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Count Bobulescu

Would you Support A Red Meat Tax?

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A proposal in Germany this week to raise the sales tax on red meat, to combat global warming has attracted support from across the political spectrum.
Currently in Germany, meat like most foodstuffs, attracts a reduced rate of 7%. The proposal would raise it to the standard rate of 19%. The change would add approximately $1 to a pound of Rib-Eye, with the revenue dedicated to various remedial actions. There have been similar proposals in Scandinavia, that so far have not materialized into anything concrete.
Lots of ancillary issues, like the effects on low income consumers in food deserts, whose cheapest quickest easiest access to sufficient protein may be a fast food outlet, and reduced income for beef farmers.
 
Globally, the US has the highest per capita red meat consumption, about 50% more than the EU.
How long before this becomes a realistic proposal in the US, and would you support such a tax?/
 
 

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12 hours ago, Count Bobulescu said:
How long before this becomes a realistic proposal in the US, and would you support such a tax?

Doesn't matter - the human race is fucked.

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18 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

Doesn't matter - the human race is fucked.

Fucked because we rely on technological innovation to save our asses instead of will power and personal initiative.  I can cut back on red meat, recycle everything, and walk everywhere but it won’t do a damn bit of good if most people can’t be bothered to lift a finger.  I’m in New Orleans this week - super hot but stores have their doors wide open with AC on full blast.

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14 hours ago, DonRocks said:

Doesn't matter - the human race is fucked.

That's depressing, more than glass half empty. I guess it's OK, if you're only here for a short time, and a good time, party on......

14 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

Fucked because we rely on technological innovation to save our asses instead of will power and personal initiative.  I can cut back on red meat, recycle everything, and walk everywhere but it won’t do a damn bit of good if most people can’t be bothered to lift a finger.  I’m in New Orleans this week - super hot but stores have their doors wide open with AC on full blast.

Now that really is depressing......

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23 minutes ago, Count Bobulescu said:

That's depressing, more than glass half empty. I guess it's OK, if you're only here for a short time, and a good time, party on......

But I'm no Nihilist (John Goodman wouldn't like me if I was) - for some odd reason, I'm driven by helping other people, rather than hedonism.

In other words, I'm essentially the opposite of ... um ... well, never mind.

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On 8/10/2019 at 9:23 AM, Count Bobulescu said:
 
Globally, the US has the highest per capita red meat consumption, about 50% more than the EU.
How long before this becomes a realistic proposal in the US, and would you support such a tax?/

Never.  Americans lust for cheap food as much as they do low taxes.  The majority don't have the critical thinking/global perspicacity to know of, understand or even appreciate the virtues of tax revenue and reverence for quality food (either nutritional/environmental merits or designation of standards, e.g., AOC, DOP) that exists beyond the bourbon label.

However, if a tax were to be imposed on those raising ruminants, it should be applied to the CAFO's and factory farms which acerbate the situation by feeding their animals terrible feed grown with terrible pesticides from far away, shipped back and forth across the country, excessively packaged and burning all sorts of resources in the process. Taxing smaller operations would likely run them out of business and concentrate even more production to the massive shit-shows we like to call "farms".  Tax the things that are bad for you (cigarettes, alcohol) as well as those which are frighteningly cheap (soda, commodity meat).

After plenty of calculus, smaller farms which raise their animals in manners less detrimental to the environment should be given a tax incentive or reprieve given the high costs of small scale farming -one that doesn't enjoy the efficiencies of scale.  The premium of such products reflect the true cost of growing food and taxing absurdly cheap $4/lb ground beef (national average) to make it as expensive as better-than-average apples would begin to help reset the reality of what food costs.*

*while at the far, far end of the spectrum, at our 28 acre farm we sell our 100% grass fed lamb for $16-$35/lb ; chickens from $8/lb whole to $18/lb breasts and pork from $14 for ground, $16/lb sausages to $23/lb pork chops.  Our customers happily satisfy their consciences and palates with their expenditures.

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59 minutes ago, Poivrot Farci said:

The majority don't

Yes, but is "the majority" singular or plural? You voiced it in the plural.

"The majority is in favor of ...."

"The majority of people are in favor of ...."

Hmm ...

