I threw out the packaging. TMI??? But I was curious how many of you can beat those and/or if you could guess where I shopped based on those prices??—most of which would beat Wal-Mart.

  2. Moses Herzog

    I don’t agree with James Kwak about everything. In fact some things I vehemently disagree with him on. But generally he’s a good writer, has a genuine concern for the society around him and the betterment of Americans generally. Always worth a read:

    BTW, attacking economics isn’t a good way to go about things, as there are many different “schools” of economics. It’s like attacking the profession of truck drivers because you saw a semi cutoff a Kia in traffic once. The incident has nothing to do with the profession in a general way. And this is the point those who sitback throwing spitballs at economics kind of miss. If an asteroid plunges into Earth and blows off half the surface of the planet, it’s not really useful to say “Oh!!!! Those damned physics professors!!! Again with the asteroids!!!”

      1. PeakTrader

        I think, if economic policy is set on fairness (however defined), we’re heading into socialism.

        It should be set on economic growth, productivity, correcting a market failure, etc..

        1. pgl

          Ah yes – the socialist economy of China is not growing at all. Lord Peaky – you do say the dumbest things ever!

        2. baffling

          many current ceo’s of large corporations are beginning to disagree with this point of view peak. in particular, if you are a company who expects to be around for 40 years rather than 4 quarters. further, many of the younger generation want to work for companies that actually make the world a better place IN ADDITION TO being profitable. these are good changes. there is nothing wrong with being socially responsible in your search for profits.

          1. PeakTrader

            Baffling, barring Pgl’s most ignorant comment on China, rich people, including CEOs, are most charitable.

            However, what does that have to do with my comment?

            For example, efficiency and charity are not mutually exclusive.

            Efficiency can allow more charity.

          2. PeakTrader

            Socially responsible and socialism are not the same thing.

            Communist China wants foreign firms to be socially responsible, while it’s irresponsible. And, in the South China Sea, China has created enormous environmental damage, destroying coral, sea turtles, giant clams, etc.

            Moreover, it’s being socially responsible by extorting money from foreign firms, but has a longer term plan:

            “Beijing’s economic game plan has always called for kicking out or marginalizing foreign companies as soon as Chinese entities could adequately create their own products and services. With several Chinese smartphone producers nearing full global competitiveness.””


          3. PeakTrader

            China also promised Obama it wouldn’t militarize the area in and around the Spratly Islands and that’s exactly what it did.

            International law ruled the Philippines own those islands.

          4. baffling

            peak, you are ranting all over the place, to the point of being incoherent. does china raise your blood pressure that much?

            i am sure you would call a company who operates in a socially responsible manner socialist. interesting you are concerned about environmental damage and political bullying coming from china, but not from the trump administration. notice the irony?

  3. pgl

    Alas I gave up on pork a long time ago. Chicken and fish – c’mon Donald. Find a way of cutting those prices!

  4. baffling

    you will find this price drop is perfect for many chinese dishes, which utilize pork deliciously: twice cooked pork (my fav), spare ribs, dumplings, etc. there are certainly domestic benefits to the trump trade.

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