Your Steak Is More Expensive, but Cattle Ranchers Are Missing Out
“This is ridiculous! Beef is now $15 a pound, twice what I paid before! It has to be all the relief checks handed out by Biden that are causing inflation!” my uncle asserted, echoing the misinformation he had gotten from social media. Born in China and immigrated to West Virginia over 20 years ago, my uncle has seen his fair share of economic ups and downs. But somehow, he often blames “socialist” welfare policies.
I dismissed his wild guess. With my rudimentary Econ knowledge, I knew it had to be something other than the 5 percent Consumer Price Index increase that was causing the hike in beef prices. “Your Steak Is More Expensive, but Cattle Ranchers Are Missing Out” by Julie Creswell not only confirmed my hypothesis, but also enlightened me to the real reason behind it.
It turns out Big Four meatpackers have been monopolizing the supply for years. Despite the surging demand of post-pandemic consumption, ranchers have seen little profit increase while meat processors are making as much as $1,000 in profit per head of cattle instead of the normal $50 to $150. Meatpackers don’t have incentives to increase production “as they make more money on fewer head counts.”
I told my uncle the real reason behind the beef price hike, and he said it made sense. Thanks to Ms. Creswell, my uncle will be wondering when a Senate antitrust investigation of meatpackers will solve the problem, rather than blaming “socialist” policies, next time he buys another expensive steak.
The Best Way to Respond to Text Messages
They say texting is easy, but through the eyes of an avid overthinker, it is an unsolvable, ever-tipping scale between “too much” and “not enough.” In his essay “The Best Way to Respond to Text Messages,” Todd Levin explores the struggle of responding to a text to show enough emotion while preserving genuineness. As Mr. Levin suggests, Apple’s new “HA HA” tapback feature may help make responding easier, until it doesn’t. Because it doesn’t take long before people read into it. Is the joke not funny enough to warrant an emoji? Does the tapback mean the other person wants to end the conversation?
In the pandemic age, overthinkers are hopelessly faced with a million text dilemmas, reading into two-dimensional letters and cartoon emojis. We sit with our thumbs hovering over the screen, spamming the letters “H” and “A” over and over like we are just exploding with laughter, while we sit tight lipped, back hunched, eyes dry from glazing over the screen for hours. Because the joke isn’t really that funny, is it? Or at least not as funny as our text reaction suggests. Because the joke is just letters printed on a screen, or a blurry meme you’ve already seen. Perhaps the problem isn’t how many “HA”s you should be typing out, but the emotional numbness we feel from being online so much that we forget what it is to really laugh. Apple can introduce a million features to combat texters’ overthinking, but no amount of “HA”s will ever seem genuine enough until our feelings are.