Political Calculations
Unexpectedly Intriguing!
26 November 2021

We're posting this super early in the morning to help get you off to a strong start in solving a problem you already have. That problem? What to do with the leftovers now crowding your refrigerator from yesterday's Thanksgiving dinner!

Sam the Cooking Guy has a solution for what to do with your leftover stuffing: use it in your breakfast omelette! We've queued up the following video to get you going. Just a quick note before you start watching - he does a commercial for SimpliSafe's home security system during it, so when you get to it at about the 4:47 mark, you can skip past nearly all of it by advancing the video to the 6:06 mark:

Here's the quick list of ingredients in the order they're added to the non-stick skillet (at low heat):

  • Salted butter
  • Leftover stuffing
  • Eggs (he uses three eggs beaten with salt and pepper)
  • Cheese (he uses two slices of American singles)

And that's pretty much it. If you want help with the rest of your leftovers, we have some options listed below from previous Thanksgivings....

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25 November 2021

For as long as we've celebrated Thanksgiving at Political Calculations, we've never once provided any information for doing the one thing most Americans' Thanksgiving dinners depend upon. Cooking a turkey.

Sure, we've featured information on how to carve a turkey. We've twice featured information on how to avoid hurting yourself and others when cooking a turkey. And we've featured the Swedish Chef cooking a turkey, although to be fair, no turkey was actually cooked during that production.

So we're going to rectify that situation today by featuring two videos that will take you through the process of cooking a turkey! But before we begin, let's just say that if your turkey is still frozen rock solid, you should skip the videos and find out what restaurants might be open near you instead....

Our first featured video will take you through the basics of what you need to know about the full process of cooking a turkey in about 12 and a half minutes. Please be aware the process in real life takes much longer....

Our second video runs a little over eight minutes and features much of the same information, but is aimed for a slightly different audience. An audience that's somewhat intimidated by not just cooking a turkey, but being judged for how well they might cook it.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving, and good luck with your turkey this year!

P.S. We're not done with cooking tips, so check back in tomorrow for an idea of what to do with your Thanksgiving dinner leftovers!

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24 November 2021

In 2020, the average live weight of a turkey raised on a U.S. farm was nearly unchanged from 2019's final recorded average of 32.7 pounds per bird. That stagnation ended what had been a 40 year long trend of growth in the average size of turkeys produced on U.S. farms.

Average Live Weight of Turkeys Raised on U.S. Farms, 1929-2020 with Estimate for 2021

In the chart above, we've shown that new trend of stagnation continuing based on early signs that production factors such as the rising costs of feed, fuel, and labor for producing turkeys in the U.S. will affect the growth of the average turkey much the same as it did during the inflationary 1970s. Should the finalized data for 2021 confirm that's the case when it is released next year, it will indicate U.S. turkey producers are dealing with today's inflation similarly to how they did during that period of relative stagnation for the U.S. economy.

References

U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service. Livestock Historic Data. [Online Database: Survey - Animals & Products - Poultry - Turkeys - Production - Turkeys Production Measured in Head - Total - National - US Total - 1929-2021 - Annual - Year]. Accessed 14 November 2021.

U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service. Livestock Historic Data. [Online Database: Survey - Animals & Products - Poultry - Turkeys - Production - Turkeys Production Measured in LB - Total - National - US Total - 1929-2021 - Annual - Year]. Accessed 14 November 2021.

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23 November 2021

An estimated 214 million turkeys were raised on U.S. farms in 2021, down 4.5% from 2020's 224 million. That decline continues an ongoing downward trend that has now lasted for 25 years.

Number of Turkeys Raised on U.S. Farms, 1929-2020 with Estimate for 2021

2021 saw the fewest number of turkeys produced on U.S. farms since 1986. Turkey production had soared during the late 1980s and early 1990s thanks to that era's low-fat diet craze, which saw a sharp increase in demand for lean turkey meat.

On a side note, we now have turkey production data going back to 1929!

References

U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service. Livestock Historic Data. [Online Database: Survey - Animals & Products - Poultry - Turkeys - Production - Turkeys Production Measured in Head - Total - National - US Total - 1929-2021 - Annual - Year]. Accessed 14 November 2021.

