Politicians are actually stopping the car, to our horror - The Packer

Politicians are actually stopping the car, to our horror

02/14/2013 05:26:00 PM
Tom Karst

National Editor Tom Karst“Don’t make me stop the car.”

We have all heard - or said - some version of that message on some memorable road trip with our American families.

The boys are fighting, picking on sister, or talking back in turn to mom or dad.

Of course, the warning is rarely followed by an actual stop. It was the stern threat of action, the glare in the rearview mirror, that conveyed the seriousness of the situation.

“Don’t think I won’t stop this car, because I will!”

I’m guessing budget cuts related to sequestration and the “fiscal cliff” have been a little like the cautionary warning for posturing politicians.

The threat was motivation enough to straighten up and fly right.

Well, here we are, cruising along well enough but then, again, the warning “Don’t make me stop the car.”

Sure pops, whatever.

All of a sudden, the car is slowing and we coasting, kicking up pebbles on the rocky shoulder of the road.

Now there is a real likelihood that important government services will be cut, food inspections will be reduced and the economy will be gouged.

What ever happens from this point on, chances are it won’t be good.




How about those berries? You just can’t hold back berries of any variety, it seems. Steve Lutz of the Nielsen Perishables Group passed retail sales numbers for the top ten fresh produce items for 2012.

Whole-year numbers for the year showed sales gains of 12.8% for all berries, aided by a 10.5% rise in volume and a 2.1% gain in average prices. Berries are the number-one produce category by sales, followed by packaged salad and apples. Fourth quarter results showed that berry sales were up a whopping 18.9%, boosted by a 15.7% increase in volume and a 2.8% bump in average prices.

While berries were trucking along quite nicely, 2012 figures showed a reversal in tomato fortunes. Perhaps related to low market prices through stretches of 2012, retail sales of fresh tomatoes slid 7.2% for the year, with average prices a gaping 8.9% lower than 2011.

Still, the strong performance of produce in 2012 has to be encouraging for fresh produce marketers. Total produce sales for the year were 4.4% higher, helped by 3.4% better volume and a 1% average increase in retail prices. Through no real generic promotion investment of its own, the industry has collectively benefitted from the shiny golden halo that fruits and vegetables consistently provide.

Pardon our glow - and get used to it.

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