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On 8/11/2019 at 10:01 PM, Poivrot Farci said:

Never.  Americans lust for cheap food as much as they do low taxes.  The majority don't have the critical thinking/global perspicacity to know of, understand or even appreciate the virtues of tax revenue and reverence for quality food (either nutritional/environmental merits or designation of standards, e.g., AOC, DOP) that exists beyond the bourbon label.

However, if a tax were to be imposed on those raising ruminants, it should be applied to the CAFO's and factory farms which acerbate the situation by feeding their animals terrible feed grown with terrible pesticides from far away, shipped back and forth across the country, excessively packaged and burning all sorts of resources in the process. Taxing smaller operations would likely run them out of business and concentrate even more production to the massive shit-shows we like to call "farms".  Tax the things that are bad for you (cigarettes, alcohol) as well as those which are frighteningly cheap (soda, commodity meat).

After plenty of calculus, smaller farms which raise their animals in manners less detrimental to the environment should be given a tax incentive or reprieve given the high costs of small scale farming -one that doesn't enjoy the efficiencies of scale.  The premium of such products reflect the true cost of growing food and taxing absurdly cheap $4/lb ground beef (national average) to make it as expensive as better-than-average apples would begin to help reset the reality of what food costs.*

*while at the far, far end of the spectrum, at our 28 acre farm we sell our 100% grass fed lamb for $16-$35/lb ; chickens from $8/lb whole to $18/lb breasts and pork from $14 for ground, $16/lb sausages to $23/lb pork chops.  Our customers happily satisfy their consciences and palates with their expenditures.


I'm not so sure about never,.....US is a follower in this domain.
Your view of the general US population smacks of EU style elitism. 
Your plea for a tax exemption for small or boutique producers seems to me to be 100% self serving, and counter intuitive. The consumers who can afford to pay the tax, would be given a break.....gimme a break.....

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2 hours ago, Count Bobulescu said:
I'm not so sure about never,.....US is a follower in this domain.
Your view of the general US population smacks of EU style elitism. 
Your plea for a tax exemption for small or boutique producers seems to me to be 100% self serving, and counter intuitive. The consumers who can afford to pay the tax, would be given a break.....gimme a break.....
 

Why should a producer that has fewer environmental consequences be taxed at the same rate as those who are responsible for the bulk of the harm?

There should be incentives to move away from the massive CAFO’s that don’t exist is Europe. Just like there are incentives for renewable energy and associated products. 

The general US population simply  does not revere food or have anywhere near the same accessibility to it as in the EU. That’s not elitism, that’s just the way it is. Europeans are already well familiar with taxation and the services it allows government to provide whereas Americans reject taxes and are suspicious of government. If soda and plastic bag taxes are legislative battle, taxing the venerable hamburger is a Mars-shot.

Changing methods (and subsidies) would be more beneficial than taxing what a population is resigned to. Changing those methods would already raise the price of curiously cheap food. It is baffling that a chicken leg in the supermarket is $0.69/lb whereas apples are $3.50/lb. 

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On 8/12/2019 at 10:31 AM, Poivrot Farci said:

Why should a producer that has fewer environmental consequences be taxed at the same rate as those who are responsible for the bulk of the harm?

There should be incentives to move away from the massive CAFO’s that don’t exist is Europe. Just like there are incentives for renewable energy and associated products. 

The general US population simply  does not revere food or have anywhere near the same accessibility to it as in the EU. That’s not elitism, that’s just the way it is. Europeans are already well familiar with taxation and the services it allows government to provide whereas Americans reject taxes and are suspicious of government. If soda and plastic bag taxes are legislative battle, taxing the venerable hamburger is a Mars-shot.

Changing methods (and subsidies) would be more beneficial than taxing what a population is resigned to. Changing those methods would already raise the price of curiously cheap food. It is baffling that a chicken leg in the supermarket is $0.69/lb whereas apples are $3.50/lb. 

That's a debatable premise to begin with.

Because (unless you can show otherwise), the inefficiencies associated with small scale high end production typically result in higher per unit resource consumption. 
CAFO's exist in Europe. UK alone has almost 800. One for every 65,000 people. Facts, not emotion, please
 

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On 8/12/2019 at 1:33 PM, Count Bobulescu said:

CAFO's exist in Europe. UK alone has almost 800. One for every 65,000 people. Facts, not emotion, please

Massive (or what is loosely categorized as "large") CAFO’s don’t exist in Europe and the UK does not represent the entirety of the EU (won’t represent any by year’s end) and UK farms are larger than those on the European continent. 2/3's of the 10.3 million farms in the EU (accounting for 422 million farmed acres) are less than 12 acres but the average UK farm is around 207 acres (France: 135 acres; Germany: 137 acres according to Eurostat).  The average farm size in the US (of 910 million farmed acres) is 444 acres.  