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22 November 2021

The cost of providing a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner to 10 people in 2021 is 14% higher than a year ago. The same food that cost $46.90 in 2020 now costs $53.31.

That's according to the results of the American Farm Bureau Federation's annual survey of the cost of a Thanksgiving dinner were released one week before Thanksgiving 2021. In the following chart, we've visualized the Farm Bureau's year-over-year comparison of the costs of the food in their traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner shopping list.

Cost of a Traditional Thanksgiving Turkey Dinner, 2020 vs 2021

In the chart, we've ranked the cost of the individual items and groupings used by the Farm Bureau for their traditional turkey dinner menu from high to low according to their 2021 cost as you read from left to right. We've also tallied the cumulative cost of the meal, with the totals for each shown on the far right side of the chart.

Ranking the data this way lets us see that the increase in the cost of turkey is responsible for most of the year-over-year increase. Rising by $4.60 from 2020's $19.39 to 2021's $23.99 for a 16-pound bird, turkey alone accounts for nearly 72% of the year-over-year increase in the total cost for the meal.

Why are turkeys so much more costly in 2021? Here's a partial explanation:

Last Friday, the USDA's Turkey Market News Report showed that smaller 8- to 16-pound frozen turkeys were selling for $1.41 per pound, up from $1.15 the year before, a 22 percent increase. Large frozen turkeys were selling for a couple cents less. Meanwhile, fresh small birds were more expensive — $1.47 per pound — though the year-over-year increase was less, only 15 cents. Exacerbating the issue is that the total number of turkeys for 2021 is also down: six percent lower year-to-date in 2021 than in 2020.

Justin Benavidez, assistant professor of agricultural economics with Texas A&M's AgriLife, told the nearby KRHD News that this decreased production was the primary cause of the price increase. "This is actually one of those rare situations where the pandemic didn't have much to do with the supply and demand of turkey," he was quoted as saying.

But Gregory Martin, a poultry educator with Penn State Extension, didn't entirely agree, instead pointing to larger inflation concerns. "Prices are going to go up simply because of the cost to get the birds in the store," he told Lancaster Farming.

We'll be looking closer at American turkeys all this week!

References

American Farm Bureau Federation. Farm Bureau: Survey Shows Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Up 14%. [Online Article]. 18 November 2021.

American Farm Bureau Federation. Thanksgiving Dinner Cost Survey: 2021 Year to Year Prices. [PDF Document]. 18 November 2021.

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After being beaten back by rising inflation concerns, the S&P 500 (Index: SPX) rebounded to reach a new record high closing value of 4,704.54 on Thursday, 18 November 2021, but retreated below that level to end the week at 4,697.96.

From the perspective of the alternative futures spaghetti forecast chart, the trajectory of the S&P 500 is riding just within the upper end of the redzone forecast range.

Alternative Futures - S&P 500 - 2021Q4 - Standard Model (m=-2.5 from 16 June 2021) - Snapshot on 19 Nov 2021

We suspect that investors are refocusing their forward-looking attention on 2022-Q2 since the Federal Reserve is now expected to initiate a new round of Federal Funds Rate hikes to address the persistent inflation that has developed since January 2021. The CME Group's FedWatch Tool is anticipating two, maybe three rate hikes in 2022 for the Federal Funds Rate set by the U.S. Federal Reserve. The FedWatch Tool predicts a greater than 50% probability for at least two quarter point rate hikes, the first in June 2022 and the second in September 2022, but is now giving just under a 50% probability of a third quarter point rate hike in December 2022.

Here are the market moving headlines from the third week of November 2021:

Monday, 15 November 2021
Tuesday, 16 November 2021
Wednesday, 17 November 2021
Thursday, 18 November 2021
Friday, 19 November 2021

We're shifting gears for the rest of the week with our annual week-long celebration of Thanksgiving, starting with a look at the inflation in the cost of a traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner for 2021.

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About Political Calculations

Welcome to the blogosphere's toolchest! Here, unlike other blogs dedicated to analyzing current events, we create easy-to-use, simple tools to do the math related to them so you can get in on the action too! If you would like to learn more about these tools, or if you would like to contribute ideas to develop for this blog, please e-mail us at:

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