Reason Writers Around Town: Katherine Mangu-Ward on Corn Subsidies

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Subsidy packages to corn growers have been sweet in recent years, with an average of about $5 billion annually since 1995. That keeps corn syrup, the key ingredient in soda, cheap. Meanwhile, Congress is desperate for cash to pay for health care reform. A 3 cent tax per 12 ounces of soda would generate $24 billion over four years.

Senior Editor Katherine Mangu-Ward did a little basic math and found an interesting coincidence: The expected revenue from a soda tax and the expected subsidies to corn farmers come to almost the same amount. Looking for $5 billion a year? Kill the subsidies.

Read all about it here.

NEXT: The Insurance Industry Learns That Congress May Giveth, but Congress Also Taketh Away

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  1. Why does KM-W hate the American farmer?

  2. This is an area that libertarians could really get out front of. Lots of people are making noise about “food policy.” Well the best thing that could be done in this area is kill the subsidization of unhealthy foods. It would be a win-win, people would eat better and no liberty is restrained.

  3. You’d think that getting screwed coming and going would be a good thing.

  4. Corn should be reserved for bourbon not soda pop.

  5. Cow corn for Oprah!
    Chicago knocked out in the first round!
    Obama humiliated!
    Huzzah!

    1. Fucking fantastic! Daley and Obama are sucking it. I couldn’t be happier to see two politicians lose political points over this–and the bid didn’t even make it to the final vote.

      Those foreigners sure love Obama, don’t they?

      1. Once in a while Lady Justice hauls off and cold-cocks the arrogant mo-fo’s.
        Today is Schadenfreude Friday. Rejoice, all!

  6. Senior Editor Katherine Mangu-Ward did a little basic math and found an interesting coincidence: The expected revenue from a soda tax and the expected subsidies to corn farmers come to almost the same amount. Looking for $5 billion a year? Kill the subsidies.

    What? That would reduce both giving BJs to Iowa and nannyish interfering with people’s lives under the guise of “for their own good”.

    It would also force some bureaucrats to seek productive employment.

  7. Coca Cola was a better product, taste wise, when it was made with sugar instead of corn syrup. (Which it still is at some of the bottling plants in Mexico; some L.A. markets carry it)

    If the corn subsidies are ended, maybe they will switch back to the old formula.

    1. You can get kosher Coke with sugar in it around Passover in some places.

    2. Here in Santa Cruz CA (nowhere near LA, except in the broad, continental sense) many taquerias offer “real, mexican coca-cola.” I even bought a case of them for my son from the local Costco. Now if they could only get back to “the real thing” — the original formula from 1886.

    3. If you live in the Southeast check out Fresh Market.

      I don’t know about all stores but they have it in Altamonte Springs and Tampa (so I’m told).

      I’m afraid I find $1.99 for a 12oz bottle a little steep though. But i’m nort really much of a soda drinker.

  8. If the corn subsidies are ended, maybe they will switch back to the old formula.

    The sugar would have to come from somewhere, and I believe that sugar cane only grows in the tropics. I believe we got most of our sugar from Cuba, pre-1959.

    Anyone know if the switch from cane to corn had anything to do with the embargo?

    Good article, KM-W.

    1. When Castro took over the Cuban sugar barrons moved to Florida and started growing it there (and the Government started giving them all kind of sweet deals like the corn growers, but that’s another story.)

  9. Corn subsidies are an example of federal government munificence, and demonstrates the governments love for, and protection of, farmers.

    A tax of unhealthy food products is an example of federal government munificence, and demonstrate the government’s love for, and protection of, its other subjects.

    Of course they’ll eliminate these policies.

    1. That’s what I said.

      I cannot test my links before posting. Where the $^%&* is Preview?!

  10. I can spellcheck (successfully or not) my comments in the box, but I *did* like to use Preview to see if I had Sugarfreed my links before hitting Submit.

    And- is it just my imagination, or has the comment box shrunk?

  11. The comment box appears to have shrunk. You can click and drag the lower right corner to expand it, but it’s lame that you have to do this.

  12. Please don’t penalize me for not properly nesting my reply to P Brooks.

    1. No problem. Only dweebs use the “Reply to this” function.

      1. Total agreement, here.

  13. Oh man, I could go for some grits right now. Stupid fucking diet.

  14. Grits are only good for throwing at politicians. Especially if they’re really really really hot and sticky.

  15. But, then you would put corn farmers out of work!
    But, increasing soda taxes will reduce soda consumption and put people out of work!

    Oh the dilemma, how does Uncle Syrup keep everyone happy? I know … we’ll borrow some money from China.

  16. Maybe it’s just my eyes, but I keep seeing the poster with Cyrillic letters.

  17. Weren’t there also “help for victory” posters in the same timeframe?

    Hominy hominy hominy hominy hominy hominy hominy…

  18. They don’t want to kill the subsidy end because it looks “mean to farmers”. AND there’s still ethanol to worry about.

    This is such a stupid situation.

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