Does Sen. Rick Scott not know or not care about avian flu?

Sen. Rick Scott’s feud with President Joe Biden is getting downright ridiculous.

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Rick Scott

Sen. Rick Scott’s feud with President Joe Biden is getting downright ridiculous.

One of the Florida Republican’s latest antics to demonstrate that came in the form of a press release last week, where Scott chose to ignore the existence of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) and its impact on the price of eggs and turkey, and instead blame Biden.

Last week, Scott issued a press release showing statistics from the Producer Price Index (PPI) from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which showed a 6% increase over the year. Since Biden became president, PPI has risen 16.7%, Scott stated.

No sensible person would argue and say inflation isn’t happening, and most would acknowledge that the Biden administration has at least a little bit to do with that inflation. But is this press release really about that, or is it more about him getting a punch in after being called out in a negative way during Biden’s State of the Union Address?

But putting motives aside, here is why Scott is out of line. He is quoted in this release as saying: “Joe Biden's failure to get the inflation crisis he created under control is absolutely crushing America's hardworking families with high prices. It is the failed career politicians, like Biden and Chuck Schumer that have allowed this to happen and now insist that nothing changes and that we just keep spending. For poor families, like mine growing up, Biden’s message that no spending reforms will be discussed is a clear sign that Washington doesn’t care whether they ever get a shot at success or even survive. So, when you are at the grocery store this week and not buying as much meat or eggs as you did a few weeks ago, you can thank the politicians who want to change nothing and just raise the debt ceiling.”

There you go. There’s the egg reference, minus the avian influenza reference.

Scott, in the release, continues to list six items and their year-over-year price increase. One of those items is eggs, with a 209.3% year-over-year increase, and the other is turkey, with a 36.8% year-over-year increase.

What bothers me is he could have made those points without mentioning those items. It’s not that the price increases for eggs and turkeys shouldn’t be concerning to consumers, but it seems to me he is doing something ethically and morally wrong in pointing out those price increases without telling the whole story. Instead, it seems he’s telling the story he wants to tell hoping people will continue to overlook the root reason why egg and turkey prices are up and create more partisan animosity. Or maybe he just flat-out hasn't been alert enough to know HPAI is a thing.

Others using egg prices for political purposes

Scott isn’t the first politician to insinuate that high egg prices are more a result of policies of the Democratic party without acknowledging HPAI and basic supply-and-demand economics. Prior to the latest election, I criticized Rep. Ron Estes, R-Kansas, for doing that exact thing in his campaign ads.

Maybe Scott knew Estes did that, and maybe he thought that since Estes got re-elected, the tactic worked. But that, too, is ridiculous. I mean, it’s not like the same congressional district that gave Mike Pompeo his entry into national politics and hasn’t elected a Democrat since Dan Glickman in 1992 would vote any other way.

It’s not just Republicans who are using the topic of higher egg prices for self-serving reasons. Some Democrats are doing the same thing.

Around the same time Scott did his egg-related political grandstanding, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, and Rep. Katie Porter, D-California, wrote letters to Cal-Maine Foods, Rose Acre Farms, Hillandale Farms, Daybreak Foods and Center Fresh Group, asking them to explain the egg price increases, and insinuating that these increases might have more to do with greed and less about HPAI.

And they didn’t just do so quietly. Ever the self-promoter, Warren issued a press release on the letter, while Porter shared a Reuters report on that letter on her Facebook page.

I won’t write any more on the letter from Warren and Porter in this blog post, but another blog post points out just why this is absurd.

Concluding thoughts

There are no easy answers to alleviating the increased egg and turkey prices, but playing the blame game isn’t the answer, nor is using the situation to attempt to improve your political clout or reduce someone else’s political clout.

This is getting old and it needs to stop.

Perhaps Scott, Estes, Warren and Porter should examine ways to be less like politicians, and more like statesmen and stateswomen.

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