Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Thoughts Exactly OR Conservative Hypocrisy on the Plains

Fighting Food Subsidies with Food Subsidies, posted over at Political Calculations captures my feelings exactly. The irony is that small government, conservative politicians here in Kansas wouldn't dare to touch the farm bill and farm subsidies even though they are a poster child for federal government excess and meddling. They make a big talk about fighting "special interests" but don't dare mention agribusiness because if they did they would be out of office lickety-split. Here's their graph comparing food subsidies to the food pyramid:


  1. wow. seeing the two pyramids together = wicked.

  2. The author of the article wrote

    "Meyerhoefer's and Leibtag's public policy suggestion is significant in that it deviates from the "tax the 'bad' food or ban it" approach favored by many politicians"

    But that's not actually true.

    Since they're examining price elasticities, all that is needed to change behavior is a change in relative prices. You could subsidize "good" foods or tax "bad" foods, and get the exact same result.

    I guess he recognizes that, but still feels the need to present himself as anti-tax.

    Anyway, I love to see articles that reference the American Journal of Agricultural Economics. Good job, Rob.

    Why can't you be more like Rob, Tony?

  3. Aaron wins the "best commenter" award.

    I see your point Aaron about how taxes on bad and subsidies for good could have equivalent effects, but the abstract of the article only mentions subsidies. I think the big point, as expressed in the title of the blog post, is that it's absurd to fight the price lowering effects of subsidies on bad food with other subsidies on good food. I guess it would work, but why not gradually reduce agricultural subsidies, period? (Beyond the obvious political intractability.) In my highly superficial perusal of the source article I can't see that the authors even explore this alternative.