The beef alternative
It’s perversely ironic for rancher Cliven Bundy to excoriate poor people for collecting government subsidies, while ripping off the federal government of a million dollars in grazing fees. Bu, even if he were to pay up, Bundy and his fellow ranchers, would still be living on government welfare.
Livestock grazing is subsidized by federal agencies on 270 million acres of public land in 11 western states to the tune of nearly $300 million annually. Monthly grazing fees per cow and calf on private rangeland average $11.90, but corresponding fees on federal lands are set at a paltry $1.35.
Even so, grazing subsidies are dwarfed by other government subsidies and the medical, environmental and other external costs imposed on society by animal agriculture. These extra costs have been estimated at $414 billion annually, or $3,600 per household.
Each of us can make our $3,600 annual contribution to the common good by replacing animal products in our diet with the rich variety of grain-, nut-, and soy-based meat and dairy alternatives in our neighborhood supermarket.
The basic facts
Alas, the VC Reporter has once again printed a column by Mr. Moomjean where statements are made which are easily verifiable to be false. His Right Persuasion column of April 10 states that barely 858,000 previously uninsured have paid for the insurance bought under the Affordable Care Act. First, there are no definitive numbers of how many sign-ups have actually paid. The reason for this is very simple, when one signs up on a website or over the phone, the formal application for insurance is made to an insurance company. The company then processes the application and sends a formal billing. At some time, typically 30 days, the bill is due and is considered in arrears if not paid by then. So what are the basic facts? As of March 14, long before the major ramp-up in enrollment, eight states released actual first-payment-made data. The result was, 1,050,000 had made that first payment out of approximately 1,400,000 applications processed. That is in just eight states! Nearly all models expect that better than 90 percent will ultimately make that first payment.
The conservative have such a long history of problems with reality. Who could imagine using airplanes as missiles? Well, the Clinton administration did for the Atlanta Olympics. The Iraq War might be six days or six weeks, certainly not six months. Actually, it lasted nearly 9 years. The polls showing Obama leading Romney were skewed. Obama won handily, with Romney getting only 47 percent (fitting) of the vote. The Bureau of Labor Statistics “cooked the books” showing job growth. Well, no, the data was subsequently revised as is typical, but it was upward, not downward. The Affordable Care Act website was cooking the books. Well, no, and with the continued completions of processes started, the final number is expected to be nearly 7.5 million.
Finally, what is this BS about Social Security, working but struggling to survive? Again, basic facts. From its inception, Social Security was designed as a pay-as-you-go system, that is, IT IS SUPPOSED TO GO BROKE EVERY YEAR! Social Security ran a profit from 1936 to 1958. In 1959, it began running a minor deficit. With various modifications, it vacillated until the early 1980s. Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill negotiated a major revamping in 1983. It boosted tax rates, brought in civil service workers, and provided for the first time that the baby boomers would pre-fund their retirements with a trust fund. Republicans led by George Bush have been trying to steal that trust fund ever since. George Bush, when he couldn’t privatize the trust fund and turn it over directly to Wall Street, cut taxes on the wealthy, borrowing from the trust fund to cover budget deficits, thus lending money from the trust fund to the wealthy. As Social Security begins drawing on that trust fund, those bonds will have to be repaid, and that means the wealthy will have to pay the money back through higher taxes. So they get their ignoramus mouthpieces to say Social Security is failing. They don’t want to give the money back!