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Don’t expect recession to end anytime soon

By Dian Vujovich

While driving up to Jensen Beach this morning, I noticed a sign at a Walgreen’s advertising a gallon of milk for $3.49 and across the street a gas station sign read $3.75 for a gallon of gas.


That got me to wondering when in the world did a gallon of milk and a gallon of gas start costing about the same? And then I wondered which would be better to have in your backyard? A bunch of dairy cows of an oil rig?


Word is a gallon of milk could be up to over four bucks a gallon in the near future and who knows where from there if weather conditions continue on as oddly has they have been.


An NBCNews.com story earlier this year blamed cheese, the high cost of cattle feed and the Chinese for the price increases. But that litany of reasons forgot the biggest one: drought.


That same source estimated that California’s drought will impact the cost of alfalfa— cows love it—even higher. Meaning, prices for milk will continue to mooove higher.


So to answer my own question about which is better to have in your backyard—dairy cows or oil rigs—I’m going with the cows.


Looked at  from another angle, today, 4/21/14, all three stock indices, the DJIA, S&P500 and Nasdaq, closer higher no doubt pleasing millions of investors. But higher prices on Wall Street have equated to higher prices on Main Street. As a result, anyone expecting to hear that the recession has ended for the typical American family isn’t likely to hear that news for years to come. Lots of years to come.


The primary reason for that bad news isn’t because of the cows and/or the high cost of milk. It is because markets move prices and as the cost of living has edged higher, living wages haven’t.


As an FYI, living wages aren’t the same as a minimum wage. One, the minimum wage, is set by law and the other, by living. At this point in time the minimum wage and the living wage are miles apart: The country’s current minimum wage is around $7,25 per hour, it varies state to state, while a living wage can easily be double or triple that amount depending on where one lives and how large their family is.


According to on online resource, a family of four living in Miami Beach needs a living wage of about $21.75 an hour; a household of one, $10.79. Move up to Palm Beach and The Living Wage Calculator, based on data that’s two years old, estimates an hourly wage of $34 for a family of four to qualify as a living wage. From where I sit, that’s very very low and hardly enough to cover, well, much.


Bottom line all of this and until a living wage becomes the base wage from which food, shelter, clothing and savings can be made, the notion of the recession ending within the next five or ten years is about as big a pipe dream as my condo turning its recreational area into a cow pasture.

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