Letters: Poverty, food fraud and oil
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Kai Ryssdal: Not that this should be taken as a comment on which way the economy may be headed, but we ran a story last week about people who’re living below the federal poverty line and have been there for years.
We pointed out that Washington first started calculating that line back in the 1960s. And minus changes for inflation, the basic formula hasn’t changed much since. Adam Shields from Marrietta, Georgia summed up the solution most of you offered.
Adam Shields: Why is it that there is a single poverty line anyway? There are clearly different costs of living around the country. There should be different poverty standards as well.
Tess Vigeland sat down with author Bee Wilson to talk about food fraud, while I was off yesterday. Wilson’s book “Swindled” details the economic factors that lead to food fraud, and the price we all have to pay. She suggests the best way to protect yourself is to re-acquaint yourself with cooking and how different dishes ought to taste when prepared with the proper fresh ingredients.
Chris Hyland from Walla Walla, Washington, thought Wilson didn’t go far enough.
Chris Hyland: While I enjoyed the story, I think Bee Wilson did not adequately answer the question of how one can protect yourself from these concerns. What one needs to do is “know your farmer.” Shorten up your food chain; buy from farmer’s markets; buy from small producers; and ask questions about your food and where it came from.
So that was, what, 34, maybe 40 seconds without a mention of the financial crisis? Well, you can stop the clock right now.
In a general comment on the crisis and our coverage of it, Suzi Stone wrote from Jacksonville, Florida, to say she’s a little disappointed with her peers for not being the gatekeepers they were taught to be.
Suzi Stone: I graduated from a “top” business school in 1982 with my master’s degree. I find it particularly appalling that theSuie current economic crisis has happened during the period when more people had graduate education in business than ever. I thought the whole purpose of MBAs was to train us to not make the same mistakes of the past.
And finally this week, an economic indicator that can be good or bad, depending on how you look at it. Crude oil closed down 4 bucks today, almost 5 percent, at about $70 a barrel. A lot of our letters note that the declining price oil may be a troubling sign of the economic times, but all the same, you want see some love at the pumps.
Joe Shields from Indian River, Michigan, wrote that Americans are doing all we can to keep those prices high. We did it to ourselves, he writes. Everyone trying to keep up with the everyone on the block, living way above their means, driving the biggest toy and now look where we are.
No matter what you drive, we’d like to hear from you. Go to our Web site, it’s marketplace.org.