I have a proposal to reduce the cost of groceries very significantly, something which I think will be welcomed in this goofy economy. We will form grocery buying cooperatives, essentially grocery insurance programs, which will amortize the costs of groceries across all buyers, lowering the costs for all and protecting people from the “oh shit!” moments when they might need to buy extra-ordinary amounts of food, like for a wedding or bar mitzvah.
If you are a member of a grocery insurance program, you will show your membership card at the cash register and will pay a fixed amount of money for your week’s groceries, regardless of how much you need that particular week. Based on some research that I have been doing, I believe that through careful negotiation and the buying power amassed by a large membership, the grocery insurance programs ought to be able to obtain groceries from local supermarkets for as little as 35-45% of “list prices.” These savings will be passed on to members through lower membership fees and lower weekly at-the-cash-register fixed payments.
Membership in the grocery insurance programs will be a neat perk which businesses can offer to their employees. I know that, as a business owner, I am always looking for ways to compensate my employees which do not impose additional income tax burdens on them. The grocery insurance program membership fees would be deductible expenses for the business and, I hope, would be “carved out” by the IRS and not considered taxable income to the employees.
All in all, I think that this will be a tremdously adventageous program which will help Americans.
I can only think of a couple of small problems but I’m sure that we will quickly get them straightened out.
- About 46 milliion Americans, about 18% of us, will not be able to join a grocery insurance program, primarily for one of three reasons: 1) they are unemployed, 2) they have jobs but their employers do not choose to offer this perk to them, or 3) they have reputations for eating too much food and are ineligible.
- Grocery list prices, the prices marked on the shelves and actually paid by the 46 million people who are not grocery insurance program members, will be 2-3x higher than today’s prices.
- Individuals who want to join a program on their own (not through an employer) will need to pay significantly higher membership fees and won’t receive the tax benefits.
Let me reiterate that these are tiny problems. About 82% of us will be unaffected by them and will actually see our grocery bills go down so, in the balance, this is all for the good.
Does this sound ridiculous? Why? We Americans buy health care exactly as described here.