Re: Market Solutions Are All Like That

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A mostly vegetarian diet isn't a hardship

Good god, you really are a communist.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 11:13 AM
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A mostly vegetarian diet isn't a hardship is a benefit.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 11:22 AM
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Sometimes, the answer is going to be a coldblooded "If you can't afford it, don't buy it". Animal welfare regulation should require that all livestock be treated humanely -- if the effect of that is to raise the price of meat to something ridiculously unaffordable, that doesn't bother me at all. A mostly vegetarian diet isn't a hardship, and if the real cost of meat prices it mostly out of reach for everyone but the wealthy, so be it. We don't worry that poor people can't afford all the caviar they want either.

This seems like it belongs on another blog, one much-derided in these parts. Really: consider the economic impact of pricing meat out of reach for average Americans. Consider how eating habits among the poor are likely to actually change if you remove a major source of nutrition. I somehow doubt that EBT payments would suddenly skew toward lentils and flaxseed oil.


Posted by: Tom | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 11:25 AM
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3: It's not like you are removing the *healthy* part of people's diets when you take away the Chicken McNuggets.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 11:26 AM
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Really: consider the economic impact of pricing meat out of reach for average Americans. Consider how eating habits among the poor are likely to actually change if you remove a major source of nutrition.

Seriously, spell out what you think happens here.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 11:28 AM
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I would assume that the argument is that people would shift to eating even cheaper cuts of meat, or cheap "non-food" (from the Michael Pollen "eat food, mostly vegetables") items rather than vegetables.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 11:36 AM
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Sure, but you may be removing their jobs. And, believe it or not, you can't assume that fewer mcnuggets will lead to a healthier result until you know what will replace them.

I think people should eat less meat, too, but the sentiment expressed here really smacks of an unpleasantly breezy paternalism. It's going to be way more complicated than that, even before the meat industry gets involved.

And although I think there are environmental externalities that are worth trying to build into meat's price, the suggestion that we can quantify animal suffering and ought to make it a policy priority at this point seems, um, premature.

5: Large numbers of jobs involved in selling a relatively expensive and popular food suddenly disappear. Meat processing, transportation and huge parts of the service industry for a start; I'm sure there are things I'm missing, too. Lost calories are replaced with a still carb-ier diet, and I start seeing even more people missing feet at the Giant down the block (admittedly I'm not seeing the ones with heart disease at all, but still: corn is what will mostly replace that missing meat).


Posted by: Tom | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 11:36 AM
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Here, I'll spell it out: if meat were priced dramatically higher, there might be a slight, temporary dip in the quality of middle class people's diets that came from the loss of meat prepared at home. The people who are already at high risk of obseity will be unaffected, because they will merely be switching from unhealthy prepared foods with meat to unhealthy prepared foods without. In the long run, everyone's diet will get better as everyone adjusts to the new regime.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 11:37 AM
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"cuts of meat" is probably wrong in the above. I was thinking of eating more ground and adulterated meat products.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 11:37 AM
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This is one reason medical co-payments piss me off. Yes, I can afford the $10 co-payment when I go to the doctor. But for a lot of people, thats a hardship which will discourage them from obtaining medical care they need. Designers of the co-payment point to that as an actual feature- it will discourage people from using "too many medical services" and that, somehow, by paying more out of pocket, it should bring the price of health care down. Apparently you can make heath care cheaper by making it cost more...

This will be little solace for me when I catch tuberculosis from a Wal-Mart greeter who didn't go to the doctor for the sake of a $10 copay.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 11:37 AM
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On the topic of McNuggets: Wireheads will love this clip:
http://youtube.com/watch?v=Cvq3Pf3j61c


Posted by: Willy Voet | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 11:38 AM
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Oh, and higher meat prices are unfair to those of us who like to eat a lot of meat.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 11:38 AM
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One problem with discussions about including market externalities in the price of things is that people are using the word "poor" ambigiously. In each case, the people who are affected are not the very poor, but those at the bottom end of the range of people who can currently afford the product.

Congestion pricing is like that. It won't hurt those who are already locked out of the automotive transportation system. It will hurt those at the low end of the car economy.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 11:41 AM
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The affordability of meat these days is pretty anamolous historically, even if we're talking about fairly recent history (last 25 to 50 years say). And it's been achieved through major subsidies, massive externalities, and truly atrocious living conditions for the animals and working conditions for the producers (the meat industry is one of the most dangerous jobs in America right now). ]

Making meat more expensive by curtailing all that badness would most likely see a return to traditional uses of meat by the non-rich, i.e. meat used primarily as a flavoring agent rather than the center of the meal, cheaper cuts cooked in ways that maximize tenderness, more braises and fewer steak dinners. I can't really see this as a great tragedy.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 11:42 AM
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and I start seeing even more people missing feet at the Giant down the block

You think raising meat prices will lead to cannibalism? Racist.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 11:45 AM
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to continue the bloviating in 13:

The loudest complainers when the price of some good changes to reflect its real cost are those who have come to feel entitled to the good, but are now shut out from it. This is a more middle class than truly poor phenomenon.

Sadly, it is precisely those people whom advocates of real pricing say shouldn't be consuming the product. They only think they are entitled because of an irrational subsidy.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 11:45 AM
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Gotta say, these efforts to impugn my position as born of meat-lust are pretty lame. FWIW I rarely prepare meat at home -- almost never if we aren't counting fish. In the last three days I've eaten some eggs, two slices of bacon and a couple Vietnamese sandwiches' worth of of unidentifiable pate. Also a turkey breast.

