In this Thursday, Feb. 19, 2015 photo, a participant holds her nose as she tries a "Cricket Consomme," a broth made from crickets at a seminar on edible insects at Le Cordon Bleu. A group of chefs and food scientists at the esteemed French school's branch in Bangkok spent the week simmering, sautéing and grilling insects to extract innovative flavors they say could open a new frontier for the world of gastronomy. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

Finally, people have found something to agree about.

Last week, economics professor Teresa Ghilarducci penned an op-ed for Bloomberg News in which she offers tips on how people who earn less than $289,000 a year can cope with inflation.

Her piece got quite a negative Twitter reaction from people across the political spectrum.

If you make over $289,000 a year, the column tells us, inflation will not sting as bad as it would if you make $50,000 a year.

Paying upwards of $5.00 for a gallon of gas is a lot harder to do when you don’t make nearly $300,000 a year, apparently.

I majored in English, but even I could figure that out.

But the advice she gives to plebeians to cope with inflation is what really set the negative Twitter reactions off.

How to deal with rising fuel prices? Ditch your car — heck, sell it as a shortage of new cars has made your used car worth way more than it should be — and jump on a bus.

Public transportation fares are only up 8% compared to gasoline which is up 38%, you see.

You may not like riding on the bus — I like to drive directly to my desired destination — but tough beans for you because some people are secretly very happy fuel costs are soaring and you are being forced to choose greener alternatives.

The cost of meat has soared considerably, as well, but not to worry, porridge is good for you! Simply replace your Sunday pot roast with a bowl of lentil and bean soup.

Though her column didn’t mention it, some think now is also a good time to try another alternative to meat: edible bugs!

Unlike cows and pigs, raising edible insects requires a fraction of the land, water and other resources. Bugs are cold-blooded invertebrates. They are efficient. Much more of the food they eat is converted into edible bug body parts than is the case with our friends the cows.

Cows are warm-blooded vertebrates. They need to consume lots of food just to keep their body temperature steady. Their food is grown on farms. Fossil fuels must be burned to harvest, process and transport that food. Farming requires lots of land and water.

In other words, inflationary pressures offer a great opportunity to explore new delicacies, such as Bug Wellington and Bug Tartare.

Were you among the millions of Americans who got a pet during covid? I am. I was blessed to be joined by my best buddy ever, Thurber the yellow Labrador.

But being a plebe, the column suggests, I probably didn’t think things through and I’d be wise to “rethink those costly pet medical needs.”

That is, if it comes down to Thurber getting a pricy medical treatment to save his life, maybe it’s better to just let the little guy suffer on to an untimely end — because pet medical procedures are best paid for by people earning $300,000 or more per year.

I know I am just a commoner, but I, too, have some ideas on how to beat inflation.

I’m going to vote the dummies out of office whose inane government spending policies are directly causing the value of our money to erode.

And when they lose their taxpayer-funded paychecks, I’ll gladly point them to the least expensive places to get edible bug soup.

Tom Purcell is an author and humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Email him at

One reply on “PURCELL: How commoners can cope with inflation”

  1. The lower you go on the wage spectrum, the more people are affected. Duh! We can buy smaller vehicles and drive less. We don’t have to eat meat, but bugs. . . uh, no! Those of us who were alive in the ’70s remember similar inflationary times.

    “Inane government spending?” Dude, you’ve just described all politicians, so “voting them out” is not going to happen. Besides, economic matters are largely outside the control of American legislators. The World Bank dictates most financial matters. We can control our spending, however, but have chosen not to do so.

    We have a debt crisis in this country and it is about to reach its apex. This problem began in 1972, when the dollar was taken off the gold standard. Many administrations, both republican and Democratic, have borrowed money, mostly needlessly and have contributed to the problem. Our fate was sealed when we borrowed trillions from our good friends, the communist Chinese to fund needless and unbudgeted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. No one ever expects those loans to be repaid and money matters are all just on paper, anyway, as our currency is worth nothing. But the effect of all or accumulated debt, as well as the debt of each and every one of us, will soon come to bear on our economy. The dollar will have to be devalued, and that will cause debts to be defaulted on and will result in inflation, the likes of which we have never seen in this country. It will be akin to what Europeans experienced following WW2. At that point, the dollar will cease to be the worlds reserve currency and will be replaced, most likely, by the yuan. We’ve been frittering away our financial systems, while the Chinese have very-wisely been positioning themselves to become the world’s dominant power.

    Notice that the author is a humorist. End of story.

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