Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Food subsidies

Just finished writing about the energy subsidies when I found this article on food. An interesting counterpoint to the Tea Party: instead of fiscal austerity, this guy wants the government to provide free cooking classes to people. However, he too opposes subsidies (in this case, for food), saying they represent $3 billion down the tubes each year. Anti-subsidy sentiment has been around for years, but giving money to farmers has always been so politically convenient. Need cooperation on your legislation from the representative from Indiana? Increase the subsidies. Senator from Iowa in your way? Increase the subsidies.

Another interesting quote: "Food-related deaths are far more common than those resulting from terrorism, yet the F.D.A.’s budget is about one-fifteenth that of Homeland Security." He proposes disbanding the USDA and subsidizing "home cooking" and "healthful foods." (Could this be a contradiction?) He wants to ban concentrated animal feeding operations and encourage sustainable production of meat. That means more expensive meat- is he ok with that? Sort of, I guess, since he says he wants vegetables to be a larger part of our diet.

Overall he's got many proposals, and honestly I mostly agree with him, but the world is complicated. See if you can think of some of the unintended consequences of this guy's proposed policies and list them in the comments.


  1. With the banning of concentrated animal feeding operations, more land will be necessary for raising animals for food. This in turn could lead to increased land that would be permanently ruined by the constant grazing of animals. Along with this, increased erosion could be a possible issue to the watershed and area around these lands.

  2. I like the author's ideas to promote healthier eating and healthier ways to raising our food. I couldn't believe that the majority of our corn and soy aren't used for eating. I don't understand how a subsidy is given to people who make plenty of money and make harmful products. The fact that the USDA is providing money for over processed food and at the same time telling you to eat healthier is very hypocritical of them. The FDA should get more money, at least half of what the USDA gets, I think they would put it to better use.