counter create hit The Big Handout: How Government Subsidies and Corporate Welfare Corrupt the World We Live In and Wreak Havoc on Our Food Bills - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

The Big Handout: How Government Subsidies and Corporate Welfare Corrupt the World We Live In and Wreak Havoc on Our Food Bills

Availability: Ready to download

Just reading the word "subsidies" may cause many people's eyes to glaze over. We don't think it affects us directly, so we tune out. But it turns out that this complicated-sounding issue has an enormous impact on all of us. The Big Handout is about bad fiscal, environmental, agricultural, water, energy, health, and foreign policies. And it's a story about just one thing—sub Just reading the word "subsidies" may cause many people's eyes to glaze over. We don't think it affects us directly, so we tune out. But it turns out that this complicated-sounding issue has an enormous impact on all of us. The Big Handout is about bad fiscal, environmental, agricultural, water, energy, health, and foreign policies. And it's a story about just one thing—subsidies. A subsidy is a grant by the government to a private business that is deemed advantageous to the public. Cotton, wheat, corn, soy, and oil are the most subsidized commodities in the United States. In this eye-opening book, New York Times best-selling author Thomas Kostigen explores government policies that cost taxpayers $200 billion per year, over $1,500 per household. In some cases we pay more for subsidized goods than we'd pay in a free market—and, in the most shocking abuses of the subsidy system, we pay for goods that aren't even produced. The Big Handout exposes how artificial pricing hurts us and people worldwide, from our waistlines and pocketbooks to our health. By revealing just how toxic America's subsidy system has become, for everyone, The Big Handout is a wake-up call that empowers readers to effect change.


Compare
Ads Banner

Just reading the word "subsidies" may cause many people's eyes to glaze over. We don't think it affects us directly, so we tune out. But it turns out that this complicated-sounding issue has an enormous impact on all of us. The Big Handout is about bad fiscal, environmental, agricultural, water, energy, health, and foreign policies. And it's a story about just one thing—sub Just reading the word "subsidies" may cause many people's eyes to glaze over. We don't think it affects us directly, so we tune out. But it turns out that this complicated-sounding issue has an enormous impact on all of us. The Big Handout is about bad fiscal, environmental, agricultural, water, energy, health, and foreign policies. And it's a story about just one thing—subsidies. A subsidy is a grant by the government to a private business that is deemed advantageous to the public. Cotton, wheat, corn, soy, and oil are the most subsidized commodities in the United States. In this eye-opening book, New York Times best-selling author Thomas Kostigen explores government policies that cost taxpayers $200 billion per year, over $1,500 per household. In some cases we pay more for subsidized goods than we'd pay in a free market—and, in the most shocking abuses of the subsidy system, we pay for goods that aren't even produced. The Big Handout exposes how artificial pricing hurts us and people worldwide, from our waistlines and pocketbooks to our health. By revealing just how toxic America's subsidy system has become, for everyone, The Big Handout is a wake-up call that empowers readers to effect change.

45 review for The Big Handout: How Government Subsidies and Corporate Welfare Corrupt the World We Live In and Wreak Havoc on Our Food Bills

