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Biden declares war on …  SHRINKFLATION!!!

Biden declares war on …  SHRINKFLATION!!!

You just cannot make this stuff up … and no, this is not a satirical piece from The Onion

You may recall that President Biden declined the traditional invitation for the President of the United States to have 20-plus minutes of free airtime in conjunction with the Super Bowl.  That would have provided him with an opportunity to sell whatever message he had to one of the largest television audiences ever.  Ah!  Maybe they were concerned about CAUSING a national disaster if they unleashed him for so long – at least a disaster from the perspective of Team Biden. 

Regardless, Biden passed up a golden opportunity to sell his snake oil policies and rose-colored-glasses view of his accomplishments.  Most politicians with messages to sell would have jumped at the chance.  We are right to be suspicious of why the obviously aging Biden took a pass.

That decision was called essentially boneheaded by a number of Democrat cheerleader-pundits, including James Carville, David Axelrod, Joe Scarborough and Michael Steele.  Of course, the reason was obvious.  Biden’s handlers were concerned that he would demonstrate his cognitive decline in one (or more) of those “senior moments.”  From what we have seen so far, that might be considered good judgment.

Weeeell … This is where the story switches from fear to farce.  Instead of a primetime address to the nation, Biden opted for … (are you ready for this?) … a scripted message on social media about … (brace yourself) …” shrinkage.”  No, it was not dealing with his latest medical examination.   He even gave it a name … “shrinkflation.”  After the failure of his “Bidenomics” branding, one would think they would be a little more careful.

This was not about a plan to shrink inflation.  That would have made sense.  Rather Biden was using the presidential bully pulpit to rail against the ever-decreasing quantity of food in the retail packages.  Recognizing that he was putting out his message coincidental to the Super Bowl, Biden expressed his complaints in terms of what we commonly call junk food – the stuff that is not good for us, but we love it anyway.  He expressed his ominous concerns from the White House viewing room next to a pile of snack foods.  I assume it was supposed to look like he was ready to watch the game.

(Incidentally, the most prominent package in the front was Oreo cookies, which is number one on the dieticians’ hit list – and my favorite junk food.  In fact, the table next to Biden looked like my pantry.  But I digress.)

This White House video appeared on Tic Tok.  TIC TOK?  Isn’t that the Chinese owned social platform that can be used to spy on us – a platform that we are advised against using and Biden has banned for government workers?  The answer to the question is “yes.”

Then there is the subject itself.  Of all the things Biden could have used his bully pulpit to address, why the reduction in content of retail food packages?  If he wanted to subtly remind the American people that he is an elderly person, that is the subject to choose.  That is what old people talk about.  It is not a GenZ topic.  That is because we older folks have been talking about shrinking content for more than 50 years – back to the days when public discourse first focused on “the incredible shrinking Hershey bar.”

Biden had no policies, proposals or Executive Orders to address the problem he raised.  But he was very firm and forceful in his condemnation of food manufacturers for “pulling a fast one” on the public – just as only an old person would describe it.  He looked squarely into the cameras and told the food companies to … “stop it.”  Not even the creation of a new bureaucratic commission to investigate the problem.  He did not assign Vice President Harris to be the Shrinkflation Czar.  Just, “Stop it.”  (Methinks that was similar to what he told Vladimir Putin when the Madman of Moscow invaded Ukraine.)

Like many of Biden’s efforts to get ahead on an issue – such as Bidenomics, the Hur Report and claiming Trump is also old – this one has a backwash.  It reminds folks back home of the larger problem – inflation.  While he seems to be saying you are paying more for less, consumers will hear “paying more” and that is just what Biden should not be reminding folks of these days.

Perhaps it is only an analyst like me who would have noticed something odd about the video.  It was rather short, BUT it was sliced into even shorter segments – or “cuts.” That suggests that Biden was not getting out more than a sentence or two before they had to stop shooting.  He was either flubbing or he could not do impromptu for more than a short spurt.  Was Biden using his teleprompter?  For most politicians, the Biden video would have been one-take off the top of their heads.

It is hard to understand how a guy with all the staff and professional help he has could possibly have produced such an embarrassing – but funny — video.  I am not sure what the goal was, but what came across was a grumpy old man complaining about the number of Oreos in the package.  Biden might as well have said, (think weak raspy voice and shaking a finger) “In my, day sonny, we had a lot more chips in one of those bags.” 