Sure, I'm a carnivore, but I don't think there would be any noticeable change in my budget of consumption patterns even if the price of meat doubled. I'm just one dude, I've got disposable income, and I'm not exactly packing away porterhouses on a weekly basis.


Posted by: Tom | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 11:45 AM
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i.e. meat used primarily as a flavoring agent rather than the center of the meal

Which is exactly the healthiest way to use it. See Michael Pollan, again.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 11:47 AM
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Large numbers of jobs involved in selling a relatively expensive and popular food suddenly disappear. Meat processing, transportation and huge parts of the service industry for a start; I'm sure there are things I'm missing, too.

Okay, this is just goofy -- it's an argument against changing anything ever. There's no reason (that you've given or that I know of) to think that there will ultimately be fewer jobs in food production and processing if the cost of meat goes up.

I think people should eat less meat, too, but the sentiment expressed here really smacks of an unpleasantly breezy paternalism.

And this is precisely backward. Unpleasantly breezy, maybe. But the policy here isn't about making people eat less meat -- I'm fine with people eating as much meat as they can afford, given the real environmental and animal-welfare costs of it. But I don't see any paternalistic necessity of protecting poor people from those full costs, because they won't be significantly worse off for a diet that includes less meat.

I get paternalistic about making sure that people get as much healthcare as they need. I feel free to completely abandon paternalism on the question of whether they're getting as much meat as they want.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 11:47 AM
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It would help a lot if we eliminated the irrational subsidies on corn at the same time we ended them for meat.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 11:50 AM
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Gotta say, these efforts to impugn my position as born of meat-lust are pretty lame.

Not sure what you're referring to here. Could you be more specific about which comment(s) you're talking about?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 11:53 AM
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(To the extent that it's relevant, the Breath household eats a ridiculous amount of large pieces of meat; we have a close personal relationship with our butcher and his boat payments. Given that our income has just dropped abruptly, a rise in meat prices probably would change our eating habits quite a bit.)

(I don't actually know that Bobby has a boat. But if he did, we'd be supporting it.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 11:54 AM
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Silly LB. Fishmongers have boats payments. Butchers have rangeland mortgage payments.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 12:01 PM
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Okay, this is just goofy -- it's an argument against changing anything ever. There's no reason (that you've given or that I know of) to think that there will ultimately be fewer jobs in food production and processing if the cost of meat goes up.

I see your point, but I think it's actually just an argument for changing things carefully rather than waving our hands and saying "let them eat [rice] cake". Do you really think that "rais[ing] the price of meat to something ridiculously unaffordable" wouldn't be disastrous for the Applebees and McDonaldses of the world and the people they employ?

For better or worse meat is a relatively expensive food, and that makes the margins surrounding its sale able to support more jobs. Working in a meat processing facility is a terrible job; picking tomatoes pays so little it can barely be called a job at all. A *lot* of economic energy goes into providing this country with meat, and while that might be wasteful it also provides lots of people with a living.

All I'm saying is that while we should probably de-subsidize meat there will be economic disruptions associated with doing so, and that consequently we should do it much more slowly and thoughtfully than your post implied. I also have to admit that I bristled a little when you refer to "the real... animal-welfare costs". This is stretching the idea of a "real cost" pretty far. If I can be speciesist for a second, it's a price that's primarily paid from the peace of mind of the bourgeoisie to which we're taking turns consigning one another.


Posted by: Tom | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 12:16 PM
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If I can be speciesist for a second, it's a price that's primarily paid from the peace of mind of the bourgeoisie to which we're taking turns consigning one another.

Speciesist.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 12:26 PM
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No! The second's over!


Posted by: Tom | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 12:28 PM
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But to be serious, how is lousy animal welfare not a real cost? You seem to be just handwaving it away. In addition, animal welfare also has a huge effect on worker safety and welfare.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 12:28 PM
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Making meat more expensive by curtailing all that badness would most likely see a return to traditional uses of meat by the non-rich, i.e. meat used primarily as a flavoring agent rather than the center of the meal, cheaper cuts cooked in ways that maximize tenderness, more braises and fewer steak dinners. I can't really see this as a great tragedy.

If I catch the sales right, we can have a dinner with rib-eye steaks and broccoli for less than many of other other meals. But, of course, I am no M/tch M/lls in the kitchen.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 12:30 PM
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24: If you substitute 'environmental' for 'animal welfare' costs, my sense is that it comes out about the same in terms of raising the cost of meat to something that's going to make it difficult for most people to sustain their current consumption levels.

But sure, generally, any change should be made carefully and thoughtfully. The post wasn't meant to be a white paper on the details of how to incorporate externalities of animal husbandry into the cost of food, just to point out that of this sort of market-based policy change, sometimes the answer is going to be that it does affect the poor more, but that's all right.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 12:30 PM
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But, of course, I am no M/tch M/lls in the kitchen.

But word is that you're a total ben w-lfs-n in the bedroom.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 12:34 PM
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I read a thingummy in The Economist not long ago that said the artificially low cost of animal products not only made meat less expensive relative to other foods but made other foods more expensive in absolute terms; the demand for food products to feed livestock contributes to food inflation. I don't know enough about economics to defend or deflate this argument though.


