Formula What? - Nope, not talking about Formula One Miami or any of the absolute bangers that went down last weekend. Side note: if you haven't been to Miami, I highly recommend it.
Today, we're talking baby formula. Most of you probably don't give a flying fart about it, but putting milk into babies is the best investment a country can make.
Baby formula is the new toilet paper. Think about that.
As of earlier this week, more than 40% of baby formula nationwide is sold out. Not all shelves are empty, but it turns out that many places that sell it have even had to start rationing.
There is new faux and even legitimate outrage over this. After all, this is allegedly the most prosperous country in the world.
Rumors are flying. The whisper is that the Department of Homeland Security is stockpiling it to give to migrants crossing the nation's southern border. Others point their fingers at a recall of several related and prominent formula brands.
The real culprit, though, in our eyes, is trade policy.
It turns out that the U.S. market for baby formula is what I love to call over-regulated. Formula from other parts of the world, namely Europe, does not comply with FDA's labeling requirements.
That tiny little technicality? Well, that makes it illegal here in the Home of the Brave.
It's so illegal that even when people are desperately trying to buy the stuff for their spawns through third-party vendors direct from Europe, customs and border patrol agents are known to seize it at the border.
If only CBP was this good at sniffing out fentanyl, but I digress.
In addition to this policy stance, the new NAFTA agreement that was intended to make North American trade great again under the last administration actually discourages imports of the breast milk substitute from our closest neighbors.
Indeed, through taxes and tariffs, domestic producers have a captive audience for formula production here in the States.
Supply shortages like this make me question our country's policies on trade in a world that has experienced unavoidable globalization in the last 40 years. We aren't living in a world with a global shortage of baby formula. It's localized.
It kind of makes you wonder: if desperate parents can't get formula from other producers around the world, what has gone wrong?