Cheezed Off

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Over the holidays I visited my Aunt Ann, who is 90 years old. Ever since I was little, I’ve enjoyed her stories, insights, and advice.

This time, I had a story to share with her. I told her that a recent experience I had reminded me of one of her sage observations. It was a little over ten years ago when she and I were talking about unwelcome changes at the grocery store. She told me that when she picked up her regular can of coffee, she saw that it was the same price it was on previous shop- ping trips, but the weight was 13 ounces, not the usual 16. Being very refined and not given to griping, Aunt Ann said she was unhappy at this unexpected change, but she did buy the coffee.

 The real problem, she said – and she admitted her guilt with buying that can of coffee – is that Americans are settling, settling for less, all around.

Late last year, I went shopping for a box of Cheez-its. The price was the usual $2.50 per box. But the box was different. This one was 13.7 ounces, not the usual 16. I checked several of the other boxes and saw that they were identical. I was being charged the same price for less Cheez-its!

Like a congressman in the night, Cheez-its’ manufacturer slipped onto the shelves these boxes with less product, but for the same cost, and expected consumers to purchase the boxes as if nothing had happened. I felt betrayed. As much as I love Cheez-its – really love Cheez-its – I won’t buy them any- more. I will not settle for this.

Aunt Ann agreed. She, too, would not buy any more Cheez-its.

I understand that when it comes to snack crackers, not everyone will share my sense of betrayal. And my libertarian colleagues may wish to remind me that marketplace changes in inputs affect the price of end-products like Cheez-its, or that the dollar’s depreciation will be reflected in price changes. I understand those concepts, but economics is not my point.

This past year has been a series of betrayals. Our politicians have foisted waves of unwanted change on us, culminating with the Senate’s passing a health bill, estimated to cost over $800 billion, on Christmas Eve, when most of the citizenry was distracted with holiday plans and festivities. Every American should feel betrayed and outraged by this kind of thing. The Senate healthcare bill should be the last straw for every citizen, no matter what his or her ideological or political persuasion may be.

As the new year unfolds, and warm holiday feelings inevitably fade, we must face a somber reality. The current administration and its flunkies in the House and Senate have shown us how very little they think of the American citizenry and its wishes. On the few occasions when we the people have been consulted, we have been ignored or insulted. The Democrats do not care what we want. The Republicans are ineffective. That leaves us. We are supposed to have a government by the people, for the people. It is our responsibility as free citizens to say no to more spending, say no to more statism. We must do whatever it takes to roll back this “historic” change.

This year must be the year in which we do not settle.

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