Milking the Price of Milk for Food Stamps
The milk price scare we just went through cannot be what my first glance gave it to be. News stories suggested the price of milk might double if the government did not renew its program.
Hey, if you are saying government pays for half the price of every one's milk, that is a whopping bill. Here we are $16 trillion in debt and we are paying half the price for every gallon of milk on every table in America? Off the top, it seems like that would rank milk subsidies right up there with defense spending and federal health-care expenditures. So, this cannot be right.
I did a little quick arithmetic. What, $18 billion for milk? What is the annual deficit? About $900 billion? That wouldn't put milk up there with national defense and government health care, but it would still be a place to do some carving on the deficit.
Then, I found a link suggesting all dairy subsidies combined, marching all the way from 1995 to 2011 combined for no more than $4.9 billion. Whatever the truth to the price of milk doubling, then, it wouldn't be due to farmers losing their subsidies, and therefore having to double their prices to make up the difference. Not at all and not even close.
Then, I found some other figures. Food Stamps make up 80 percent of the half-trillion-dollar Farm Act expenditures across five years. So, while doubling the price of milk is the news angle, renewing the Farm Act is really much more about Food Stamps.
Another link put the cost of the 2008 Farm Act at $300 billion, only 67 percent of which was for Food Stamps and only 15 percent for subsidies of not just milk, but of all commodities combined.
I never did figure out why the price of milk would supposedly jump possibly to as high as $8 a gallon. A little spin doctoring going on, or fear mongering? I don't know. But, I go to bed assured milk is not costing the American public as much as the national defense, after all.
No, and Uncle Sam cannot be offering a two-for-the-price-of-one deal. He is not paying half the price of every bottle of milk slapped down on the kitchen table.