Sunday, November 7, 2010

Dairy Management and the Big Government Cheese Conspiracy

It seems to me that there are multi-billion dollar opportunities to end government programs that are at cross purposes and lower the Federal budget. The most recent is Dairy Management, a subsidiary of the Department of Agriculture, as reported in the New York Times today, spending millions to persuade Americans to eat more cheese to boost prices and consumption for the US dairy industry (not to mention the millions in Federal farm subsidies) and the National Institute of Health telling us that the reason we consume too much fat in our diet is cheese. This is no different than the Federal government extracting penalty taxes from the cigarette manufacturers to pay for anti-smoking campaigns while continuing to subsidize tobacco growers.

The hypocrisy doesn't end there, when one considers the substantial subsidies that have been paid to ethanol producers. Ethanol does not become a cost effective fuel alternative until oil is $120 a barrel. So the Federal goverment subsidizes its production at the same time that it increases the percentage required to be blended into our gasoline, driving production of a heavily subsidized product. Moreover, ethanol takes corn out of the food supply, whether to feed humans or livestock, to burn in our cars.

I hope that the newly re-empowered Republicans are willing to have the guts to say no to these conflicting programs, cutting them back completely to zero, rather than only limiting program growth. How about gutting Dairy management? Repeal the tax on farmers that is used, along with over $5 million of US taxpayer money, to finance its budget and let Dominoes figure out on its own how to make a better tasting pizza. That will save $136 million right away.

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