I've been actively looking for some good economic news, so I could write about something pleasant for a change, and I found something intriguing, in case any of you missed it. It's a four-day old article at the CNNMoney.com web site, but it's news that pertains to the rest of the year. While prices for about everything seem to be going up, at least one commodity is predicted to stay even and possibly drop: milk.
Why? According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, milk prices shot up 12% last year, but this year, it'll hold or drop because there's been a 1.1% increase in the cow population. What's more, there's been a 1.7% growth in the average output per cow.
Now, I realize that this isn't much help when gas prices are what they are ($111 a barrel according to the most recent news), but it will help families with young children who do need to drink milk, and for impoverished families, that's indisputable good news.
Economists may think I'm a little optimistic, but I see how lower milk prices might help in other areas of our economy. Think about it. Milk is a key ingredient in cookies--right there, that's good news for a bunch of products like Mrs. Fields and Oreos. Yogurt, cheese, fudge--good news for the companies that make that. What about the cereal makers? If people are drinking more milk, people will eat more cereal. That's a bunch of companies right there. And maybe that's been the problem all along. These oil executives aren't getting a good enough breakfast -- but, hey, a good bowl of cereal could make them less cranky, and the prices will come down.
And if milk prices drop, the dairy industry will want to get the word out, and so maybe they'll make more Got Milk? ads, which will give jobs to all of those millionaire celebrities, who will spend more money on products that will help our economy, and meanwhile, the advertisements will run in magazines and on TV, and giving the advertising industry an assist. And, boy, the soy milk industry's gonna love this, and, hey, what about the companies that make milk of magnesium! Those products will be cheaper...
Geoff Williams is a business journalist and the author of C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America (Rodale). He apparently was off his medication when he wrote this.
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