09 May 2011

peace out farm subsidies

i am and have always been opposed to federal subsidies to america's farmers. it's not that i dislike farmers or dislike food, it's that i am enraged by the effects of these subsidies on a variety of other government programs, and their resulting financial and health-related burdens.

let's start with corn. the u.s. government subsidizes about 50% of the corn produced in america, at a cost of about $10 billion per year (much of which is subsidizing ethanol, which in and of itself is a stupid and wasteful attempt to ween ourselves off of oil). of that amount, between $1.5-$3 billion per year is for full-stop corn. and what is it that we do with all that corn?

we make popcorn. we have corn on the cob, creamed corn, and corn mash. and we have high fructose corn syrup, also known as the fattening poison used to make soda, potato chips, unhealthy juices, and other high calorie, zero value foods that are priced so cheaply that they present themselves as the best options to those least able to afford to eat healthy. and why is this a problem?

because the consumption of that shit has resulted in societal obesity, an increase in type-2 diabetes, and an across-the-board increase in medical costs - much of which falls back on federal and state governments who are subsidizing medical care if not full-stop paying the medical bills via medicaid (i mean, it's a bigger problem with the poor, who are the ones benefitting from the low cost of junk food). which also means that i'm paying for it, not just with my tax dollars, but with higher insurance premiums and co-pays, and costlier services for my own health care.

which is, in a word (or three), complete fucking bullshit!

more simply put, costly government farm subsidies = even more costly government health costs = higher taxes and higher healthcare costs for you and me.

there are many other associated costs of these subsidies, ranging from trade barriers to encouraging inefficiencies in farming, to the destruction of fertile farmlands (these big ass farms destroy the lands with chemicals and overuse), and the devastation of small farmers (here and around the world) to the benefit of the corporate big-money farms. in the end, we lose, our government loses, poor countries lose, our health loses, and the market loses.

so let's take away the subsidies, put $10 billion per year back in the government coffers, and let the market right-size the value of america's farms and the fruits of its labors.


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