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Americans Overwhelmingly Declare: Let the Market Decide Milk Prices
Posted By:  - 11/30/12

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74 percent of Americans believe that milk prices should be determined by the marketplace as opposed to set artificially by government, according to a new poll of 2,094 adults conducted by Harris Interactive for the International Dairy Foods Association.

While the Harris poll did find that 52 percent of Americans support providing subsidized insurance to protect farmers from unforeseen losses, a mere 8 percent back federal policies to keep milk prices above market value. It is clear that the vast majority of Americans favor the market determining dairy production and prices over the federal government setting arbitrary limits on production to drive up costs.

However, the Dairy Market Stabilization Program (DMSP), a provision buried deep within the massive trillion-dollar “Farm Bill” lumbering through Congress, would buck the preferences of consumers and producers and enforce caps on the amount of milk farmers produce in a misguided attempt to increase demand.

This intrusive insertion of the federal government into the milk marketplace would result in higher dairy prices as well as a whole host of new regulatory complications, adversely affecting both consumers and producers. In addition, farmers would likely face stiff penalties for exceeding the federal “cap” on production, and with reductions to the amount of milk farmers are permitted to produce, jobs within the dairy industry could be eliminated as well.

It is clear that the DMSP is bad news for all Americans, and this is why NTU has joined with Citizens Against Government Waste to oppose the DMSP and help involve concerned citizens.

Visit YourMilkMoney.org to learn more about the destructive consequences of the DMSP, watch informative videos, and take action to tell Congress that the market, not the government, should set the price of milk.

 

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NEW VIDEO: How Congress' Dairy Market Manipulation Scheme Will Hurt American Consumers
Posted By: Douglas Kellogg - 11/14/12

This video from CCAGW and the National Taxpayers Union highlights the impact a damaging milk regulation scheme known as "DMSP" will have on American consumers and the dairy industry. Find out more, and Take Action, at YourMilkMoney.org!

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The Late Edition: November 13, 2012
Posted By:  - 11/13/12

Today’s Taxpayer News!

The latest possible compromise between House Republicans seeking to limit tax increases, and Senate Democrats and the White House seeking to raise them for higher-income earners, involves reducing tax rates in exchange for limiting deductions. 

The FTC’s case against Google for alleged antitrust violations is still a weak one, and consumers remain unconvinced according to the Carolina Journal, citing an NTU-Zogby survey.

Today, the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) and the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) released the second in a series of videos alerting consumers, taxpayers, and the organizations' membership to the dangers of the Dairy Market Stabilization Program (DMSP). Check it out at here.

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NTU's Doug Kellogg on the Dairy Debacle (AUDIO)
Posted By:  - 10/11/12

Steve Stanek of the Heartland Institute brings NTU's Doug Kellogg onto their show to discuss the specifics of the "Dairy Market Stabilization Program", which could have a big impact on your grocery bills.

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Worst Policy Ever Has Bacon on the Path to Extinction
Posted By: Nan Swift - 09/25/12

Have you ever had a Bacon Bloody Mary? Maybe you’ve tried bacon candy? Or perhaps you just enjoy an old fashioned BLT or Bacon Cheeseburger?

Well, if you’re a fan of bacon in any format, you need to brace yourself. Unless the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acts quickly to waive the corn ethanol mandate, it could be the end of a very tasty era for America’s many bacon lovers.  The BBC was the first out of the gate with the dire prediction that “there could soon be a global pork shortage, and a sharp rise in prices” – but the news has been pointing this direction in a long time.

Thanks to a double whammy of severe drought and bad energy policies, the price of corn has reached  a record high of over $8/bushel.  This means  livestock producers are finding it costs far more to feed and raise hogs than they can sell them for. This summer’s poor corn yields have exacerbated an already shaky corn supply due to a Renewable Fuels Standard that diverts almost forty percent of our corn to fuel production. The editors at Bloomberg.com explain:

Since 2005, the U.S. government has mandated that gasoline contain ethanol, almost all of it derived from corn. The policy, ostensibly aimed at reducing the country’s dependence on foreign oil and at improving the environment, has been a bonanza for farmers. Land planted with corn soared by a fourth after Congress passed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which required that gasoline producers blend 15 billion gallons of ethanol into the nation’s gasoline supply by 2015.

… With this year’s crop expected to be the smallest in six years, corn prices have jumped 60 percent since June. The ethanol requirements are aggravating the rise in food costs and spreading it to the price of gasoline, which is up almost 40 cents a gallon since the start of July.

The damage is far-reaching. Beef and pork producers are slaughtering their stocks at a record pace to cut use of corn feed that costs two-thirds more than three months ago.

