My Sunday post is a bit late today. I had to make an unexpected dash to the supermarket after scanning today’s on-line headlines. I know that many of you will be as aggrieved as I was to learn that Kellogg’s—the company that brings you the best from Battle Creek each morning—has announced an Eggo shortage that will last through the middle of 2010. Apparently Mother Nature, in the form of floods, and a Tennessee factory on the fritz have conspired to leave our toasters bereft of pop-up waffles. So off I went to the Stop ‘n Shop to stock up before the mad rush of panic buyers cleaned out the freezer case. I snagged my boxes (plain and blueberry) and headed home with a deep sense of mission accomplished and a warm feeling of security. Let the shortage begin; my larder overfloweth.
It wasn’t until I returned home, though, that I remembered that I don’t eat Eggo waffles. I don’t even like them. So why the frenzied trip to the grocery store? I think maybe it might have something to do with the times we live in. Right now I can afford to buy Eggos, but with unemployment on the rise and no end in sight to that trend by the time the Eggo recovery kicks in, I might not be in a position to afford them. And then what would I do if faced with an Eggo emergency? Better to be prepared.
Furthermore, it appears I am being called upon by my president to “consume less,” according to a story in this morning’s Washington Post. Ordinarily I’d bristle at such a suggestion, even though I consider myself a patriotic American, but the president says it would be for a good cause: “‘The recession we’re just now recovering from has clearly taught us the limits of depending on the American consumer to drive economic growth,’ Obama told a summit of Pacific Rim nations…. Future prosperity, said Obama, depends on ‘a strategy where the United States consumes less and exports more. This won’t just lead to more balanced growth — it has the potential to create millions of new, well-paying jobs.’”
Eggo-wise, I don’t understand what the president means. When the shortage is over, will the Eggos that used to fuel schoolchildren in Bayonne be shipped to Beijing? Is the president’s plan perhaps a twofer, designed to curb our spending and our consumption of calories? How does consuming less lead to growth? Without their morning Eggos, will Americans have the stamina to partake in the creation of “millions of new, well-paying jobs”? It just doesn’t make sense.
The Post story continues, “Obama’s comments…hammered home what has become a leitmotif of his eight-day tour of Asia: the need for ‘sweeping change’ in the way the world economy works.” I agree, although I also think change, sweeping or otherwise, begins at home. Here are my suggestions: first address the Eggo shortage. Then, reduce taxes so that small business owners in particular can start hiring again. Next, invest in a strong military. The best defense is the best defense—and also a creator of good, well-paying jobs. After that, have that broom of change sweep away the impediments to R&D for realistic fuel alternatives, open up Alaska and the Gulf of Mexico to drilling, and start fast-tracking nuclear power plants. With an economy that is truly on the mend and sufficient energy to power my toaster, I’ll be all set.