Monday, November 10, 2008

Pope's concerned about high food prices

Pope's concerned about high food prices

"VATICAN CITY: High prices around the world for basic foodstuffs have raised the concern of Pope Benedict XVI.

The pope told tourists in St. Peter's Square on Sunday that the Catholic Church is trying to draw attention to how soaring prices are worsening what he called the "grave and complex problem" of hunger.

Benedict says he is especially praying for those who practice small-scale farming in poor countries.

The high prices of food, seed and fertilizer have been blamed on several factors, including droughts, costly fuel prices, and the growing use of biofuels."

Prices are going sky high for everything not only food and oil, but all types of insurance and copays and deductibles, real estate taxes, movie tickets, everything in the highway or department stores, just about everything.

A small 10 ounce cup of coffee with tax is almost $2 and a donut is more than a dollar at Dunkin Donuts. My individual health insurance went up $60 per month in one year. Movie tickets went up $1.00. I last paid $5.099 for heating oil this past summer and $2.19 per gallon for gasoline yesterday and hope it will be much lower. Pizza pies went up $2. Sandwiches to go with a soda eats a $10 with little change. Most prescriptions went up 10% except for the cheaper generics. My cable bill went from $101 to $131 to $145 per month now in about a year. It appears that everything is being priced up.

Excessive cancellation fees prey upon everyone. Phones, cable companies, and others are charging almost $200 in penalty fees. I can understand a sliding scale penalty where they can charge a straight pro rata penalty so that if one cancels during the 12th month they would pay 1/12th of the penalty. But the penalties look like all is due even in during the last days of a 12 month contract.

The high prices are not funny because most people cannot afford the higher costs. The probably have to do without some things now. They may have to seek alternatives. They may have to reduce the amount they used to buy. Businesses do not realize what they are missing because of high prices.

I go to Dunkin Donuts about once per month now instead of everyday.
I think I can save at least $100 per month in out of pocket at another health insurer by shopping around.
We lowered the thermostat and wear sweaters in the home and when there is nobody in the house we shut the thermostat down to 45 degrees.
We leave the car in the driveway at least 2 days each week and we plan trips better.
We eat less pizza.
We try to bring a sandwich from home or at least get a sandwich with a discount coupon.
I get generics whenever possible.
As soon as I saw the cable bill for $145, I brought all unecessary equipment back to them and dropped service and equipment rental fees. I am seeking another vendor.

If prices continue to go up, economic conditions for most Americans will become more severe. It is unbelieveable, but there are millions of americans that are hungry or hungry challenged. I think a few people froze to death in their homes last season. Hopefully nobody dies this season. 47 million do not have health insurance and with unemployment at 10 million today I expect the preceding number to increase.

I should write to all of my congressional representatives. The Pope should also be concerned about most of us Americans, too.