The EPA estimates about 15,500 CAFO’s in the US and almost 10,000 are defined as "large". That's one for every 21,000; 4 times more than the UK (800 CAFO's for a 66 million population.)   US feedlots with a 32,000 head or more market around 40 percent of fed cattle in the US. That is far larger than anything in Europe even when adjusted for population/land. The largest dairy farm in the US (Fair Oaks, Illinois) has 30,000 cows whereas the largest proposed dairy farm in France was to contain 1,700 (France produces 25% of EU beef followed by Germany 17% and UK 13%). And there are significant ecological differences (waste management primarily) between fifty 100 head cattle farms and a 5000 head cattle farm.  

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About 35 years ago, I got to spend 8 months working with Eliot Coleman (one of the deans of organic farming), and I am sad that the discussions haven't changed very much.

I'd support a red meat tax, but I can afford to pay it.  

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11 hours ago, Poivrot Farci said:

Massive (or what is loosely categorized as "large") CAFO’s don’t exist in Europe and the UK does not represent the entirety of the EU (won’t represent any by year’s end) and UK farms are larger than those on the European continent. 2/3's of the 10.3 million farms in the EU (accounting for 422 million farmed acres) are less than 12 acres but the average UK farm is around 207 acres (France: 135 acres; Germany: 137 acres according to Eurostat).  The average farm size in the US (of 910 million farmed acres) is 444 acres.  

The EPA estimates about 15,500 CAFO’s in the US and almost 10,000 are defined as "large". That's one for every 21,000; 4 times more than the UK (800 CAFO's for a 66 million population.)   US feedlots with a 32,000 head or more market around 40 percent of fed cattle in the US. That is far larger than anything in Europe even when adjusted for population/land. The largest dairy farm in the US (Fair Oaks, Illinois) has 30,000 cows whereas the largest proposed dairy farm in France was to contain 1,700 (France produces 25% of EU beef followed by Germany 17% and UK 13%). And there are significant ecological differences (waste management primarily) between fifty 100 head cattle farms and a 5000 head cattle farm.  


There's no dispute that the US is the worst CAFO offender. I simply challenged your blanket claim that CAFO's were non-existent in EU. I have zero intention of debating the distinctions between Large, Massive, and "Mega" (as used by The Guardian). 
 
You don't reform unless you have a problem......
 
Quote

The European Union currently leads the world in CAFO reforms.

CAFOTHEBOOK

Wiki....
 
Quote

According to the BBC, the era factory farming per se in Britain began in 1947 when a new Agriculture Act granted subsidies to farmers to encourage greater output by introducing new technology, in order to reduce Britain's reliance on imported meat. The United Nations writes that "intensification of animal production was seen as a way of providing food security."[14] In 1966, the United States, United Kingdom and other industrialized nations, commenced factory farming of beef and dairy cattle and domestic pigs.[15] From its American and West European heartland, factory farming became globalised in the later years of the 20th century and is still expanding and replacing traditional practices of stock rearing in an increasing number of countries.[15] In 1990 factory farming accounted for 30% of world meat production and by 2005 this had risen to 40%.[15]

 

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[I just wanted to chime in and say that this is the best dialogue we have going in this community right now; the only thing that worries me is that great minds are teetering on sniping at one-another, and that would be a shame because this is such a good conversation - it hasn't happened yet (please don't let it?)

Carry on ...
Rocks]

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There'll be no  ~!@#$%^&* here.

Below is more appropriate for the Brexit thread but still relevant here.

Quote

 

Wake up, sheeple: A “small flock of sheep” is to be herded down Whitehall and past key government buildings today as the new “Farmers for a People’s Vote” campaign is launched. The baaaaa-rking mad stunt will be followed by a press conference and the release of a new report on the impact of a no-deal Brexit on farming. Former NFU Chief Economist Sean Rickard is warning of the “decimation” of U.K. agriculture if no deal goes ahead. The Indy has more.