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lis Carey

    This book makes an interesting counterpoint to Clean Energy Nation, by Congressman Jerry McNerney, which I reviewed in August. McNerney is a Democrat, has a high regard for the sustainable energy policies pursued by President Jimmy Carter in the 1970s while regretting the micromanagement and lack of higher-level political skills that helped to doom those policies, thinks well of Clinton and Obama, and is not so fond of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Kostigen is libertarian-leaning, considers This book makes an interesting counterpoint to Clean Energy Nation, by Congressman Jerry McNerney, which I reviewed in August. McNerney is a Democrat, has a high regard for the sustainable energy policies pursued by President Jimmy Carter in the 1970s while regretting the micromanagement and lack of higher-level political skills that helped to doom those policies, thinks well of Clinton and Obama, and is not so fond of Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. Kostigen is libertarian-leaning, considers the Cato Institute, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Heritage Foundation good and respectable sources, and admires Ronald Reagan as one of our great presidents. These two men are not coming from the same place, in their political worldviews. Yet the underlying central message of the two books is the same: Our economic, energy, and agricultural policies are unsustainable, doing damage to our planet, endangering our national security, and making us poorer. McNerney attacked the problem from the perspective of energy policy; Kostigen comes at it primarily through agricultural and other corporate subsidies. Yes, other corporate subsidies, because while 80% of our farms are smaller family-owned operations, nearly all of the agricultural subsidies, direct and indirect, go to the 20% that are owned by large corporate agribusiness entities. For some subsidies, small farms aren't even eligible. We think of farm subsidies as helping the ordinary farmer on a family-owned farm, vulnerable to the hazards of weather, natural disaster, and uncertain demand, but the reality is that those subsidies are primarily going to "farmers" who are corporate executives. Kostigan lays out in careful detail how this distorts our agriculture, our food bills, our diets, and our international relations. Subsidies encourage high-capacity factory farms (or, in the preferred terminology, "Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations," or "CAFOs.") These CAFOs crowd animals together in ways that promote the spread of disease among the animals, requiring routine use of antibiotics, which aren't completely eliminated from the animals' systems and affect us, promoting the growth of drug-resistant bacteria. They create toxic runoff which damages our waterways and causes dead zones along our coasts. They help to drive smaller farms, that operate more sustainably--not due to ideology, but simply because it's what makes practical sense for smaller farms--out of business. Corn is heavily subsidized, so making high fructose corn syrup and using it as a substitute for sugar is cheap. Sugar, meanwhile, is artificially high in price due to tariffs designed to keep out foreign sugar. Result? Artificially cheap HFCS is used to make low-quality food, including junk food, tastier and more attractive to us, while healthier foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and sustainably raised meats are more expensive than they would otherwise be. There's more than one factor in the obesity epidemic in America, but the rise of obesity as a major problem tracks very well with the rise of the use of High Fructose Corn Syrup in our food. We pay to lower the cost of agricultural production, and we get some benefit here, but the greater part of the effect is to make our agricultural products cheaper on the world market--enough cheaper that in developing countries, we're driving local farmers out of business. The result is that they have no income, and even our "cheap" food is hard for them to buy--and they are angry, resentful, and more susceptible to the recruiting efforts of Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Kostigen, while focusing mainly on agricultural subsidies, also talks about subsidies to the oil industry--the most profitable industry in the history of the planet. McNerney focuses heavily on global warming and its effects. Kostigen says, no matter what you think of global warming, it's bad for our health to inhale the pollutants that burning fossil fuels puts into the air, and we're paying to encourage this to continue, rather that switching to more sustainable, less polluting, energy sources. I haven't, and won't, discuss the numbers in detail; you're better off reading Kostigen's discussion of them. However, he lays out those numbers very clearly, and while we get some savings at the cash register due to the subsidies, those savings are a small fraction of what we're spending. In exchange, we get air pollution, water pollution, soil erosion, and increased hostility to our country around the world. There's a lot to take in here, and I haven't scratched the surface. This book is really a must-read for anyone concerned about our economy. Highly recommended. I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne Ondrus