In the U.S., pork giant Smithfield Foods Inc. saw first-quarter earnings drop 25%, forcing its president to beg the EPA for help:

But like other livestock producers, high feed costs have challenged its bottom line. In July, Mr. Pope called for the U.S. government to waive its mandate requiring the blending of ethanol into the nation's gasoline supply as a severe drought batters the nation's corn crop and drives up prices. Smithfield buys roughly 128 million bushels of corn and corn equivalents each year to feed its hogs, making it one of the largest consumers of the grain in the U.S., Mr. Pope had said.

The Wall Street Journal reports a similarly disturbing picture for our neighbor to the north:

Big Sky Farms Inc., one of Canada's biggest hog farmers, was forced into receivership by lenders earlier this week, the latest victim of a withering North American drought that has sent feed prices soaring for livestock producers across the continent.

Big Sky, based in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, produces about one million hogs a year, generating about 40% of the Canadian province's annual production. It ranks as Canada's No. 2 producer, with operations on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border.

And the Guardian reports a worldwide slaughter of pigs that will lead to sharply increased prices:

Rabobank said the slaughter of millions of pigs has already led to a 31% increase in the price of pork and the costs of other meats are also expected to soar as "US livestock herds are likely to be liquidated at an accelerating pace in the first half of 2013".

Nicholas Higgins, a Rabobank commodities analyst and author of the report, said: "There will be an initial glut in meat availability as people slaughter their animals to reduce their feed bills. But by next year herds will be so reduced that there won't be enough animals to meet expected demand and prices will soar."

While all meat lovers will be affected by the record-breaking price rises, Higgins said bacon butty fans may suffer the biggest increases because it is easier for farmers to slash and rebuild pig herds than cattle.

"Farmers cut back pigs because they can rebuild them the quickest. Replacement cattle take a lot longer to breed – a year and a half compared to six months for pigs," he said.

While the government can’t make it rain, the EPA can waive costly ethanol mandates that require fuel producers to blend corn ethanol into the gasoline supply, thus diverting much-needed food to our fuel tanks. NTU is working with a broad coalition of groups ranging from livestock producers, anti-hunger organizations, and environmental advocates to urge the EPA to waive the ethanol mandate, relieving the pressure on corn markets.  Unfortunately, right now it looks like more not less corn will be going into our cars in the near future

E15, gasoline with 15% ethanol (up from the current 10%) could be coming to a gas station near you.  Even as corn prices climb, the Administration has been clearing the way for E15 fuel, despite the major risks to engines, the lower gas mileage, and increased greenhouse gas production – just to name a few of the serious downsides to E15.

Rather than letting the market determine our fuel needs –it’s clear that the EPA is willing to continue to plow forward with their ethanol schemes regardless of the outcome.

Sadly, for baconistas everywhere, the EPA’s dogged adherence to failed corn ethanol  policies could spell the end of what will one day be remembered as a Golden Age of Bacon. The coming critical bacon shortages will hamper the amazing creativity of baconphiles the world over, rendering (pun intended) bacon less a medium for awesome and delicious inventions, and more a pricey delicacy enjoyed only by society’s elite. At ever higher prices, it will soon become unaffordable to push the limits of pork products and the world may never see the triumph of a Burger King Whopper with not just 1,050 strips of bacon, but 2,100!

Here, at the end of 2012, we may indeed be seeing the very pinnacle of bacon culture and technology, consigning so many bacon bandaids  and woven bacon explosions to the grease trap of history.  Sadly, this is just one more way big government is making it harder and harder for everyone to bring home the bacon.

 

 

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The Late Edition: September 20, 2012
Posted By:  - 09/20/12

Today’s Taxpayer News!

NTU issued a Vote Alert today, urging all Representatives to vote “YES” on H.R. 3409, the “Stop the War on Coal Act of 2012.” The bill is meant to rein in the overzealous EPA, and hold the agency accountable to taxpayers.

NTU’s Communications Manager Doug Kellogg explains the many perils of the new Dairy Market Stabilization Program in an op-ed for CNS News. The bottom line for consumers? Higher dairy prices, as production drops.

Remember back in 2010 when the Congressional Budget Office estimated that 2 million Americans would be hit with a tax penalty under ObamaCare if they failed to purchase appropriate coverage by 2014? Well, double that number, and you now have the newest estimate from CBO. At this rate of recalculation, it’s not entirely improbable to imagine the number shooting even higher.

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The Late Edition: September 19, 2012
Posted By:  - 09/19/12

Today’s Taxpayer News!

NTU and 45 other organizations with an eye on fiscal responsibility have written in support of S. J. Res. 48, a resolution of dissent authored by Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) denouncing the IRS premium tax credit rule. This is the portion of the President’s healthcare law which would fine employers $2,000 per worker for noncompliance with the law.

The brand new website launched by NTU and CAGW to fight the Dairy Market Stabilization Program crammed into the $969 billion Farm Bill is already making news in the agribusiness world.

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The Late Edition: September 18, 2012
Posted By:  - 09/18/12

Today’s Taxpayers News!