Speaking of which: The Today program has bagged an interview with the excellently named Zippy Duvall, head of the American Farm Bureau, who says a deal on chlorinated chicken will be an essential part of any transatlantic trade deal. “Here in America we treat our water with chlorine,” Duvall says. “So there is no scientific basis that says washing poultry with a chlorine wash just to be safe of whatever pathogens might be on that chicken as it was prepared for the market, should be taken away. If there was something wrong with it, our federal inspection systems would not be allowing us to use that.”

Reminder: The point, of course, is not that the chlorine itself is harmful, but that its use hides other poor hygiene and welfare standards within the U.S. food industry. This BBC explainer from March sets out the arguments on both sides.

 

 

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I was surprised to learn that foreign beef that has passed thru a US certified plant, in a foreign country can be labeled "Product of US".
 
From NPR
 
The question of whether grass-fed beef is better is complicated: Grass feeding takes more time and more land, but it helps with soil erosion and is closer to how cows evolved to live. But much of it is shipped halfway around the world to the U.S., and any difference in greenhouse gas emissions is up for debate.

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10 hours ago, Count Bobulescu said:
The question of whether grass-fed beef is better is complicated: Grass feeding takes more time and more land, but it helps with soil erosion and is closer to how cows evolved to live. But much of it is shipped halfway around the world to the U.S., and any difference in greenhouse gas emissions is up for debate.

The studies don't mention the environmental devastation caused by growing feed-corn for the 90+ million head of cattle in the US.  Buy local and eat less meat.  Raise the price of oil/gasoline so it is at least the cost of a gallon of mediocre quality milk  (or water) and tax vehicle horsepower.

If only food was valued as much as "average rated" fancy gadgets and household whatnot on Amazon Prime...

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10 hours ago, Poivrot Farci said:

The studies don't mention the environmental devastation caused by growing feed-corn for the 90+ million head of cattle in the US.  Buy local and eat less meat.  Raise the price of oil/gasoline so it is at least the cost of a gallon of mediocre quality milk  (or water) and tax vehicle horsepower.

If only food was valued as much as "average rated" fancy gadgets and household whatnot on Amazon Prime...

I agree on the corn/ethanol issue, but that article you cited is 12 years old, and has long been overtaken by new developments. Elon Musk etc. No-one today would dare seriously suggest that growing corn is the panacea to reduced gasoline consumption.
 
Food is at the top of the hierarchy of human needs. Unlike Amazon gadgets, people die without access to it. There's good public policy in having lower food prices. The earlier piece I posted about the BBC reporting on intensive farming beginning in the UK in 1947, reminded me about food rationing, which ended in the US in 1946, but not til 1954 in the UK. Intensive farming was right for the time, and times change.

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2 hours ago, Count Bobulescu said:
Food is at the top of the hierarchy of human needs. Unlike Amazon gadgets, people die without access to it.

People (Americans) die in large part because of food: nutritionally deficient sustenance compounded by lifestyle. Heart disease is the #1 killer. 

I am confident yours and my support for better food with fewer consequence align, but I think our food system is irredeemable and guided almost exclusively by grotesque, immediate profits rather than fundamental nutrition, basic health, flavor or even longer term financial benefits.  Yes, food is a business, but a business that contributes to considerable health costs and mortality is a curious business model. 

Good quality food in the US comes at a steep premium and the consumer landscape (average supermarket -the only food venue) looks like it is designed to sustain doomsday bunkers. 

The artificial devaluation of meat (where it is cheaper than produce) is scandalous and shows what the priorities are. Sure, there’s a tiny renaissance in more wholesome foods -from sourdough breads from whole grains to organic produce and pastured meats- but even some of those standards have been diluted (misleading grass fed or organic labeling) and food without too much crap in it shouldn’t be out of reach for the middle class.

I am grateful for the customers who buy our meats, eggs and prepared food because I couldn’t afford to shop here regularly.  

 

 

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- 78% of US workers live paycheck to paycheck

- 48% of older Americans have no retirement savings

- 42% of Americans make less than $15/hr

- 40% of Americans hold a second job

- 45 million Americans hold $1.65 trillion in student debt

and I personally have doubts as to whether we'll exist as a country in the next decade or so

so while I think a meat tax would do wonders for the well being of the planet, there are other considerations in the queue

I copied those stats from the Twitter feed of https://www.citizen.org/  - so it's a good bet they're not made up.

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