Posted by: a hungry hippo | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 12:34 PM
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the artificially low cost of animal products not only made meat less expensive relative to other foods but made other foods more expensive in absolute terms; the demand for food products to feed livestock contributes to food inflation

Plausible. It takes seven pounds of grain to make a pound of beef (the numbers for pork and chicken are lower, but still >1). There is a countervailing efficiency effect from having a high-volume grain industry that attracts a lot of investment in technology, but net-net I doubt that it outweighs the pressure on supply from demand for feedgrains.

We're about to find out that ethanol production has the same effect. The prices of some key inputs for corn production (e.g. phosphate fertilizers) have quadrupled in recent years.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 12:38 PM
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This seems like it belongs on another blog, one much-derided in these parts. Really: consider the economic impact of pricing meat out of reach for average Americans.

There is a difference between pricing meat out of reach, and removing the subsidies etc. that make some foods so cheap that it has shifted. Americans as a whole would benefit if meat consumption was halved, for example. But looking at it as meat vs. veg is really to simplistic. There are a large number of industrial agriculture practices that are pretty stupid in a large scale sense, but have been made to worth through subsidies etc.

The `pricing it out of reach' arguments about staples etc. are usually muddle headed, as an awful lot of effort has been spent to convince people to buy even more expensive food products because as a general rule, the more processed the more profit margin. The issue is far more the tradeoff on food cost & quality made for convenience/time. For decades a shift to lower quality, higher cost, shorter effort food has been happening, that's the momentum you're really facing, not simply meat content of diets or whatever.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 12:39 PM
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But word is that you're a total ben w-lfs-n in the bedroom.

I cannot tell you how many times BR has said that she wants me to be w-lfs-n in the bedroom, M/tch M/lls in the kitchen, Sir Kraab on Halloween, and to speak like nattar.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 12:40 PM
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Be sure to send us a picture of you dressed up as Sir Kraab on Halloween, W/will.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 12:42 PM
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I am searching for the right glasses.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 12:43 PM
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35: And the corresponding vision of hell is...?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 12:43 PM
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It would help a lot if we eliminated the irrational subsidies on corn at the same time we ended them for meat.

To a large extent these days a subsidy on corn is a subsidy on meat.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 12:44 PM
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38: Yeah, all those foodstuffs look the same to me.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 12:50 PM
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I wouldnt mind not eating meat, but I am too lazy. I would need someone to gather the shrubbery and to cook it for me.

Can we have an Unfogged cooking class at the next meet?

Stanley is a shrubbery-only eater. I suspect a bunch of others are too.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 12:50 PM
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Stanley, eekbeat, BR and I had some really amazing brussel sprouts. Who knew that they could be so good??


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 12:53 PM
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I just looked at the ingredient list on a cup of yogurt in the office fridge and found this: "sugar, fructose syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, fructose". Jesus Christ, Dannon.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 12:58 PM
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Don't let that get into the water system Nathan!!!


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 1:00 PM
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A propos of this discussion, Big Ag concurs with Frances Moore Lappé:

"Everyone wants to eat like an American on this globe," said Daniel W. Basse of the AgResource Company, a Chicago consultancy. "But if they do, we're going to need another two or three globes to grow it all."

Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 1:02 PM
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40: Yes, there are a fair number. I've been eating veg for about 15 years, but that's more as a side effect than being fundamentally convinced the purely veg. is needed.

41: They can be amazing.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 1:03 PM
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42 is completely indicative of the state of things in big ag. Say whatever you like Michael Pollan, but he pretty much nails the cluster-fuck of policy and politics around corn production, how we got there.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 1:05 PM
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Why have you been holding back from me, Soup??!?!?


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 1:07 PM
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47: What have I been holding back? Recipes for b. sprouts?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 1:08 PM
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Pollan is definitely good. I feel the need to dig up Nixon's corpse and abuse it some more on this front, though,


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 1:14 PM
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yes and other veggie delights.


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 1:19 PM
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Back of the envelope, using numbers pulled from Google: a pound of beef is equivalent to 30-ish pounds of CO2. So a $100/ton CO2 tax translates into an extra $1.50 per pound of beef, if I'm not mistaken. I'm sort of surprised by this; I was expecting that if beef was taxed for its carbon cost it would be a much lower fraction of what we now pay. (I think $100/ton CO2 is at least the order of magnitude that tends to be discussed.)

Of course, it probably doesn't make sense to think about adding a new tax without also thinking about altering the current subsidy and incentive structures.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 1:33 PM
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Eh. I'm not sure. A healthy vegetarian diet is one that requires not just an absence of meat, but lots of tasty beans and lentils and tofu. All of which requires a lot of know-how and time and money (at least to start), given the culture we live in.

So pushing meat out of the price range of poorer people isn't going to make them healthier absent other factors. (We don't care when it comes to caviar, but that's because we consider caviar a luxury item. If you want to argue that a chicken should be a luxury like caviar, fine, but you'll need to make that argument.) Not much of an improvement if you replace chicken with cheap starches and fats.

Maybe it would still be worth doing, but at least let's not kid ourselves about the likely results. It's not everyone snacking on healthy vegetarian fare, but the upper middle class eating free-range buffalo and everyone else taking an extra serving of pasta.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 1:39 PM
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52: But a healthy diet containing doesn't need nearly as much as is currently consumed on average. Not even close. Like I mentioned before, meat is only one thing, the reliance on processing and `food science' outputs is a deeper issue, but certainly a healthier diet overall could (not would, but could) be achieved with less meat consumption. Bear in mind that americans currently spend less on food as a percentage of income than pretty much any comparable economy.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 1:43 PM
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50: Sorry Will. I think I promised AWB to put some stuff up on her wiki. I'll have to do that soon.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 1:43 PM
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51: Even without thinking on these lines, getting rid of corn subsidies would do healthy things to the price/lb of most meats you'd buy at a butcher.

