❮BOOKS❯ ✫ The Big Handout Author Thomas M. Kostigen – Golanvideoagency.info

The Big Handout Just Reading The Word Subsidies May Cause Many People S Eyes To Glaze Over We Don T Think Itaffects Us Directly, So We Tune Out But It Turns Out That This Complicated Sounding Issue Has An Enormous Impact On All Of Us The Big Handout Is About Bad Fiscal, Environmental, Agricultural, Water, Energy, Health, And Foreign Policies And It S A Story About Just One Thing SubsidiesA Subsidy Is A Grant By The Government To A Private Business That Is Deemed Advantageous To Thepublic Cotton, Wheat, Corn, Soy, And Oil Are The Most Subsidized Commodities In The United States Inthis Eye Opening Book, New York Times Best Selling Author Thomas Kostigen Explores Government Policies That Cost TaxpayersBillion Per Year, Over , Per Household In Some Cases We Pay For Subsidized Goods Than We D Pay In A Free Market And, In The Most Shocking Abuses Of The Subsidy System, We Pay For Goods That Aren T Even Produced The Big Handout Exposes How Artificial Pricing Hurts Us And People Worldwide, From Our Waistlinesand Pocketbooks To Our Health By Revealing Just How Toxic America S Subsidy System Has Become, For Everyone, The Big Handout Is A Wake Up Call That Empowers Readers To Effect Change This book makes an interesting counterpoint to Clean Energy Nation, by Congressman Jerry McNerney, which I reviewed in August McNerney is a Democrat, has a high regard for the sustainable energy policies pursued by President Jimmy Carter in the 1970s while regretting the micromanagement and lack of higher level political skills that helped to doom those policies, thinks well of Clinton and Obama, and is not so fond of Ronald Reagan and George W Bush Kostigen is libertarian leaning, considers the Cato Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Heritage Foundation good and respectable sources, and admires Ronald Reagan as one of our great presidents These two men are not coming from the same place, in their political worldviews.Yet the underlying central message of the two books is the same Our economic, energy, and agricultural policies are unsustainable, doing damage to our planet, endangering our national security, and making us poorer McNerney attacked the problem from the perspective of energy policy Kostigen comes at it primarily through agricultural and other corporate subsidies.Yes, other corporate subsidies, because while 80% of our farms are smaller family owned operations, nearly all of the agricultural subsidies, direct and indirect, go to the 20% that are owned by large corporate agribusiness entities For some subsidies, small farms aren t even eligible We think of farm subsidies as helping the ordinary farmer on a family owned farm, vulnerable to the hazards of weather, natural disaster, and uncertain demand, but the reality is that those subsidies are primarily going to farmers who are corporate executives.Kostigan lays out in careful detail how this distorts our agriculture, our food bills, our diets, and our international relations Subsidies encourage high capacity factory farms or, in the preferred terminology, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs These CAFOs crowd animals together in ways that promote the spread of disease among the animals, requiring routine use of antibiotics, which aren t completely eliminated from the animals systems and affect us, promoting the growth of drug resistant bacteria They create toxic runoff which damages our waterways and causes dead zones along our coasts They help to drive smaller farms, that operatesustainably not due to ideology, but simply because it s what makes practical sense for smaller farms out of business.Corn is heavily subsidized, so making high fructose corn syrup and using it as a substitute for sugar is cheap Sugar, meanwhile, is artificially high in price due to tariffs designed to keep out foreign sugar Result Artificially cheap HFCS is used to make low quality food, including junk food, tastier andattractive to us, while healthier foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and sustainably raised meats areexpensive than they would otherwise be There sthan one factor in the obesity epidemic in America, but the rise of obesity as a major problem tracks very well with the rise of the use of High Fructose Corn Syrup in our food.We pay to lower the cost of agricultural production, and we get some benefit here, but the greater part of the effect is to make our agricultural products cheaper on the world market enough cheaper that in developing countries, we re driving local farmers out of business The result is that they have no income, and even our cheap food is hard for them to buy and they are angry, resentful, andsusceptible to the recruiting efforts of Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.Kostigen, while