Can government save Twinkies?
It is a dark, dark day in the hallowed halls of junk food lore. After 82 years of titillating the taste buds of generations of Americans, the Twinkie has assumed room temperature.
Hostess had been embroiled in a nationwide strike by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union during a time of financial distress. To quote Chief Executive Gregory Rayburn, “We deeply regret the necessity of today's decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike.”
Frank Hurt, president of the union, claimed that the financial crisis for Hostess was “the result of nearly a decade of financial and operational mismanagement.” He went on to claim that the company was attempting to make union workers “scapegoats” in an effort to sell the assets of Hostess.
While there appears to be plenty of finger pointing to go around, shouldn't the federal government intervene in this tragedy as they have in prior financial crises?
Remember the auto bailouts of GM and Chrysler? Where is the federal government with a “Twinkie Bailout?” What about “Cash for Clunkers?” Would it not be prudent for the government to step in with a “Cash for Cup Cakes” rescue as well?
Of course, there is a contingent of politicians and bureaucrats that will be dancing with delight that this American icon has gone by the wayside. Mayor Nanny Bloomberg of New York City, who has waged a jihad against junk food and sugary drinks, must feel a sense of satisfaction.
Whatever point of view one may have, the toll in human terms is stark indeed. In excess of 18,000 jobs will be lost. Job loss is not the only tragedy. There are 565 distribution centers, 570 bakery outlet stores and 33 bakeries that will be shuttered. This is not exactly good news for a precarious job market and an economy slogging through a difficult recovery.
It is sad to see another staple of American culture that so many of us have grown up with fade from view. Sorry to wax nostalgic, but so much of what we have come to know over the decades has been super-sized, streamlined, renamed, replaced or has just simply gone away.
The Twinkie was a constant, until now.