Government Subsidized Food Pyramid
I posted a link which has a wonderful graphic illustrating the discrepancy between what the government recommends that we eat, and what the government subsidizes. This opened up the question as to whether government interference in the free market was a good idea, so I offered my understanding and opinion:
Michael Pollan explains the situation well in “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” . . . because agriculture yield and prices are highly volatile, it is desirable to balance out the wilder potentially-devastating-to-farmers price fluctuations. Historically the Department of Agriculture did this by buying crops when prices were low and storing them for sale when prices were high.
During the Nixon administration there was a shortage of affordable meat, so the government moved to a flat subsidy of certain crops to maximize food production. It worked, but today we are dealing with the unintended consequences.
I think it is good for the government to regulate food safety and to provide food stamps for poor people. I suspect that with the contemporary globalized food system that price stabilization is a lost cause, and less of a concern, because the overall market is larger.
I do like the “soda tax” idea.