Which begs the question: why was I BUYING organic spinach? Hadn't I planted rows of spinach, swiss chard, and various lettuces?
This is what happened:
I'm sorry, but some aspects of organic gardening just suck. To be fair, caterpillars would come and attack plants whether you doused them in pesticides or not. But it's so devastating that those squiggly
Even when you kill every one in your sight (been there, done that!) a new batch seems to hatch before your eyes.
It's a modern miracle that cartons and cartons of organic lettuces and spinach can arrive (uneaten and unscathed) to supermarkets across the world. It's a marvel that they even survive the heat. Within moments of picking leafy greens in the garden, they already start to wilt.
Let's also remember that every perishable food item (thinks strawberries, lettuce, blueberries, tomatoes, raspberries, peaches...) must be picked by delicate hands. Human hands. Labor costs money. Seeds cost money. Farm equipment costs money. Land costs money. Fertilizers cost money. Transportation costs money.... You get the idea.
Obviously our food supply is WAY underpriced. Subsidies, immigration troubles, and government regulations obviously play a starring role in this drama. In the end, all of us that actually pay taxes are footing the bill.
While everyone and their brother can buy a box of spinach for $3.99, the real cost is paid by our ungodly tax bills. I know, I know, taxes aren't so bad, right? Well, they aren't if you're in the group of Americans that do not pay taxes. That's 40% of Americans. Forty Percent! And a good chunk of Americans fall into the 10% bracket - most likely receiving more "benefits" than they pay in each year.
Our tax bill is huge. Why the hose? Because my husband works his butt off and we decided to limit ourselves to 2 children. We also pay all of our bills, borrow responsibly and have never taken advantage of a government handout.
My husband may not be living a double life, but he is definitely supporting another family "somewhere." He's probably, single-handedly, supporting 2 or 3 welfare families. Something is wrong when an average welfare family receives more in benefits than the average police officer receives in yearly salary. And he's working: risking his life and paying for his family's food, shelter, and livelihood. And paying taxes!
So let's tax the "rich." Any 2 income families with college educations (meaning they gave up at least 4 years of earnings and time to get there!) are most likely what American's would call rich. Or in our case, a one income family where the income-earner works so much that they don't get to have a life.
What if we actually expected a little more from the bottom? What if life wasn't a free ride for 40% of the country?
And what would happen if we actually paid the true cost of food? Would there be riots and social upheaval? Of course there would. At first anyway.
Eventually, people would acclimate. If we actually paid the real cost of food, people would eat less. Obesity problem solved.
If we actually paid farm workers and factory workers a decent living wage, the former would probably visit a clinic instead of an ER and the latter would be more apt to stay working as opposed to living off the government payroll. Okay immigrants would probably still run to the ER, until regulations allow hospitals to turn them away.
More people would be working - again obesity problem solved? Processed foods would cost exponentially more than whole food (considering the REAL cost of corn production!) Dare I say, obesity problem solved?
Maybe people would start growing at least some of their own food. Those who currently live for free, might consider having fewer children. And if government rules changed and forced them to enter the workforce without a full handout of perks, money, and free food, they might actually act responsibly. Those that didn't would hopefully fade away or expire.
With everyone eating less (I did mention - obesity problem solved, right?) people would be healthier and wouldn't be bleeding states dry from ever increasing medicaid and medicare costs. Those are the "entitlement" or welfare health care programs. You know, the ones that give incentives (or at least offer no penalties) for visiting the doctor or ER to welfare families.
When we visit the doctor, we pay a $40 copay. And that's after we've paid $4200 a year to have the insurance in the first place. What the hell? Why doesn't our government try to encourage responsible use of the free health care system?
In a nutshell, here's my recommendation to the future president of the United States and all legislators.
- Expect more from the bottom half of society - decrease welfare payments, expect recipients to work, enforce a TIME LIMIT on welfare, implement stricter "disability" requirements, institute copays for government healthcare at all income brackets, and cut "cash" or entertainment welfare payments.
- Increase the Federal Minimum wage to a rate that allows a reasonable standard of living.
- Stop subsidizing farms and food production. Let people pay the true cost of food.
- Allow hospitals to turn people away from the ER.
- Increase the tax rates on passive income, limit deductions and tax shelters for the highest income bracket.
- Maintain our National defense budget, specifically with regard to controlling sea trade and managing strategic anti-missle defense locations.
- Allow emerging markets to actively participate in free trade as opposed to continually offering food and monetary aid.
- Stop the bailouts - let people fail. Let the people who foreclosed on their mortgages pay the penalties. Don't spread the actions of a few across the many who didn't default.
- Legalize drugs. Those who wish to do drugs will always do them (legal or not.) By legalizing, you can bring down the prices that cause people to kill for their next fix, limit trafficking (in drugs, humans, and more) and remove the allure or "mystique" that people feel about doing something illegal. If a bunch of druggies overdose themselves, so what. Plus, you will finally have a means to tax this black market and regulate it. It is exactly the same as Alcohol and Prohibition. Alcohol is a drug too.
- Rethink the current Health care bill. Don't force the young and healthy to share the risks (and prices) with the sick and old.
- Consider harsher penalties for crimes, especially repeat offenders. Look into less expensive death penalties so it can be utilized more frequently.
- Require legislators to pay taxes and be part of Social Security instead of their own pension plans.
There's so much more that could be said. And it's all, somehow, related to lettuce. Sheesh. Stepping off the soap box now.