Washington Post Wants You to Pay More for Food -- If the Money Goes to the Government

The Washington Post Editorial Board has long had a government agriculture policy position that is actually grounded in Reality. 

Going back at least half a decade - to the passage of the last terrible Farm Bill - they have been rightly pointing out that the Crony Socialist, picking-losers-at-the-expense-of-winners matrix of taxes, subsidies and quotas is simply a disaster.

Sweetheart Deal - Tuesday, May 6, 2008

(T)he endless wrangling over a piece of (Farm Bill) legislation…has not induced a significant change in the thinking of those who regard it as an opportunity to lock in lush new benefits for American agricultural producers.

Ethanol Takes Policy Blow from the Environmental Protection Agency - November 17, 2013

Once touted as a climate-friendly renewable alternative to foreign oil, the corn-based liquid ethanol has been exposed as an environmental and economic mistake.

Cutting Into Agribusiness’s Subsidy Pie - June 15, 2011

Meanwhile, the ethanol lobby is fighting a rear-guard action to save its corporate welfare, in the form of a 45-cent tax credit for each gallon of ethanol blended into gasoline at the refinery. That works out to roughly $6 billion per year and $1.78 per gallon of gasoline…. 

A Sugar Policy That's Costing America Jobs and Money - January 29, 2011

The combined effect of these measures has been to keep the U.S. (sugar) price well above the world price. According to (New Hampshire Democrat Senator Jeanne) Shaheen, consumers pay an extra $4 billion for their food because of these policies.

When food costs more, consumers buy less of it, and processors must cut production. Therefore, U.S. sugar policy costs jobs.

“When employees cost more, employers buy less of them, and must cut production.  Therefore, raising the minimum wage costs jobs.”

Sorry, that last part is me - not the Post.

Congress Needs to Roll Back Subsidies to Sugar Producers - November 25, 2013

Federal policy coddles the U.S. sugar industry through import controls, soft loans and price targets. The result is higher consumer prices — and fewer jobs in the U.S. food industry.

All of this sounds much more like the Wall Street Journal than the (pre-Jeff Bezos?) Washington Post.  Hold that thought.

Sourball - Monday, March 22, 2010

The combined effect of these (Farm Bill) measures has been to keep the U.S. price well above the world price. The differential recently hit an all-time high: about 35 cents per pound (of sugar) in the United States vs. about 20 cents everywhere else.

It's tantamount to a 15-cent tax on every pound --except the money doesn't go into public coffers.

A-ha.  It would appear WaPo’s problem with our ridiculous agriculture policy - is that it does not allow the government to take even more of our money.  Which is ridiculous.

How to Deal with Sugar - February 23, 2014

Eliminating the sugar program, though, would lower the price of that ready substitute for corn syrup. Obviously, the government shouldn’t stop there.

An effective anti-obesity policy would include taxes on certain bad-for-you foods,.… This is preferable to current sugar policy, which nudges prices up but channels the difference to companies that haven’t earned it, in part because the federal Treasury would benefit from the tax revenue.

Certainly the “companies haven’t earned” the extra coin - but the government has? 

And Editorial after Editorial decries the price inflation and job losses that result from bad government farm policy.  Now they call for yet another tax on food - which will cause price inflation and job losses.

That’s the incoherent, statist Washington Post we’ve all come to know and loathe. 

Here’s hoping the Bezos Era delivers us a little more Reality - and a lot less Huge Government proselytizing.

Seton Motley
Seton Motley
Founder and president of Less Government.