Washington has his farewell speech to his troops.  Lincoln has the Gettysburg Address.  Roosevelt has the “day in infamy speech.”  Reagan had the “tear down this wall” speech.  And now history has Biden’s “Shrinkflation Address.”

This video could have been performed on Saturday Night Live without any editing. – and it probably should have been.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.

15 Comments

  1. Darren

    I have been saying for 2 years, Biden looks like an old man walking around lost at the Senior Home
    looking for Jell-O.
    Republicans knew this at the last election.
    But again, most Democrat’s ACT like they are walking around the Senior Home looking for Jell-O.

  2. JPop

    Another manufactured crisis in Operation:Distraction.

  3. frank Stetson

    Have you heard the one about the runaway Horist? It’s a terrible tale of whoa!

    First, great Superbowl, terrible half-time, meh ads. Never thought I would hear dynasty and Kansas City together, although nothing better that a Kansas City cut served on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. Oh, 22 oz-er, rare, those were the days.

    Biden skipping the free airtime, really dumb. His tape, really silly, not impactful, what’s wrong with his staff? But an aging Horist attempting to be even funnier is ever sadder. Grandpoop should never try to be hipster. Even that’s best seen at the Stetsonian Museum on the Mall in bj-dc (bad jokes, don’t care).

    Horist, being a Republican, believes in maximum food freedoms for all foods and all Americans. Except for those banned in Florida. He is particularly unfunny as his attempts to spin Biden’s skip and a miss as proof-positive of his own senility.

    Horist says in another senior moment: “This White House video appeared on Tic Tok” when he knows it was originally POSTED on X, almost as bad as AIR-ing over Chinese-controlled airwaves but still better than watching Tucker Putin suck air anywhere. And Horist, young people know how to rip things from one media and “air” it on another. It may even turn up on Russian media. But good chance for you to put up a false-flag dig. You knew it was X, you saw a download on Tic Tok, you loved the Chinese connection so you rolled with “appeared” and “aired” spining your story with credible ignorance as your backstory linking Joe to China through Tic Tok when X marked the spot.

    Horist acts like this is new news; I guess he just watches MSNBC too much.

    In December of 2023, Senator Bob Casey released a report that showed the impact of smaller product sizes. That’s right, there’s an entire Congressional Report. The report noted that household paper products were 34.9 percent more expensive per unit than they were in January 2019, with about 10.3 percent of the increase due to producers shrinking the sizes of rolls and packages. Shrinkflation has been trending on Tik Tok for a long time, decades in Tik Tok time, but that was before Biden’s time, if anything can be before Biden’s time. In August of 2022, CNBC told us: “64% of consumers are worried about ‘shrinkflation.’ What it is and how to watch for it while shopping.”

    Meanwhile, in other Food Farce Facts, about a week before the game, Florida’s favorite sun, better than God’s, DeSantimonious announced: “You need meat, OK? We’re going to have meat in Florida,” which, of course, being a Republican coincided with a proposed BAN on lab-produced beef limiting the maximum freedoms for all Floridians to choose their beef freely, without constraint as to origin or species, apparently. Unlike Biden, no one cares what DeSantimonious says. He’s just not funny. Kinda sad actually. DeSantis that is, not Horist. Horist says he’s a happy fellow. Happy, happy, happy.

    Horist mentions that we old people have been following this for years. News flash, Horist. The ancient Greeks followed it too. Re-packaging is as old as man himself. What he fails to mention is that shrinkflation is friend to the old. We take months to deplete a Party-Size bag of chips. I rent space for a year for a gallon of ice cream. Frankly, and I am both frank and Frank, I’ll take smaller anything now. Mini ice cream sandwiches — da bomb. 100 Cal anything — fuck the calories, just give me the right-size which is often the small size. Hell, I buy single slices of cake, split them, and that’s still too big for us now. That’s right, single-serve is still not small enough sometimes.

    If Biden had his marketing wits about him, if his staff could ever market anything, he would have grabbed the oldster angle and ran with that for fun. That’s right, turn into the storm. Because it is FUNNY. We laugh about it all the time. Old is funny. I mean anyone who tried Inflation Reduction Act and now Skrinkflation has zero marketing talent.