The problem is what it would do the the fast food business and the heavily processed food industry --- both huge lobbying presences.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 1:45 PM
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I actually just put Gonerill's brussels sprouts up on AWB's wiki. They're delicious, but they have bacon.

52: Making meat more expensive might not improve anyone's diet, but I doubt it would make things worse. Again, I'm not contemplating 'artificially raise the price of meat to improve health', I'm saying 'incorporate the animal welfare and environmental externalities in the price of meat'. If health outcomes stay level, that's a policy win.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 1:51 PM
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I am personally acquainted with several good meatless ways of preparing brussels sprouts, but am too abashed to put them up on the wiki. Leblanc can attest to the utility or lack thereof of my recipe-writing style.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 1:53 PM
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SB has it over LB. We need to fight the battle of de-subsidizing before we even get into adding in externalities.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 2:00 PM
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53: I get that, I do, but most people are going to replace the meat with something fatty and less healthy. We already eat, as a society, too much meat, but I don't think we eat too little fat and I don't think the meat is going to be replaced by abstaining or preparing tofu. So now we're comparing animal welfare and environment to human welfare.

I don't think that necessarily overrides the policy changes, but health is a likely cost, not a neutral or a benefit. What bothers me viscerally is that almost no one (myself included) making the argument about what 'they' don't need to eat is someone who is going to cut back on their own personal meat consumption.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 2:02 PM
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What bothers me viscerally is that almost no one (myself included) making the argument about what 'they' don't need to eat is someone who is going to cut back on their own personal meat consumption.

"(A)lmost no one" will be affected by higher prices enough to change the frequency and quantity of their meat consumption?


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 2:10 PM
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So now we're comparing animal welfare and environment to human welfare.

I have a hard time making myself care enough about animal welfare -- what can I say, I'm evil -- but I think it's unwise to separate "environment" and "human welfare". Meat consumption really is a huge fraction of our carbon budget, and I think it's tricky to weight these things properly. Is throwing nutrition out of wack for a while as people adjust to differently-priced food enough of a problem that we take on more climate risk? Climate change is sure to pose problems for our food growth and consumption habits in the long run, but it's hard to take these future costs properly into account when thinking about short-term consequences of policy.

What bothers me viscerally is that almost no one (myself included) making the argument about what 'they' don't need to eat is someone who is going to cut back on their own personal meat consumption.

I've been making a real effort lately to cut back on meat consumption, especially beef. I sometimes give in to temptation, but I'm trying.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 2:19 PM
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We already eat, as a society, too much meat, but I don't think we eat too little fat and I don't think the meat is going to be replaced by abstaining or preparing tofu. So now we're comparing animal welfare and environment to human welfare.

Two things: first, I'll buy without argument that reducing meat consumption won't make the average diet healthier. I won't buy without some backup that reducing meat consumption will make the average diet less healthy, and if it's net neutral on health, then it's a gain for other policy reasons. Second, environmental issues are about human welfare, ultimately.

What bothers me viscerally is that almost no one (myself included) making the argument about what 'they' don't need to eat is someone who is going to cut back on their own personal meat consumption.

That's exactly why I wrote the post. Market-based policy initiatives are fashionable (that sounds dismissive. Well-thought of?) these days, and for good reason; there are good reasons to think they work well. But for any good which poor people use, they're going to hurt the poor disproportionately, and you're perfectly right: the sort of people who are talking about policy are very unlikely to be 'the poor'.

So if you're going to talk about this sort of policy (carbon taxes, whatever), you're going to have to confront this visceral reaction, and figure out how to deal with it -- either by deciding that the policy really is unacceptably unjust, that ameliorative measures are necessary, or that you're in an area where your visceral reaction is a poor guide.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 2:24 PM
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60: No one making the policy argument, i.e., upper middle class people, no. Because they're already buying organic chicken breasts at $9/lb and organic milk and $5 fruits, and with sufficient income, something else will (or, can) be cut back before protein costs.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 2:25 PM
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62: Okay, here's one. What's healthier, grilled chicken breasts or casseroles a la canned mushroom soup? Which gets made if you're trying to stretch two chicken breasts among six people? We can't just assume tofu.

A mostly vegetarian diet isn't a hardship, and if the real cost of meat prices it mostly out of reach for everyone but the wealthy, so be it. We don't worry that poor people can't afford all the caviar they want either.

This is largely what I'm disagreeing with, not the overall post. It's probably a hardship, and let's not compare chicken to caviar because that's pretty fucking ridiculous.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 2:30 PM
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What bothers me viscerally is that almost no one (myself included) making the argument about what 'they' don't need to eat is someone who is going to cut back on their own personal meat consumption.

I cut mine back to 0 because industry practices are pissing me off. So it's not nobody (it may be almost nobody, as you say)


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 2:32 PM
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It's probably a hardship

This is not inherently true. What is true is that forced change is a hardship, but it's a very different issue I think,


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 2:33 PM
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No one making the policy argument, i.e., upper middle class people, no. Because they're already buying organic chicken breasts at $9/lb and organic milk and $5 fruits, and with sufficient income, something else will (or, can) be cut back before protein costs.