A joint effort by the National Taxpayers Union and Citizens Against Government Waste to educate taxpayers on the fiscal implications of the Dairy Market Stabilization Program, a costly and utterly unnecessary provision of the already ominous Farm Bill, has launched with success. Concerned citizens can visit the brand new site here to learn more.

Recently, the progressive magazine Mother Jones released a video condemning statements made by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney who asserted that 47% of Americans are dependent upon government for many of their needs. Fox Business offered a response, citing NTU data which shows that the wealthy do, in fact, bear the brunt of the tax burden.

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Speaking of Taxpayers, August 10: Josh Sewell of Taxpayers for Common Sense on the Farm Bill
Posted By:  - 08/10/12

Subscribe to NTU's podcast "Speaking of Taxpayers" via iTunes!

      
   
   
   
   
   

Pete and Doug discuss the Farm Bill fiscal fiasco with a guest from Taxpayers for Common Sense, while the "Fiscal Five" takes a global approach looking at tax issues in Japan and France as well as here at home.
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Top 10 Reasons to Oppose Farm Welfare
Posted By: Nan Swift - 08/08/12

1. The Farm Bill is reform we can’t afford: The 2012 House Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARMM) Act weighs in at a budget-busting $960 billion  over the next ten years! For comparison, when ObamaCare passed, we were told it would cost $940 billion (the price tag later went way higher). The Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, cost $700 billion in initial outlays.
 
2. Congress can’t keep spending money we don’t have:  Our economy is staggering under a $1.2 trillion federal deficit and $16 trillion in federal debt. We can’t keep wasting taxpayer dollars on unnecessary programs like the Farm Bill. Congress should be shrinking government spending, not growing it.
 
3. The farm economy remains robust: Thanks to high commodity prices and bigger crop yields, the financial outlook for American farmers has been improving.  The Department of Agriculture reports that productivity has soared in the past 60 years.  Since the 1990s, farm income has trended upward at a much faster pace than for other U.S. households.  In 2010, the average annual income for a farming household was $84,440, well above the national mean of $64,000. The current debt-to-asset ratio in the agriculture sector is less than 9 percent and fewer than one in 200 farms fail each year.
 
4. This isn’t the spending cut we were promised: The media and Big Ag proponents have been touting the new bill as a major cut, but this legislation is 60% BIGGER than the Farm Bill that passed in 2008.
 
5. The farm bill is full of new entitlements for Big Ag:  The new farm bill does cut the indefensible direct payment program, where farmers received a check from taxpayers regardless of market conditions, but it is replaced by “shallow-loss” crop insurance programs that have the potential to cost billions more for taxpayers should prices fall even slightly to their 15-year averages.
 
6. There’s far more “Food Stamp” than “farm” in the Farm Bill:  Almost 80% of the funds in the bill go toward the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.  This makes for a strangely hypocritical bill, whereby at the same time farm policies try to prop-up food prices, SNAP tries to make food more affordable for low-income Americans. The truth is that without buying votes from both sides of the aisle through taxpayer-funded handouts, the package would never pass. Congress should evaluate both parts of the bill on their individual merits and embrace cost-saving policies like block-granting Food Stamps, a common-sense reform that has had great success in other welfare programs.
 
7. The Farm Bill is full of hidden costs to our economy: The taxpayer-funded subsidies and other price support programs in the Farm Bill distort free markets and increase the price of food. Federally funded crop insurance programs create a perverse incentive to farm on land that shouldn’t be cultivated and drive up prices, hurting small farmers in the process.
 
8. We need to repeal the sugar program: The House Farm Bill preserves the nefarious sugar cartel that costs U.S. consumers $1.9 billion a year thanks to trade restrictions and price supports. Fully 42% of sugar subsidies go to only 1% of sugar growers, and for every one sugar producing job saved, three are lost by industries that use sugar for their products. The result is lost economic activity and employment opportunities, both of which end up flowing to other countries.
 
9. The Farm Bill is full of costly special interest carve-outs:  Just two examples include a duplicative catfish inspection program costing taxpayers $44 million and a cotton subsidy that violates free trade agreements and for which taxpayers pay Brazilian cotton growers $150 million per year. Want more? How about a Soviet-style dairy price support program that costs taxpayers billions of dollars, stifles innovation, transfers wealth from consumers to certain dairy businesses and hurts downstream producers. Then there are all the programs for mustard seeds, garbanzo beans, lentils, popcorn, rice, and peanuts. The list goes on and on.
 
10. Taxpayers assume the most risk: Taxpayers currently cover about 60% of the costs for farmers’ crop insurance.  That means that taxpayers assume much of the risk for crops planted in unsuitable areas or for poor business choices.   Congress has created a moral hazard by eliminating the incentive for following prudent farming and other cost mitigation practices like crop diversification.

We need to tell Congress to stop letting Big Ag feed at the taxpayers' trough. Go here to sign the petition and urge your lawmakers to oppose H.R. 6083, the House Farm Bill!
 


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