Tagged: subsidies

NationalJournal.com – Ag Committee Supports Cuts to Food Assistance, Not Farm Subsidies

Of course I’m not surprised:

The House Agriculture Committee endorsed a letter this week to Budget Chairman Paul Ryan arguing that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which helps low-income Americans purchase food, would make a better target for cuts than automatic subsidies to farms.

I have a better idea. Let’s quit the ethanol nonsense, and revert back to using corn for food and feed. Then perhaps the price of corn will go down, resulting in lower food costs. You still want to cut SNAP? Then stick to growing corn for food and feed and work towards reducing the cost of food overall.

Farm subsides have been given out since the Great Depression. Due to our current economic situation, it’s time to reevaluate the program.

NationalJournal.com – Ag Committee Supports Cuts to Food Assistance, Not Farm Subsidies – Monday, March 21, 2011.

Healthcare Debate

Just read an article in The Week which describes the universal healthcare program in Massachusetts which sounds strongly similar to the program the Feds want to pass now. One of the main points of the article is that Massachusetts, when originally drafting and passing the plan, never took into account the rising costs of healthcare. Thus, when the recession hit, more people were out of work, more people applied for the state subsidies for insurance, and tapped out the insurance fund. The rising healthcare costs fueled a $9 Billion gap, which took away money from education, public safety, and other services.

Similarly, the government plan fails to address the rising costs of healthcare. No way are they going to discuss putting caps or limits on payouts if they want the healthcare industry on board with the plan.

Forced To Buy Health Insurance

Under Sen. Ron Wyden’s the proposed Senate Bill, people who refuse to buy health insurance will be fined over $1000/year.

Called “shared responsibility payments,” the fines would be set at least half the cost of basic medical coverage, according to the legislation.

I’m sorry, I didn’t vote Democratic so they can fine me for not choosing health insurance. As I have said before, I shouldn’t be forced to foot the bill for folks who choose to eat fast food three times a day. The cost for these programs will only go up. And they continue to take more money out of my paycheck to pay for these programs. Yet my pay isn’t going up that fast, which means I’m making less.

According to research done by the Kaiser Family Foundation, National Public Radio, and the Harvard School of Health, health insurance costs individuals an average of $4,800 annually. The cost for families to get insurance is even higher, at around $12,000 annually. These kinds of costs would push many people over the edge financially. How does Sen. Wyden propose that we pay for more people who will be unable to afford food, housing and education if they have to pay for health insurance? Effective health-care reform would be better accomplished by other means. Sen. Wyden’s own proposals to switch America from employer-based to individual health-insurance markets, for example, would do a great amount of good by encouraging competition and innovation without making life harder for the people having the most difficult time getting insurance.

Why not have individual health insurance markets? I can choose my car insurance, life insurance, cell phone provider, internet provider, cable tv provider, etc? Competition would create lower prices.

In Europe, where health care is free and state run, many experts say we may be going down a slippery slope.

Europeans have some of the world’s best hospitals and have made great strides in fighting problems like obesity and heart disease. But the system is far from perfect.

“What we can be proud of in Europe is the ground rules, that everyone has the right to health care,” said Jose Martin-Moreno, a health expert at the University of Valencia in Spain. “But the implementation has been difficult and one size does not fit all.”

Critics say the policies are often driven more by politics than science. Last week, Prime Minister Gordon Brown promised that patients unable to see cancer experts within two weeks would get cash to pay for private care. Brown had previously argued against paying for private providers and some say the reversal may be a gimmick to boost his sagging popularity.

A World Health Organization survey in 2000 found that France had the world’s best health system. But that has come at a high price; health budgets have been in the red since 1988.

“I would warn Americans that once the government gets its nose into health care, it’s hard to stop the dangerous effects later,” said Valentin Petkantchin, of the Institut Economique Molinari in France. He said many private providers have been pushed out, forcing a dependence on an overstretched public system.

“The minute you make health insurance mandatory, people start overusing it,” said Dr. Alphonse Crespo, an orthopedic surgeon and research director at Switzerland’s Institut Constant de Rebecque. “If I have a cold, I might go see a doctor because I am already paying a health insurance premium.”

Corn Industry Says Don’t Blame Us, Again

Here we go again. The corn industry, this time under the guise of the New Fuels Alliance and FoodPriceTruth.org, are saying that higher food prices, in particular, chicken, are NOT a result of more corn going to corn based biofuels instead of chicken feed.

Yeah, right. Same old story.

Iowa Corn Promotion Board says don’t blame us for rising food prices!

Iowa Corn Promotion Board and the Iowa Corn Growers Association are apparently going to launch a consumer-education campaign that says that they are not responsible for food prices going up.

I would partly agree, in that they are not entirely responsible. Of course oil prices, labor costs, transportation costs, etc share some of the blame. But the article ends by advocating the supposedly low extra cost of corn in order to reduce our dependance on foreign oil. [Gee thanks!! So what kind of gas guzzling truck do you drive? ] As more and more farmers switch to growing corn for biofuel rather than food production, food prices have to go up.

Ethanol producers in this country receive a tax credit of 51 cents a gallon, on top of billions of dollars in direct corn subsidies. (In 2005, the most recent year for which figures are available, it was $9 billion.) In Europe biodiesel subsidies can approach $2 a gallon. 

Where does the feed for chicken, pigs, and cattle come from? If farmers can get more money for sending the corn to ethanol distilleries rather than food production facilities, the economics of supply and demand would dictate that food prices would go up. Corn is used everywhere. Less corn for everyday staples, means higher costs for everyday staples.

And as the National Corn Growers Association themselves say, “Ethanol production makes huge amounts of the nation’s corn disappear”.

Exxon,Chevron record profits!

Record profits for big oil! Exxon’s net income in the quarter rose $11.66 billion, from $10.25 billion. and Chevron’s net income rose to $4.88 billion, from $3.77 billion.

Tell me again why we provide oil companies subsidies, tax breaks, and get zero royalties for drilling in federal waters? Especially, when the economy is faltering, unemployment is rising, healthcare costs are skyrocketing, education standards are stagnating.

Ethanol subsidies causing NYC bagel prices to go up

Bagels are costing alot more these days. Why? Ethanol subsidies, paid for by our taxes, allow for grain, that normally go towards food and animal feed, to go to ethanol distilleries.

From ENS, “U.S. taxpayers, by subsidizing the conversion of grain into ethanol, are in effect financing a rise in their own food prices. It is time to end the subsidy for converting food into fuel and to do it quickly before the deteriorating world food situation spirals out of control. ”

All this while in Haiti, they’re literally eating dirt, because food prices have gone up.