I actually know quite a lot of people who have switched to eating more expensive meat (free range, grass fed, from small producers, humanely raised, etc) on a less frequent basis due to such policy arguments. Michael Pollan, Barbara Kingsolver, et al are actually bringing new people into the choir, not just preaching to it.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 2:46 PM
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64: But grilled chicken breasts aren't a poverty diet now. Someone who's grilling chicken breasts now is someone who's thinking enough about nutrition that tofu, or beans, isn't a crazy assumption. The question is where someone who eats McNuggets now is going to end up, and there aren't a lot of places that could nutritionally be worse. (This is pulled out of my ass, but not, I think, more so than any similar argument not based on data is going to be.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 2:49 PM
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68: At base, doesn't this seem like an argument to tax beer, but not wine. Gawd knows if it would be smart policy, but it would stupid politically.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 2:52 PM
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67 is true. There's an entirely different demographic who may switch to small producers for a variety of reasons (taste, ethics, quality, environment...) which is a different issue to dietary shifts in what you can afford.

68 may be pulled out of LB's ass, but it isn't inaccurate. More and more, Americans simply do not cook at all. The average food prep time daily is under 15m iirc. Loads of people eat fast food 1/day and highly processed food for their hot meals at home. This sort of thing is more elastic with corn pricing etc. than a packet of chicken breasts is. The chicken McNuggets, or the frozen variants you cook at home, are mostly not chicken anyway.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 2:56 PM
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69: How does this follow from an argument to dump corn subsidies?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 2:58 PM
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67: Notice you've said 'switch to more expensive meat due to policy arguments' not 'cut back on meat.;

68, 69: What 69 said. (Plus, I thought we were arguing that this would hit more than just the poor.) We're all arguing ex recto, but I don't see replacing the minimal amount of protein with something even fattier as a health neutral or benefit. But maybe I'm wrong. Still, 'chicken should be like caviar' is likely not all that winning of a policy.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 3:02 PM
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71: Dump subsidy, add tax, the effect is going to be the same and felt in the same income band. Some people are uncomfortable raising cigg. taxes b/c it would make the ciggs to expensive for the truly poor addict; I think the same would be truer of meat. Certainly, if I was an agg. producer, I'd say "These people don't want you to eat meat!"


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 3:03 PM
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73: That's a different argument, more like the idea that a flat tax on alcohol hurts beer drinkers more than wine drinkers. It's not at all the same as taxing beer not wine.

Fundamentally, I think your argument falls into the `increased costs hurt the poor more' bin. It's true, but it's not inherently an argument *for* anything.

As a market, food in the US is terribly distorted by subsidies. You could argue that corn subsidies indirectly help the poor, but clearly they help certain industries (not farming) a lot more.

So sure, in the short term this might hurt poor people particularly as the market distortions on some food products adjust ... but this really isn't a good argument for not doing it. It might well be a good argument for an income adjusted tax credit temporarily, to offset the burden.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 3:10 PM
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69: No. It's an acknowledgment of the fact that carbon taxes are going to affect the poor more than the rich, because the rich have more spare money to keep doing whatever they were doing beforehand. Poor people will have to change their behavior, rich people won't.

And that's going to be a consequence of any policy that depends on making consumers pay the full cost of the goods they consume; energy, meat, goods produced under intolerable humanitarian conditions. Prices will go up, rich people will be mostly unaffected, poor people will have to change what they do.

If that's a fundamental problem for you, you're rejecting carbon taxes; you're rejecting higher labor standards worldwide; you're rejecting an end to irrational corn subsidies. I think those are all good policies, despite the fact that they're going to hit the poor harder than the rich, and we need to face up to that fact, and figure out how to deal with it.

72: Still, 'chicken should be like caviar' is likely not all that winning of a policy.

Yup, it's an absolutely terrible slogan. I'd fire me if I proposed using it as such.



Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 3:11 PM
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addendum to 74:

I should have noted that again, there are much larger issues when it comes to poverty and food that really ought to be taken into consideration. Particularly increased reliance on high markup processed foods driven by some combination of lifestyle adjustments (stop cooking, work longer hours), marketing, and availability, which are all conflated.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 3:12 PM
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Say I've been busy today but just thought I'd drop in on this thread and...

What the hell?!?

Fine. I'll go.


Posted by: Analogy Ban | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 3:15 PM
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Simply switching from beef or pork consumption to chicken consumption would already make a large impact on the carbon front, concerns for animal welfare aside. Surely it's easier to make people eat much more chicken and less beef than it is to make people eat less meat in general?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 3:17 PM
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Not that simple, essear, because chicken production is strongly coupled to corn production, even more so than beef. And corn is probably the tall pole in the problem.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 3:25 PM
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fwiw, chicken has already reached top spot for meat consumption, over 40% of total.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 3:26 PM
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If that's a fundamental problem for you, you're rejecting carbon taxes; you're rejecting higher labor standards worldwide; you're rejecting an end to irrational corn subsidies. I think those are all good policies, despite the fact that they're going to hit the poor harder than the rich, and we need to face up to that fact, and figure out how to deal with it.

I definitely agree with that. I disagree with just the 'it's not a hardship' line. Yes, it is a hardship. It need not be a permanent one, should people learn to cook better food. It might be one worth offsetting (increasing the EBT cap.) And it may be mostly a burden in terms of getting the policy implemented. But I don't think it helps to act as if it isn't a burden.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 3:33 PM
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Then we agree.

It's certainly a perceived hardship, and absolutely would be one in the transition; what I meant by the 'it's not a hardship' line is that a world where access to necessary health care is limited by income is an unjust world, while a world where access to sufficient nutritious food is easily available, but meat specifically is an expensive luxury, doesn't seem to me to be unjust at all. There's probably a much better way to express that distinction than the one I used.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 3:38 PM
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There's probably a much better way to express that distinction than the one I used.

