The fact that Mickey D’s may be forced to raise prices because of higher commodity costs isn’t entirely bad news; but it’s not entirely good either.
In a fair world, anything that discourages people from eating at McDonald’s could be seen as wonderful. Reflecting the true cost of a cheeseburger – one that includes the health care costs that appear down the road, or the environmental costs that few people seem concerned about – would be a good thing. By discouraging the consumption of cheeseburgers, higher prices would encourage better health and less environmental damage.
But there is the argument that for people who don’t have time, place, or ability to shop or cook, fast food is all-too-often the only alternative. (One could argue that Taco Bell’s bean burrito (370 calories) is a splendid alternative, and if it’s cheaper than a double cheeseburger (440 calories) so much the better; but you can’t deny that McD’s is ubiquitous like nothing else.)
I will tell you what would be fair, even though we’re nowhere near making it happen: Subsidies for consumers – especially less-well-off consumers – instead of corporations. Tax breaks for retailers who open new stores in so-called food deserts. Tax breaks for consumers who buy and cook real food. Training of the unemployed to help shop and cook for people who can’t do so themselves; training of those same unemployed to teach cooking to people who simply need skills. Put all that together, and Mickey D’s can price itself right out of business.
(Photo Credit: Mike Licht via Flickr)