Big Beef Gets US Subsidies to Oppose Little Beef
|March 3, 2014||Posted by Staff under Subsidies & Waste & Public Debt|
This 2014 excerpt of the Washington Monthly, January/ February, is by Siddhartha Mahanta.
When you buy a Big Mac or a T-bone, a portion of the cost is a tax on beef, the proceeds from which the government hands over to a private trade group called the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.
Nearly 99 percent of all the beef tax dollars collected by the government, some $45 million a year, winds up in the hands of just one group, the NCBA, which relies overwhelmingly on this public money to support itself. Fewer and fewer actual “cattlemen” belong to the organization, while more and more note the rancher’s own money is being used to put him out of business, with government complicity.
Meanwhile, the consumer’s tax dollars are going to a trade group that’s in court trying to keep me from knowing what I’m eating.
NCBA state affiliates support what’s known as “ag gag” laws. These measures make it a felony in a growing number of states to gather information on inhumane and unsafe practices on farms and processing plants, even prohibiting taking photographs of the facilities from nearby roads or other public property.
Ranchers who treat their animals well want the public to know their story, and don’t want to be forced to subsidize a trade group that vilifies their potential customers as animal rights “radicals.”
Ed. Notes: Not only does Big Beef collect subsidies, they also benefit most from the absence of a tax on land. They’re absentee landowners who, whenever they have to pay for all the land that they get to charge others to use, tend to sell their excess to their tenants at prices tenants could afford. That would bring back family ranchers … to a degree.
Ranchers (and farmers) might also need a repeal of taxes on wages, so they can more easily afford to hire helpers. Plus, they may need a Citizen’s Dividend which would benefit most the people in the country. That’s where the differential between rent dividend received and land dues paid is greatest.
Happily, with more economic equality, there’s less of an urban/rural divide, so people from everywhere can get to see the other’s POV.