    One last cut on the edits. I have made many a marketing tape and, yes, we used what I call “shaky cam” edits because I am not a professional, the script is often tossed together, and, frankly, it simplifies the shoot for camera, editor, director and me. It had nothing to do with my cognitive abilities, matter of fact, it’s a time-tested 80’s MTV method to make a video. One predecessor was the Beatles Hard Days Night documentary-style quick-cut hand held cam shots by Director Lestor on a cheap budget. It’s as much for behind the camera as it is for those in front of the camera. A stupid correlation.

    But it is what it is, Biden (and his handlers) were stupid to skip the free airtime, their tape was not exactly funny and nothing worse than a bad joke. Well, trying to pull one off live while in front of 600 Japanese in Tokyo —- yeah, that’s a lot worse. The bosses don’t laugh and the underlings are afraid to. I was DOA when my feet hit the stage. Funny, it worked in London…. Humor is really a tough job left to professionals.

    When does a Horist talk smack? Whinny wants to!

    • larry Horist

      Obsession: 1) The state of being obsessed with someone or something; 2) an idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person’s mind; 3) Frank Stetson

      • Tom

        Hahahaha, good one Larry. You may be surprised to find out that the “Independent’s Guide to Words” lists both of you!!! I still love you both!

    • Tom

      Frank, I saw that Beatles Hard Days Night documentary-style quick-cut hand held cam shots video by Director Lestor on a cheap budget. My overall feeling on it was that it was not worth the time I spent watching it.

      Sorry to hear you flopped in front of the Japanese folks. Don’t feel bad, most have. They have a very different sense of humor like most Asians I know. There is something about having to explain the joke that just takes the fun out of it.

      • Frank stetson

        Barrel of laughs outside of a group. Probably different today, a couple decades later.

  4. Tom

    I am not suspicious about why Biden did not appear. Let’s face it, Joe goes off script often and almost every time he does so he shoots himself in the foot like Don Knotts in a Western movie. As far as missing the opportunity, I agree but most likely Team Biden could not figure out how to prepare him, so they aborted. What the network should have done is that if Biden refuses, either invite Kamala or Trump. Either would have informed us a little more.

    Actually I like his term “Shrinkflation” because I have seen a lot of it and did not know what to call it. Whorse yet, it escapes any form of inflation measures!! If companies practice shrinkflation, they can cause great inaccuracies in the rate of inflation. That 10% shrink in cereal quantity never gets into the statistics, and that to me is very bothersome because it makes the economy look better than it really is. I hope you will improve your diet – or are you trying to be more like Joe?

    There is nothing wrong with Biden saying “stop it”. Heck, Nike says, “Just do it”. Now Trump has gold plated $400 sneakers that say, “Fund my legal mess.” Companies do not have to listen to Biden. Your point is well taken though that there should be a commission on shrinkflation and what the real inflation rate is. Maybe the GOP can depart from at least one impeachment to take this better cause up and get some results. I would be all in favor of an “American Shrinkflation Act. But you are forgetting one thing, and that is personal responsibility. Consumers have an obligation as well. My grocery store publishes and displays all prices as a price and as a “unit rate”. And the consumer has the right to buy or not buy, you know Larry, “let the market decide” which you are big on. So why criticize Biden on something where he is actually preserving your free market intentions?

    I am not a Tik Tok user but I have listened to the hearings. But more than two years after the Trump administration first issued a similar threat to TikTok, security experts say the government’s fears, while serious, currently appear to reflect only the potential for TikTok to be used for foreign intelligence, not that it has been. There is still no public evidence the Chinese government has actually spied on people through TikTok. 1) The data they have on someone is minimal and can be gotten by other means. 2) Tik Tok has stated that their servers are in the USA. 3) Tik Tok is not used in China. 4) Yes Bytedance is a Chinese company and the CPC ownes about 5% of it, but there is no data that they have ever done what you and legislators imply could happen. This to me seems to be a fear of the unknown and saying the unknown will happen – which is irrational. Everything is “general warnings” driven by the eroding trust in China. Security experts say these scenarios are a possibility based on what’s publicly known about China’s laws and TikTok’s ownership structure, but stress that they are hypothetical at best. To date, there is no public evidence that Beijing has actually harvested TikTok’s commercial data for intelligence or other purposes. Chew, the TikTok CEO, has publicly said that the Chinese government has never asked TikTok for its data, and that the company would refuse any such request. So if Biden wants to put a commercial or infomercial on Tik Tok, let him. Just do not let him or anyone in government use Tik Tok for government business. The real fear is that China can spread misinformation that will affect elections. And this is a GOP fear, not a Dem fear. It is GOP paranoia over-reach.

