23 April, 2007

The Farm Bill– Yes, it's gonna cost you.

From the New York Times Magazine: A fascinating look at the U.S. Farm Bill, which is a five-year subsidy plan for the Agriculture sector, and its (mostly) adverse effect on nutrition, on the environment, on global poverty, even on immigration (NAFTA cakes, anyone?). A couple of choice quotes:
"A public-health researcher from Mars might legitimately wonder why a nation faced with what its surgeon general has called “an epidemic” of obesity would at the same time be in the business of subsidizing the production of high-fructose corn syrup. But such is the perversity of the farm bill: the nation’s agricultural policies operate at cross-purposes with its public-health objectives."

". . . a school lunch lady trying to prepare healthful fresh food is apt to get dinged by U.S.D.A. inspectors for failing to serve enough calories; if she dishes up a lunch that includes chicken nuggets and Tater Tots, however, the inspector smiles and the reimbursements flow. The farm bill essentially treats our children as a human Disposall for all the unhealthful calories that the farm bill has encouraged American farmers to overproduce."

". . . Americans may tell themselves they don’t have a national land-use policy, that the market by and large decides what happens on private property in America, but that’s not exactly true. The smorgasbord of incentives and disincentives built into the farm bill helps decide what happens on nearly half of the private land in America"
While this is hardly a new, or surprising issue, it's nice to see it getting some press. I don't think that most citizens of the United States are aware that the hypocrisy and cynically self-serving attitude that has come to light with the current presidential administration is hardly limited to them— the whole of the government is to blame –and has for some time now– for letting big business fuck regular people in the ass. After all, the legislators who so cheerfully bend over for campaign contributions and perks from lobbyists in exchange for things like the Farm Bill aren't the ones who feel the effects, when all is said and done. They're rich. They can go shop at Whole Foods, or Trader Joe's, where good, healthy, organic food is sold- at a premium, of course.

1 comment:

Bryony said...

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