I find that lately, I cannot focus my passions. Perhaps it only shows how incredibly uninformed I have been regarding the things of this world.
You are all well aware of my feelings about the institution of The Family. While I’ve always felt that my Family is the most important thing in my life, I was unable to articulate my feelings until I became more aware of the things that are going on, both morally and politically to undermine it.
But apparently it is not possible for me to just find one thing that makes my blood boil. Nope. Sorry about that.
We have heard for YEARS about how bad processed foods are (and sugar and, perhaps at the top of the list of evil foods, corn syrup)
I have a friend (and a sister) with whom I banter about food whenever the occasion arrises. Matt will offer Cherie Karo syrup as refreshment and I’ll tell Heather how bacon and ice cream make my life complete.
Of course I know how bad those sort of things are for me, but they taste so darn good and the alternatives just don’t. Blegh. Turkey bacon? Ewe! Sugar/fat free ANYTHING? No thanks. Pass the butter please!
So obviously the health benefits don’t inspire me. And if a skinny behind and shiny hair won’t do it then what will?
So, in a nutshell, I don’t agree with government subsidies. I think that, not only would anything be better off left to their own devices without government intervention, but what the government pays for, it controls.
So before you get all bet out of shape, Frederic Bastiat said it well when he said the same thing.
In Bastiat’s own words in That Which is Seen and That Which is Not Seen, his critics said that “Thus, if we think that the State should not interfere by taxation in religious affairs, we are atheists. If we think the State ought not to interfere by taxation in education, we are hostile to knowledge. If we say that the State ought not by taxation to give a fictitious value to land, or to any particular branch of industry, we are enemies to property and labour. If we think that the State ought not to support artists, we are barbarians who look upon the arts as useless.”
Then he goes on to say, as I do “Against such conclusions as these I protest with all my strength… we think, on the contrary, that all these living powers of society would develop themselves more harmoniously under the influence of liberty; and that, under such an influence no one of them would, as is now the case, be a source of trouble, of abuses, of tyranny, and disorder.
“Our adversaries consider, that an activity which is neither aided by supplies, nor regulated by Government, is an activity destroyed. We think just the contrary. Their faith is in the legislator, not in mankind; ours is in mankind, not in the legislator.”
So there it is. I believe that industries, with very few exceptions (though there are a few) thrive under a free market system in which they are allowed to grow naturally and, if they no longer are of any value, die out completely.
Let’s pretend that the government subsidizes, for example the production of footballs. And let’s pretend that they aren’t made by machines, but by people. The Government pays every person who makes footballs $1 per ball. The person signs up for this program, which sounds like a sweet deal, since he’s making footballs anyway, he may as well pocket a few more bucks.
Let’s pretend that, under the free market system, it costs 50 cents to make a football and the market rate for footballs is $1. This person makes a profit of 100% (charging twice as much as it cost to make it).
Now that he has signed up for this new awesome government program, it costs him 50 cents to make the ball and he grossed $2. Now he makes a 300% profit, netting $1.50 instead of 50 cents.
Then he gets a letter in the mail from Uncle Sam. He has to use a special kind of leather, only made by a special cow and only a few people raise this cow and they charge a bit more then what you are used to paying. So now, it costs him 75 cents to make the ball. But that is ok, he still makes $1.25. Way better then just 50 cents. And since he is not getting any subsidies for soccer balls or baseballs, he decides to focus solely on footballs. More bang for the buck.
And besides that, football is the great American past time, this guy is set for life. His footballs will always be needed.
Time goes on. The cost of goods go up. Things change. The government starts to “suggest” crazy things that were never thought of before. Now he has to sew his footballs in a 10 by 10 room with a certain amount of light bulbs. Not only that, but the store that buys these footballs to sell to the public are making their demands. Now he has a quota to meet. And now he has to change the way he has constructed these footballs so that he can make as many footballs as possible. The quality goes down as the quantity goes up. Now he has to pay $1.75 for the materials to make his football. Yet he still sells it to the store for only $1. He is not allowed to increase the price because the government says. But he still gets the $1 from the government. Without the help from Uncle Sam, he would be in the hole 75 cents for every football that he makes… yet because of it, he nets 25 cents. So at least he is in the black…
Except that he is making 25 cents less then he was without the government’s help.
But there is one last thing. It has just been proven that playing and watching football causes diabetes and heart disease.
Since the effects of football are reaching epidemic proportions, the government spends hundreds of dollars for public awareness and education.
And the American public is angry! How could the sporting good stores and football players do this to us? We are outraged at this disease and how it is taking the lives of millions of Americans and draining the quality of life from the rest of us!
What we don’t see is the government, while spending hundreds on public awareness/education, is spending thousands on paying those football makers to just keep on making footballs. Since this guy has been making footballs and been beaten down by the requirements and quotas and threats of loosing his customers for so long, he has completely lost hope. Besides that, even if he wanted to do get into another industry, he’s too old, he is in too much debt and there is no way that he would be able to.
And at the same time, the legislature is making it virtually impossible to say anything bad about football, even though we all know how bad it is.
Pretty crazy huh. That would NEVER happen in America.
That is exactly what is going on with corn. Exactly. Only it’s even more sinister and deep rooted then that.
Food, Inc. goes through what has happened to the food industry in general. If you are only have 91 minutes to spare, this is the one to watch. It’s by the same people who made An Inconvenient Truth, but don’t let that turn you off! They are bound to get something right, if only by accident :) Let’s not pretend there are two political parties anymore. They are all the same. But that is a post for another day.
If you have more then that, King Corn is kind of a Napoleon Dynamite-esque documentary that follow a pair of guys who plant one acre of corn and follow it’s progress. It was fascinating and has single handedly convinced me to severely limit (if not cut out entirely) corn syrup from my diet. Again, not because of health reasons, but because I cannot voluntarily financially support this kind of welfare system.
Don’t bother with Killer at Large. That was like a bad high school paper on partisan politics thinly disguised as a food documentary.
Corn is in EVERYTHING! It’s even in our meat since most of our beef is corn fed (though it destroys their stomachs). And I’m not talking about sweet corn that we eat. I’m talking feed corn that is disgusting for humans to eat. It is the #1 field crop in the united states. Not only that, but the US is the #1 corn producer in the world. The corn industry will talk on and on about how we are exporting this food to impoverished nations, except that the corn that we are growing ISN’T FOOD! It’s FEED. As in livestock feed. And bad feed at that.
People get mad at the companies that are making these products. They should be getting mad at the government programs that are paying for them to be produced! Don’t get mad at the football players.
These companies are in it for the money. We all are in it for the money, if we weren’t, then we would always buy the best quality no matter the cost, rather then the cheapest or biggest “bang for your buck”.
All of these organic farm and health food companies are all owned by the same big companies that are feeding us the inexpensive junk (tasty, but still junk). We are giving them our money anyway, we may as well give it to them because they are doing something we support rather then something we don’t.
I promise that if it was no longer financially worth it for companies to keep their chickens and cows standing in their own filth, then. they wouldn’t. If everyone ONLY bought free range and vegetarian fed eggs, then that is all that would be made. The free market system works! The problems happen when the government tries to over-regulate (some regulation is necessary) and subsidize. And then it is no longer free market is it?
I understand that not everyone can afford eating this way. But it is SO important that those of us who can afford it, support the good.
We cast a vote every single time we check out at the grocery store.
Who do you vote for?