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Whole Foods Merger, Ethanol's Impact and Health Savings Accounts

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Whole Foods Merger, Ethanol's Impact and Health Savings Accounts

A federal court calls into question the recent merger of Whole Foods and Wild Oats natural food stores.

South Asian leaders meet to discuss food shortages.

Individual Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) gain popularity over traditional employer-provided insurance.

1. BUSINESS

A federal court calls into question the recent merger of Whole Foods and Wild Oats natural food stores.

CEI Expert Available to Comment: President Fred L. Smith on how antitrust law applies to organic grocery stores:

“To the Federal Trade Commission, the market is a static, fragile flower that must be protected by wise regulators. Yet the purpose of markets is not simply to provide established goods at reasonable prices but to encourage continuous innovation, for entrepreneurs to find new consumer wants and needs, and fulfill them as swiftly as possible. Whatever the merits of organic foods — which may be dubious — affluent urban consumers have made natural foods a highly profitable business. And the FTC should be seeking to maximize consumer welfare whether the product is a new car or an organic carrot.”

 

2. INTERNATIONAL

South Asian leaders meet to discuss food shortages.

CEI Expert Available to Comment: Senior Fellow Iain Murray on how ethanol mandates have contributed to stained food supplies:

“Last year, Congress, with the backing of the President, increased the amount of ethanol American refineries are required to add to our gasoline, with the aim of doubling that amount by 2015. With other ethanol manufacturing methods not ready for prime time -- and burdensome trade barriers keeping out sugar cane ethanol imports -- that means doubling the domestic production of ethanol from corn. That in turn means a significant reduction in the amount of corn available to eat. The U.S. is the world's largest corn supplier, but the World Bank found recently that not a single grain of the increase in corn plantings since 2004 had filled anybody's stomach. It had all gone to ethanol.”

 

3. ENVIRONMENT

Individual Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) gain popularity over traditional employer-provided insurance.

CEI Expert Available to Comment: Center for Entrepreneurship Director John Berlau on the advantages of an HSA:

“…unlike the old flexible spending accounts, which you have to ‘use or lose’ by the end of the year, an HSA can accumulate interest, dividends and capital gains year after year for 20, 30, or even 40 years until you reach the age of 65. And the same insurance policy remains in your hands regardless of whether you change jobs or become self-employed.”