"You don't have it so bad. Quit whining."


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 3:42 PM
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Count me with everyone who is saying that for a significant minority of the population, simply removing meat would make their diets noticeably less healthy.

On the topic of artificial subsidies, price supports, etc., if this op-ed is even 30% right I'm totally angry about US government-enforced crop discrimination.

The commodity farm program effectively forbids farmers who usually grow corn or the other four federally subsidized commodity crops (soybeans, rice, wheat and cotton) from trying fruit and vegetables. Because my watermelons and tomatoes had been planted on "corn base" acres, the Farm Service said, my landlords were out of compliance with the commodity program.
I've discovered that typically, a farmer who grows the forbidden fruits and vegetables on corn acreage not only has to give up his subsidy for the year on that acreage, he is also penalized the market value of the illicit crop, and runs the risk that those acres will be permanently ineligible for any subsidies in the future. [...] In my case, that meant I paid my landlords $8,771 -- for one season alone!

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 3:48 PM
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I've been a big supporter of externality/congestion taxes for pretty much as long as I've even thought about taxes, with an opinion pretty close to Soup Biscuit's in 74.

Sure, it might hurt in the short run. But part of the point is to make destructive behaviors hurt! Or at least cover their costs. Now, yes, the income effects from such taxes or loss of subsidies will fall disproportionately on the poor, but that's why the extra money in the budget should be shunted to increasing the EITC and reducing the lowest tax brackets. Try to keep the poor at about the same real income, but encourage substitution to other consumption that's less destructive. If they still choose to consume the same amount of more expensive meat or car transit with their extra post-tax money, hey, at least they're paying a fair price for their choice.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 3:50 PM
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84: That op-ed is true. One of the main reasons Plains States farmers refuse to shift production away from corn, rice, soybeans and cotton (especially the first and last) is because they have a very difficult time getting that acreage subsidized in the future if they switch back to a subsidized crop. The subsidies regime really is unbelievably destructive both in terms of effects on consumers and the sclerotic, massively consolidated agriculture sector it encourages.

And the truly scary thing is that the US's agriculture policy is still less distorting or damaging than Japan's or the EU's.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 3:55 PM
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This is a textbook example of "How Not to Argue If You are a Liberal":

Making meat more expensive by curtailing all that badness would most likely see a return to traditional uses of meat by the non-rich, i.e. meat used primarily as a flavoring agent rather than the center of the meal, cheaper cuts cooked in ways that maximize tenderness, more braises and fewer steak dinners. I can't really see this as a great tragedy.

Reading it, I suddenly understood how SUV drivers feel when we talk about making them give up SUVs. I'm not 100% sure, but I may love meat more than I love my wife and children. I can be persuaded to pay more for meat, and to eat less of it, but not like that.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 4:00 PM
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So how?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 4:06 PM
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79: because chicken production is strongly coupled to corn production, even more so than beef.

Thanks for pointing that out. I clearly haven't thought these things through properly.

If we could first stop the destructive corn subsidies, then moving from beef to chicken would probably become unambiguously an environmental good, right?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 4:12 PM
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I've never yet been to any of the THREE fried chicken places within a block, but this thread is making me want to go get some right now.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 4:14 PM
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So how?

"We hear your concerns about our proposed course of action, understand them, and recognize their validity. We are going to try to address them by means of action X, but we also think that you don't recognize the benefits of this course of action, which include Y and Z."

Or, if the opposition is small enough (e.g. motorcycle helmet laws), just ignore them and/or call them idiots to build popularity with the rest of society.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 4:17 PM
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Count me with everyone who is saying that for a significant minority of the population, simply removing meat would make their diets noticeably less healthy.

Sure, but this is why the policy has to involve more than just yoinking all the meat away. You eliminate subsidies and improve regulation and thereby increase the price of meat, but you presumably also do other things to make healthy fruits and vegetables more affordable.

A lot of this "don't take my meat!" just sounds like enwhitlement.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 4:17 PM
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The other thing I'd want is some federal muscle backing up claims to 'organic' or 'free-range.' One of the reasons I don't often splurge for many organic things is that I'm not sure what that label means besides 'white people like me and I cost more.'


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 4:23 PM
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Calling "don't take away my meat" enwhitlement -- also not a winning rhetorical strategy.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 4:25 PM
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92: I hear you, mrh, but I've been a vegetarian for years (not for ethical reasons), and LB's original post got my hackles up. I think Walt has it in 87.

I'd much rather see a progressive rather than regressive policy shift -- that is, don't do a thing to eliminate meat, especially not a (perceived-as) finger-wagging campaign to educate people about How Bad it Is for them or the environment or the animals. Just start making other options easier, more affordable, and more part of the common currency.

We moved from ketchup to salsa in this country because people wanted salsa, not because of a big campaign about the evils of high-fructose corn syrup in your ketchup. Although it is evil. Evil, I tell you!


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 4:26 PM
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Don't yoink the meat!

