Sunday, November 7, 2010

Cutting Federal Spending Really Isn't That Hard

And I mean cutting out the fat, not the lean--literally.  Professor Adler over at Volokh Conspiracy points to the insanity of one part of the government discouraging obesity--while another part actively encourages it:
I love cheese.  I really do.  But I recognize that it, like many things, is best enjoyed in moderation.  This is also a message pushed by the federal government — or at least one part of it — as part of efforts to encourage healthy eating and fight obesity.  Yet another part of the federal government is pushing cheese, lots of it.
Adler links to this November 6, 2010 New York Times article about how the U.S. Department of Agriculture (under both Bush and Obama Administrations) has been actively encouraging companies to increase the dairy fat content of their products.  Domino's was having trouble selling their pizzas--so:


Then help arrived from an organization called Dairy Management. It teamed up with Domino’s to develop a new line of pizzas with 40 percent more cheese, and proceeded to devise and pay for a $12 million marketing campaign.


Consumers devoured the cheesier pizza, and sales soared by double digits. “This partnership is clearly working,” Brandon Solano, the Domino’s vice president for brand innovation, said in a statement to The New York Times.

But as healthy as this pizza has been for Domino’s, one slice contains as much as two-thirds of a day’s maximum recommended amount of saturated fat, which has been linked to heart disease and is high in calories.
The total budget of Dairy Management (a USDA program) is only $140 million--in the larger scheme of things, not so much.  But it reminds of the insanity of subsidies to tobacco farmers while discouraging smoking because it causes cancer.  Would it not make more sense to wipe out one program so that the other program either becomes less necessary--or is at least not actively subverting the health enhancement efforts?  No, that would be logical.

1 comment:

Rich Rostrom said...

There are no subsidies to tobacco farmers today, and as far as I can tell never were.

Instead, tobacco production and imports were restricted to keep up prices.

From 1938 to 2004, tobacco growing was restricted under an allotment system. The Department of Agriculture allocated the right to grow so many pounds of tobacco to farmers. By such restrictions on tobacco supply, the price was kept up.

There was a price support program which provided loans to producers to allow them to hold tobacco stocks for long periods and wait for better prices.

In 2004 the system was abolished and $9.6 billion was paid out to allotment holders in compensation.