06 November 2010

DoA

This is the absurdity of many government policies. We will push something that we now also want to tax.

Perhaps we should stop using government money to be pushing things we want to tax or view as negative before considering whether or not we need to tax them to actively discourage them. And this essentially all the department of agriculture does.

We do note that the push for dairy products is partly funded through mandated fees on dairy production (taxes in effect), but it would seem like dairy producers could just as easily compete to push their own products without giving the money over to government agencies. The reason they don't want to is that the government guarantees a level of profit, rent seeking behaviors take over. When government agencies are described as "willing to make bets on behalf of" anything in regarding a specific industry, we of the general public should be very concerned.

Besides which it gets worse than simply taking fees to advertise products that aren't healthy. There are price controls from paying farmers to slaughter their dairy cows. And this is considered at least a marginal improvement from buying up excess supplies of milk products (and other farming production) as we did for decades.

And all of this is going on while the rest of the DoA is advocating that we eat less cheese and fatty food. This would be very confusing if it wasn't such an expected result of the public's amazing and persistent concern for "the rural farmer", a mythical hardy and independent figure in our history who, for the most part, no longer exists in a meaningful way to providing our food supplies. The belief of the public is still that we must pay farmers so that they will grow enough food. But we're in fact paying them NOT to grow foods or, as we used to, paying them for growing TOO MUCH food. When the public believes one thing is going on and the exact opposite is in fact, it's not that hard to sell them on the idea that instead of ridding ourselves of these troublesome price controls from pre-Depression era (and this one is clearly all Hoover's fault, not FDR's), we should apply punitive taxes to discourage our consumption. All while the government will, on with its other less visible hand, continue encouraging that consumption.

We see the same logic applied in tobacco (which we subsidize and), in coal and oil (which we subsidize and tax), in corn syrup (which we subsidize and wish to tax) and so on.
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