Why We Need a "Public Option" for . . . Ketchup
by Andy Adams on October 2, 2009 at 10:31 AM
This talking point has been making the rounds from the Senate Republican Policy Committee:
Senator Kerry just went on about the outrageous profits of health insurers who dominate the market and offer little choice to consumers. That’s an interesting point considering that according to the website of Heinz ketchup, the company holds a 60 percent retail market share. Heinz products enjoy #1 or #2 market share in more than 50 countries. And according to Yahoo Finance, Heinz profits (8.6 percent) are more than double the health insurance industry (3.3 percent). Government run Ketchup, anyone?
I will try my hand at this:
Oh, those evil tomato paste merchants! Your basic 36 oz bottle of ketchup costs $1.59. That is $5.56 per gallon!!! In 2004, when John Kerry was running for President, gas prices rose to $2.31 per gallon, Kerry indignantly declared, "Where is the president? We need a president who is fighting for the American worker, the American family at the fuel pump."
$2.31 per gallon for gas vs. $5.56 per gallon for . . . ketchup?
Senator, I ask you, who is fighting for the American worker, the American family, the American french fry lover, the American hamburger lover at the grocery store?
Let me tell you a story about "Rebecca." Rebecca is a single mother with three boys who love french fries. But, Rebecca can't afford ketchup for her boys' french fries. Big Ketchup gets richer and richer every year, but Rebecca's boys miss the tangy but sweet goodness that is ketchup. Then one day, Rebecca's arm was dislocated while trying to shake ketchup out of the bottle. Now, Rebecca has to buy ketchup in little hard-to-open packets. Why can't Big Ketchup come up with a better way to extract ketchup from the bottle?
We need competition in the ketchup market! We need a public option for ketchup to keep Big Ketchup honest!
Senator Kerry! Will you take the lead?