Christ, I should go shoot an animal and eat it right now, just on principle. Beef or pork would be nice, but I'll eat one of you vegetarian motherfuckers if I have to.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 4:29 PM
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Just to defend myself against perceived accusations of tone-deafness. If you look back at the post, it's really not framed as an argument for banning meat -- if I were trying to be persuasive on that point (which I'm not. Not actually advocating banning meat at all. Or even conducting a finger-wagging campaign on the subject) I'd have written the post differently.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 4:32 PM
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go shoot an animal and eat it right now

From an animal welfare point of view, probably preferable to buying a steak.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 4:33 PM
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I am roasting a chicken as we speak. If you wag a finger, you can be the stuffing.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 4:34 PM
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I am precisely the kind of person the post is aiming for: I usually buy only organic, humanely raised meat, and can do so only because I shop at that damned co-op, but consequently eat less of it and reuse all the bones and things for scraps or stocks or what have you. I can make a chicken last for about a week's worth of meals for two.

Still, this post and thread make me want to go to Popeye's or Crown Chicken. Maybe I can get bisquits while I'm at it.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 4:36 PM
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biscuits. biskits? shit.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 4:36 PM
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Ha, I just checked in on this thread and I guess now I don't have to link to this as an example of alienating ways to argue for basically sound points.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 4:43 PM
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God I would so love to see some subsidy dollars going towards reestablishing massive buffalo herds in the plains states. I'd call it the Healthy Meat Initiative.

Mmmm, buffalo.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 4:44 PM
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I'd think that getting rid of stupid subsidy regimes has something to appeal to almost everyone and you can ignore arguments about diet etc.

I've often heard the claim that US is a less distorted ag. market than EU, but I'm not sure it's true. They're all pretty terrible.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 4:46 PM
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Buffalo is wonderful. And healthy. Call it the Fan-fucking-tastic Meat Initiative.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 4:46 PM
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On the actual topic of the post, I think this is the key: But if you're going to advocate this sort of solution, you need an answer when someone says "But won't this hurt poor people?". Because in my experience, policy advocates often don't have an answer to this in mind.

So I end up grumpily conservative in my response to all such policy suggestions, out of my prior history of engaging out of good faith and then figuring out, oh, whoops, actually those well-intentioned folks* who want to encourage more walking or less out-of-home daycare or fewer doctor visits haven't actually followed their line of thinking to the next logical steps.

*Yes, yes, only some of them. I'm making a rhetorical point here, and it doesn't have to be 100% for me to have concluded that a lot of them haven't though through their arguments.

In related news, the Census Bureau has just reported that childcare for preschoolers whose mothers work outside the home is provided primarily by grandparents (30%), daycare centers (30%), and fathers (25%). I'm not sure what I think this means.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 4:47 PM
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106: In cases like subsidy reform, I really don't see the difficulty in proposing a (suitably income adjusted) tax credit to offset any demonstrable hardship for those hardest hit. But for things like farm subsidies that are screwing the very people they were originally intended to help, you really ought to be able to explain clearly why it needs to be done and have most people accept that their current artificially depressed prices aren't worth it.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 5:04 PM
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Yes, eat more bison.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 5:10 PM
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OT, but this little interview of Montana's governor is a little bit of fun.

He's running for re-election, and so there's an element of risk in the position taken.


Posted by: Nápi | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 5:16 PM
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In my (limited) experience, farmers who receive subsidies are reluctant to admit the fact. Most will say readily that subsidies distort the market, and it would be great if we got read of them but...well we need to do x,y, and z to make teh transition smooth and that's not going to happen so lets just keep them for now, not that I receive any.

A useful resource in this regard is the Environmental Working Group's database of who has received subsidies over the last 10 years and how much money they were paid. Who knew that your neighbor received a farm subsidy? You didn't even know is property was a farm!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 5:31 PM
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94, 95: You're right, of course, it's not a winning rhetorical strategy, but that doesn't make it wrong on the merits, so to speak.

A winning rhetorical strategy would probably involve an appeal to traditional values: healthy food, family recipes, simpler foods from simpler times. Grandmotherliness. Mention the fact that the food prices we have today aren't just the the result of things costing what they're worth, they're the result of government subsidies that mainly benefit big business (bureaucratic giveaways that enrich corporate fat-cats at the expense of the health and safety of the American people), lax safety standards and regulation, and inhumane practices.

Witt's right that this should be the justification, if necessary, not the motivation. Make policy changes to adjust the relative prices, make sure the poor don't get screwed, and have rhetoric ready to sell it.

How's that, you enwhitled bastards?


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 6:12 PM
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Ooo. I shouldn't have eaten so much fried chicken and biscuits and mashed potatoes.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 6:17 PM
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111: Not bad. I see the WIC program is making incremental progress in this direction.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 6:24 PM
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The other thing I'd want is some federal muscle backing up claims to 'organic' or 'free-range.'

It's a real problem; both of these terms have largely been appropriated by industry, thanks to compliant government.

`free range' is pretty meaningless. Organic has meaning, but doesn't tell you all that much. For beef, you want to look for `100% grass-fed' and/or `pastured'. All this stuff is pretty industry specific. Big industry players spend an awful lot of money to keep these sorts of things unclear.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 6:26 PM
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113: interesting.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 6:27 PM
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114: The word I look for with eggs is "nesting." If the chicken has been given the space and materials to make a nest, it is probably being treated ok.

I haven't actually been able to find eggs from "free range, nesting" hens since I moved to cleveland.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 6:34 PM
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I have the fond but probably misguided belief that buying 'organic', whatever the hell it means, indicates the existence of a market that's interested in the conditions of the animals, and so enforcement of meaningful descriptive terms will be called into existence by teh power of teh market. And we keep on nagging Bobby to find some grass-fed beef to sell us. Anyone know what you call a humanely treated pig?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 6:47 PM
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Vice-president?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 6:49 PM
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"Arnold".


