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Food Inflation, Federal Cuts to Food EBT a Death Cross for Future Wal-Mart Earnings

Christie
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Wal-Marts Earning woes are far from over. Since the cut to food subsidies made by congress in 2013, food is rapidly rising in costs from levels previously seen. Although CPI – food and gas has been mostly nil, food prices are skyrocketing.

Stores like Wal-Mart that make a significant revenue from EBT users will feel this doubly if the US Congress does not reinstate the subsidy cuts they failed to extend in 2013. As food prices rise, consumers that receive and purchase food through subsidies, will be continually squeezed as they come to grips with reduced buying power for foodstuffs.  This will ultimately force them to begin covering the shortfall with whatever cash reserves they have, and consumers will end up cutting their discretionary spending in favor of more essential items like food and the ever increasing cost of fuel as well.

If one looks at the trend of food inflation, there is no sign of an end or leveling off of the rising curve. As this trend continues, stores like Wal-Mart in particular, will not only see a decrease in revenue from food, but a further decrease in non-food sales as well as consumers deal with rising food inflation by cutting back on discretionary spending.

All this happens as the fed continues to “so-called” stimulate the economy through bond and asset purchases;  with money that most of which, will never see the light of day in the real economy. Those food subsidies that congress managed to cut in 2013 represent a form of economic stimulus that actually supports the real economy in ways the fed’s QE program will never be able to. Over the past few years congress has made many cuts like the food subsidy, to the budget and while it may have saved a few billion here or there, the economy will most certainly take a hit as that lost revenue from sales will hurt major retailers as they realize reduced demand for their goods. The reasoning behind these cuts makes perfect sense, except the country has since spent that total amount of cuts to the food subsidy several times over in the form of foreign aid to various countries. It makes one wonder if the President, and Congress are choosing foreign citizens over their own struggling constituents and businesses at home.

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