focusing mainly on agricultural subsidies, also talks about subsidies to the oil industry the most profitable industry in the history of the planet McNerney focuses heavily on global warming and its effects Kostigen says, no matter what you think of global warming, it s bad for our health to inhale the pollutants that burning fossil fuels puts into the air, and we re paying to encourage this to continue, rather that switching tosustainable, less polluting, energy sources.I haven t, and won t, discuss the numbers in detail you re better off reading Kostigen s discussion of them However, he lays out those numbers very clearly, and while we get some savings at the cash register due to the subsidies, those savings are a small fraction of what we re spending In exchange, we get air pollution, water pollution, soil erosion, and increased hostility to our country around the world.There s a lot to take in here, and I haven t scratched the surface This book is really a must read for anyone concerned about our economy.Highly recommended.I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. We pay bout 1,500 per household for food subsidies however, these subsidies do not reduce our market prices significantly, instead they fuel world terrorism as poor farmers cannot globally compete due to unfair trading Moreover, these subsidies lead to unhealthy eating as unhealthy foods are subsidized, and the subsidies lead to environmental degradation as they contribute to bad environmental behavior so is the premise of the book The figures are really shocking just billions of subsidies spent each year on meat, dairy, corn, sugar, fish but so little on fruits and vegetables Corn is then made into high fructose corn syrup, which hasfructose than cane sugar, worse for the body than sugar 184 Subsidized fruits and vegetables make up 2.5% of farm subsidies 112 Moreover, being able to afford to eat healthy is another issue A UCLA study found that a typical grocery bill consumes three times as much of a low income family s income than a middle income family s income 115 We dump our goods on third world markets that cannot defend themselves that is they cannot compete for profit, for economic survival, so they are left humiliated and with no other options and turning to terrorism can become salvation 194 The WHO found subsidies in America lead to unhealthy people i.e increased weight 184 185 This refers to American subsidies for high fructose corn syrup, sugar, meat, and dairy, creating cheaper prices for those foods while vegetables and fruits remain expensive.Also of interest is how these subsidies create an unfair playing field in our American market Entrepreneurs cannot supply milk at less than the government prices 58 There is an interesting story of Hettinga, a Dutch born dairyman living in U.S., who was run out of business by other dairy farmers because he was bottling his own milk, which Congress made illegal as a result 60 See Thomas Friedman NY Times article re terrorism and food subsidies Nicholas Stern, chief economist at the Wold Bank critiques America as hypocritical for espousing free trade and then erect ing obstacles in precisely those markets in which developing countries have a comparative advantage 198 Our American sugar prices are above world prices due to subsidies and loans 68 Our tariffs are very high on foreign sugar, so we use almost exclusively American sugar 66 67 We have also highly subsidized rice despite the fact that it does not make sense to farm it here having to flood areas that are not naturally inundated with water.costs twice as much to grow rice in the U.S as in Vietnam 94. Kostigen paints a detailed, alarming picture of how the whole subsidy system, started during the Depression in good or better faith, has now become a mighty albatross around taxpayer necks and a source of anti American ill will worldwide Most troubles stem from cheap Corn and Soy, whose subsidized abundance ripples through the beef, dairy, poultry, and pork industries, not to mention the totally messed up energy industry Lord, how I hate ethanol There are brief stops along the way in the land of Cotton, Steel, Oil, and Gas equally fascinating and depressing.I ll be reviewing the bookextensively on my UrbanFarmJunkie blog this week www.urbanfarmjunkie.blogspot.com tag The Big Handout , but I d have to say it was overall a demoralizing read Motivating politicians of either stripe to change the system and motivating all those recipients of subsidies to give them up for the common good sounds this side of impossible, so I ll have to settle for my usual MO encouraging people, to buy, cook, and eat real food, grown by small family farmers without the help of government handouts and help from Monsanto products.

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