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 6:49 PM
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Note that in many places chi chi meat prices do not mean much. In New England, Whole Foods sells "naturally raised beef," i.e. without growth hormones and (I believe) unnecessary antibiotics, but it's not grass-fed.

Buffalo is pretty tasty, and I don't know that it's possible to buy anything other than grass-fed buffalo.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 6:54 PM
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Anyone know what you call a humanely treated pig?

Next time I go to the co-op----which'll probably be tomorrow seeing as we're out of granola----I'll look and see what they're calling it.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 7:37 PM
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Anyone know what you call a humanely treated pig?

Delicious.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 7:49 PM
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We called our humanely-treated pigs a variety of names. "Imelda", "Leona", "Zsa-Zsa", and the one year in the early 1990s when we had a castrated male pig, "George". The one my brother named was oddly called "Yogurt" (after the character in Spaceballs). These pigs were fed manly from scraps we collected from a local high-end restaurant run by a friend, and they often ate better than we did, ignoring the "scraps" aspect. Salmon, buttercream cakes, whatever.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 7:52 PM
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Bison would help, yes, switching to humanely-raised pigs would here, sure, but if we're going to be honest, we should be eating a lot more squirrel.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 8:06 PM
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I've read that in poorer years, up until the end of the Depression, city dwellers would often turn to pigeon.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 8:10 PM
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we should be eating a lot more squirrel.

Yes, and then we can all have Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 8:20 PM
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The food chain in action:
Bluejay -> squirrel -> humans.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 8:25 PM
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126: you don't have to eat the delicious, delicious brains.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 8:27 PM
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Speaking of brains, when one finds a taqueria whose options (along with beef, pork, cheek, tongue, and eye) include "head", does this mean brains?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 8:34 PM
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129: cabeza? si si.

TACOS DE CABEZA, literally meaning "head tacos", are just that. A traditional breakfast in Sonora and the Bajío, they are also popular in Mexico City. Traditionally, the head of a steer was steamed all night, the bones and gristle removed in the morning, and the meat shredded and stirred with its broth. Taco stands offering this specialty are distinguished by huge metal steamers in which the pieces of meat are cooked. Being an inexpensive meat, the stands selling it are often located in humble neighborhoods. Since the meat is steamed for a long period of time, it is well-cooked without grease of any kind. The customer chooses the type of meat from a large assortment, including sesos (brains), oreja (ear meat) and lengua (tongue) among others. The first-time consumer might want to stick with maciza, which is a boneless piece of beef. Toppings for tacos de cabeza are chopped onions and chopped cilantro and red or green salsa.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 8:36 PM
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Good to know. vCJDelicious!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 8:39 PM
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you don't have to eat the delicious, delicious brains.

Sifu: Semi-Zombie.

I don't think brains are very delicious, at least not without heavy sauces. The one or two I've had were just disgusting fatty unflavored lumps with an abhorrent vaguely-melty-but-not-in-a-good-way texture.

But who knows, maybe inchoate animal consciousness gives the mammalian cerebellum just a slight piquant edge that makes them worth eating.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 8:49 PM
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I've had sweetbreads cooked in brown butter that were absolutely delicious, but I generally do shy away from brains. Tongue, too, for that matter, although I've never been able to articulate why.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 8:52 PM
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67: Notice you've said 'switch to more expensive meat due to policy arguments' not 'cut back on meat.;

Please read the part of 67 that says "on a less frequent basis.

The other thing I'd want is some federal muscle backing up claims to 'organic' or 'free-range.'

There's actually quite a bit of federal muscle backing up the word "organic", but that's not necessarily a good thing. It's actually a huge issue for small producers because the Federal regs have largely been changed to suit megaproducers, and the cost and paperwork and hassle of certification is often beyond the means of the small scale folks. At farmers markets you'll see a lot of producers who advertise that they don't use pesticides, hormones, petrochemical-based fertilizers, etc but who aren't certified organic.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 9:15 PM
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I'm not 100% sure, but I may love meat more than I love my wife and children. I can be persuaded to pay more for meat, and to eat less of it, but not like that.

Braises and other such treatments are delicious Walt. Better than the expensive cuts in many instances if done decently. For example, great barbecue is not generally made from tenderloin.

I'm not talking at all about denying you or anyone pleasure. It's just that if meat were priced in a way that more closely tracked its true cost, it would be more expensive, and cheaper (which does not at all mean "less delicious") cuts would be utilized more.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 9:23 PM
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Bacon should be free! To the barricades!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 9:24 PM
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Tongue is good, Sifu.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 9:25 PM
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I believe it. I'm not usually weirded out by food, either. Somehow, though, I've never taken the plunge.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 9:27 PM
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130 frightens me, because the odds that someday I will forget all about that comment, be in Mexico City and eat one of those tacos is so very, very high.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-10-08 9:38 PM
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Mad cow disease doesn't hit you for decades, so past the age of 40 or so it's a negligible risk.

And by my age, what's the big deal with AIDS? You're gonna go sometime no matter what. (Relationships, on the other hand, take effect immediately, with no latency.)


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 7:11 AM
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I knew a guy who used to bind meat balls with brains, the way a sane person might with egg. They didn't taste any different, just cost more.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 7:18 AM
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The zombie diet.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 7:26 AM
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We will never get rid of corn subsidies as long as the Iowa Caucuses are the official start of the silly season.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 03-11-08 5:24 PM
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