    Maybe Biden appeared to be in segments because he is on a medication that makes him pee more?

    If the video is as funny as you say, it may still end up on Saturday Night Live! The real issue is that Shrinkflation would (to this Independent) be an indictment of his famous “Bidenomics”. I do not think companies are trying to pull a fast one as Biden says, nor are they trying to be greedy. They have increased costs in labor and materials. They really do not have a choice. It is either increase prices or shrink product quantities. Again, maybe consumers need to stop buying and turn their attention to lower cost alternatives to Oreo Cookies.

    Larry, Frank and frank seems to have a good handle on this shrinkflation issue and reports already issued. Maybe you should consult with him. Frank brings up a good point that old folks cannot eat the big packages before they go stale which can be unhealthy. So he says the smaller sizes is good for seniors. He is correct, but this is also “anti-family” which love the family pack sizes. Frank is right, he could have noted the shrinkflation as a move to listen to senior concerns about the package being to big.

    • larry Horist

      The issue of “shrinkflation” is the same price for less goods … not that amount seniors eat. There has always been options for smaller packages. Chips come in Family Size, Regular and smaller individual packages. It is paying more for less that Frank did not seem to get. But then his objective was not to be informative but to follow his obsession as the constant Larry Horist contrarian.

      Mike f disagrees with my opinions — and usually has some childish insult as part of his response. Joseph S Bruder disagrees with me in rather strong terms. You often disagree with me. BUT … I do not see you or them as obsessed. They usually seize on some point … take their shot … and that is it. But Frank has made me — and to a lesser degree all related this site — as a major part of his life. Just think about how much and how often he writes the same old attacks with insults, snide remarks silly sarcasm. He even writes about me in responses to other writers on PBP on subjects that have nothing to do with me. Think about how many hours a day he thinks and writes about me. When I open my email in the early morning, there will be more emails (indicating responses for Frank) than any one else — by a longshot. And I only see the ones that respond to my commentaries. They come in all day — from early morning to late evening. And soooo long, personal and petty. Those are all signs of a serious obsession. But that is something he has to deal with. Macht nichts to me. At least he has you as his Ed McMahon.

      • FRANK STETSON

        Horist, you are sometimes a fool with your obsession on obsession. Or maybe it’s your narcissim kicking in.

        First, while there have always been packaging options, packaging for seniors, by definition, is a relatively new thing. Think about it: baby boomers aging create expanded market for those older. In 1980, US median age was 30; Horist was old. In 2000, Horist is still old but the median is now 35 and by 2022 it’s 39. Horist is still old. (let it go, Horist, just joking). While packaging for seniors as a major market segment may be relatively new, the concept has still yet to be applied to all products. Ain’t no senior meals at Mikey D’s for example. Discount yes, sizing no.

        Horist says: ” It is paying more for less that Frank did not seem to get. But then his objective was not to be informative but to follow his obsession as the constant Larry Horist contrarian.”

        My post indicated: “The report noted that household paper products were 34.9 percent more expensive per unit than they were in January 2019, with about 10.3 percent of the increase due to producers shrinking the sizes of rolls and packages.”

        I honestly am not sure what Horist’s issues are that preclude him from comprehending what is right in front of his face. Blinded by his hate no doubt and feeling me under his skin for outing him on the facts…..again. But NTW, he’s OK and will not apologize. It’s how he rolls

        And, of course, he’s 90% personal and 10% on topic, where he is usually wrong, just like this one.

        FYI: yes, less costs more. No shit Sherlock. But, in this case, it often means saving more too. In our case, the single-slice of cake costs more per slice than a whole cake. BUT — we get one serving for two out of it and therefore, it costs much less for us.

        Once again, great on topic discussion, as usual, Horist. I am not sure why you bother to use so many words to say nothing notable at all. As for me, you basically represent coffee and other breaks. Face it, you have been saying the SoS for decades, it’s really not that difficult to respond. Besides, seeing you turn on a spit for no reason at all except your own weakness to support your arguments is just fucking priceless. You even kvetch when I agree with you.

