Tag Archives: subsidies

Big Macs vs. Salads

Interesting piece of governmental schizophrenia from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

You may comment that their image shows the much outdated food pyramid, so here below we show you the much improved MyPlate. As you can see, the subsidies still don’t measure up:

Ok, so maybe you think all this ‘Free Market’ talk is bunk and that the government should be allowed to impose quotas, taxes, tariffs and subsidies because it knows what’s best for us, like our mothers. This mother, however, is telling us to eat our veggies while placing a Big Mac in front of us.

* You may also comment that the graphic shows Federal subsidies from 1995-2005 but, while the newest form of the Farm Bill is the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, the amount of subsidies for these categories has not changed. Only subsidies for biofuels has increased.

Shining some light on Subsidies

A recent article in the Economist highlights a great example of how government subsidies have a tendency create more profits for companies, which do not get passed down to consumers but rather raise the price of goods.

The focus of the article is MiaSole, which produces solar panels not made out of silicon, and therefore not receiving any government subsidies. It is just as efficient and just as cheap as any silicon-based solar panel, but since the silicon-based companies have been able to rely on subsidies, they haven’t concentrated on efficiency or driving costs down, so now they are at a disadvantage. At the risk of relying too much on quotes, these ones are telling:

“For much of the 2000s, with a shortage of pure silicon and lavish support from European governments, the price of solar panels failed to fall as expected.”

And in Europe, “Spain, then Germany, boosted demand by giving generous “feed-in tariffs” (subsidies) to anyone who produced solar power for the grid.” But “electricity consumers’ anger at their big bills is now forcing Germany to cut its subsidies.”

Although it has taken a while, hopefully governments will now realize that the subsidies have been bad for consumers, bad for solar power, bad for the economy and bad for the environment, so they will let the market take its course from now on. Some may be surprised to see that the cheaper, more efficient option is actually the better one for the environment too. To end with another quote:

“This all adds up to a bright future for cheap solar energy.”

Two Wrongs Don’t Make It Right

The developed world reached a general consensus that GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) are harmful and should be discouraged, with counties in California banning it outright, and many other counties and countries calling for the same. In 2006 the EU halted importation of US rice exports because of “unacceptable modification.”

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