Price Gouging is REAL
...but it's not by big oil.
According to the USDA, 2007 tomato production was up from 2006 by 7.8%, from 35,854,000 cwt of tomato production in 2006 to 38,648,000 cwt in 2007. Yet, while production is up 7.7%, domestic per-capita use was essentially static. An increased supply without an increased demand typically serves to reduce costs, yet that is not what American tomato-eaters are seeing. In fact, tomato prices are up 8.6% from 2006, "Most of the state's packers have agreed to a $63 per ton price....The $63 price compares with the $58 base paid in 2006 and approximately $50 over the previous four years". The 2007 price is up 26% from the $50 per ton price from the previous four years.
It should also be noted that these crops are subsidized, up to $360,000 per farmer! Why is there no investigation into price-gouging and collusion among tomato farmers? Where is Chuck Schumer demanding a senate investigation?