        And I just love that you don’t read my stuff, say often that no one reads my stuff, indicate you are tracking my readership somehow, and yet you now note that you read all my stuff in other contributor’s posts seeing multiple threads when I drop your name. Mission accomplished and yeah douche bag, you started that, you can end it, just stop and I will, gratefully. I told you before, I will adhere to the same discussion rules that you do. So, just do it. Let’s drop the name calling, discuss the issues, or face the mirror for what you do.

        • FRANK STETSON

          FYI: here’s shrinkage that works. I love honeybells from Florida, God’s gift to the middle class I call them. Why? First, we can afford them as a luxary just like the rich. They are dainty so not shipped for shelf stock meaning you can’t get them in our stores. And only available in a short season around January. There is no superior, more juicy orange. This year’s crop was glorious. So juicy, perfectly ripe.

          One issue: too juicy. You need multiple napkins. If you pierce the flesh, you have a mess. Like peeling the rest over the sink mess. They “downsized” the fruit creating the “mini honeybell” and the mess problem solved. Must have taken years to prove in after they planted the first mini tree.

          Now they are doing same to many products and yes, you will pay more, but while the honeybell is as good as ever, hardly any mess with the mini. For me, the jury is out on the rest; smaller; one issue is it’s more peeling for the same amount of orange. But for the honeybells, fixed a real issue of mess.

          Once it awhile, shrinkflation helps more than the elderly.

    • Frank stetson

      Snl for sure.

      Right after the skit about Don Jrs wife takes over the RnC and diverts alk donations to Trump’s lawyers. Now the Know Nothing, Do Nothing, Just Say No Nepotism party adding nrw meaning to sleeping your way to the top.

      Or the one where Don at mara loser compares himself to Navalny in a siberian gulag.

      At least ittgetting funny again.

      Hard days was ground breaking but yeah, a little boring. But the camera work is special.

      Biden just was not funny and he’s a funny guy. Just a bad idea. His team sucks at messaging, marketing, and branding. His “political management system” he calls PMS conflicts with his ageism program “forever young” or FY. Although his plan to increase wages.. Up Yours, could be a winner.

      • Tom

        Yes SNL for sure, and yes on Don Jr. Wife as RNC Head – that will be funny! I hope SNL does it! I got a good chuckle out of your response.

        In a survey done by the Chinese Government which attempted to explain why some Chinese students do better at Liberty University and some Chinese students do poorly when they all have very similar backgrounds and intelligence one of the conclusions was that Chinese students who partnered with American students did much better. One of the things noted as a factor causing Chinese students to be isolated was American Humor. Most Chinese students can not understand it so they tend to socialize with their own rather than Americans. Sounds like you ran into this same thing. I can just see a large group of Japanese execs staring at you blankly as you stand on the stage after telling your joke. I often have to explain jokes to my wife, particularly the kind of jokes that rely on some slight of word or some form of twisted or perversed logic, or ironic humor. They just do not get these things!

        • FRANK STETSON

          I wish they were staring at me blankly; some had eyes closed, head leaning on one finger, and could have nodded off….. It was really funny. Then they put me in a room and paraded a flottilla of customers by me; I had to beg for a health break. Think it was a 16 hour day followed by 8 hours of drinking. And I don’t drink……

          But alone, cut away from the group, delightful, funny, folks.

          Had my return volley when hosting in the US. Boss decided to take us to a premier fish house, I was like “you got to be kidding,” but he thought it would make them comfortable. Big table, like a dozen folks, my Japanese young engineer sitting next to me is looking at the menu, trying to figure it out, points at an item and I say: “that’s live maine lobster,” to which he looks in shock. Dawns of me, and I add: “they cook it first,” to a beaming smile. We were business friends then…. The next day I took them out: hole in the wall bbq and rib shack. They cut loose, some had never had that much beef in one meal.

          I just find being myself, and true to myself works. Some like it (Tom), some don’t (Horist); I stopped caring long ago and just remember: “they cook it first.”

          Then he got me in Tokyo again when we were having a communal hot pot in the middle of the table and I asked “what’s that,” to hear “crab balls, don’t ask” to see that beaming smile again.

    • larry Horist

      Tom … You are spot on when you not that reduction in package content tends to conceals the full impact of inflation. You need to check the per unit pricing that is included in most grocery labeling. BTW.. I have never heard a senior complain about too much in the package — only the content relative to the price.