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. We pay bout $1,500 per household for food subsidies; however, these subsidies do not reduce our market prices significantly, instead they fuel world terrorism as poor farmers cannot globally compete due to unfair trading. Moreover, these subsidies lead to unhealthy eating as unhealthy foods are subsidized, and the subsidies lead to environmental degradation as they contribute to bad environmental behavior- so is the premise of the book. The figures are really shocking- just billions of subsidies We pay bout $1,500 per household for food subsidies; however, these subsidies do not reduce our market prices significantly, instead they fuel world terrorism as poor farmers cannot globally compete due to unfair trading. Moreover, these subsidies lead to unhealthy eating as unhealthy foods are subsidized, and the subsidies lead to environmental degradation as they contribute to bad environmental behavior- so is the premise of the book. The figures are really shocking- just billions of subsidies spent each year on meat, dairy, corn, sugar, fish... but so little on fruits and vegetables. Corn is then made into high fructose corn syrup, which has more fructose than cane sugar, worse for the body than sugar (184). Subsidized fruits and vegetables make up "2.5% of farm subsidies"(112). Moreover, being able to afford to eat healthy is another issue. "A UCLA study found that a typical grocery bill consumes three times as much of a low-income family's income than a middle-income family's income"(115). We dump our goods on third world markets that cannot defend themselves-that is they cannot compete for profit, for economic survival, so they are left "humiliated" and with no other options and turning to terrorism can become salvation (194). The WHO found subsidies in America lead to unhealthy people-i.e. increased weight (184-185). This refers to American subsidies for high fructose corn syrup, sugar, meat, and dairy, creating cheaper prices for those foods while vegetables and fruits remain expensive. Also of interest is how these subsidies create an unfair playing field in our American market: "Entrepreneurs cannot supply milk at less than the government prices"(58). There is an interesting story of Hettinga, a Dutch-born dairyman living in U.S., who was run out of business by other dairy farmers because he was bottling his own milk, which Congress made illegal as a result... (60). -See Thomas Friedman NY Times article re: terrorism and food subsidies "Nicholas Stern, chief economist at the Wold Bank critiques America as hypocritical for espousing free trade and then "erect[ing] obstacles in precisely those markets in which developing countries have a comparative advantage"(198). -Our American sugar prices are above world prices due to subsidies and loans (68). Our tariffs are very high on foreign sugar, so we use almost exclusively American sugar (66-67) -We have also highly subsidized rice despite the fact that it does not make sense to farm it here- having to flood areas that are not naturally inundated with water....costs twice as much to grow rice in the U.S. as in Vietnam(94).

  3. 4 out of 5

    Christina Dudley

    Kostigen paints a detailed, alarming picture of how the whole subsidy system, started during the Depression in good (or better) faith, has now become a mighty albatross around taxpayer necks and a source of anti-American ill-will worldwide. Most troubles stem from cheap Corn and Soy, whose subsidized abundance ripples through the beef, dairy, poultry, and pork industries, not to mention the totally messed-up energy industry. (Lord, how I hate ethanol!) There are brief stops along the way in the Kostigen paints a detailed, alarming picture of how the whole subsidy system, started during the Depression in good (or better) faith, has now become a mighty albatross around taxpayer necks and a source of anti-American ill-will worldwide. Most troubles stem from cheap Corn and Soy, whose subsidized abundance ripples through the beef, dairy, poultry, and pork industries, not to mention the totally messed-up energy industry. (Lord, how I hate ethanol!) There are brief stops along the way in the land of Cotton, Steel, Oil, and Gas--equally fascinating and depressing. I'll be reviewing the book more extensively on my UrbanFarmJunkie blog this week (www.urbanfarmjunkie.blogspot.com tag: The Big Handout), but I'd have to say it was overall a demoralizing read. Motivating politicians of either stripe to change the system and motivating all those recipients of subsidies to give them up for the common good sounds this side of impossible, so I'll have to settle for my usual MO: encouraging people, to buy, cook, and eat real food, grown by small family farmers without the help of government handouts and "help" from Monsanto products.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Savannah Golden

    Thomas Kostigen exposes government subsidies and how they effect our “free market.” He says that this form of government policy “perverts our way of living, making us fatter, poorer, and more unhealthy.” This call to action book provides key facts that prove how our free market economy actually costs us more then we think. Artificially lowering the prices on good such as cotton, soy, corn, and oil hurts us and most people around the world. Kostigen investigates that subsidies “cost taxpayers $20 Thomas Kostigen exposes government subsidies and how they effect our “free market.” He says that this form of government policy “perverts our way of living, making us fatter, poorer, and more unhealthy.” This call to action book provides key facts that prove how our free market economy actually costs us more then we think. Artificially lowering the prices on good such as cotton, soy, corn, and oil hurts us and most people around the world. Kostigen investigates that subsidies “cost taxpayers $200 billion per year- more then $1,500 per household.” Not only does this hurt our wallets, but “our foreign policy, our health, and our expanding waistlines.” Kostigen’s bitter and sarcastic tone adds so much to his work because it allows the reader to see how wrong these fiscal policies are in terms of our own American democracy. Kostigen calls all readers to action which inspires me to write about something I can believe in, and change.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Wes Miller

    Good read. Well thought out and written, with thorough research behind it. Make no mistake. This book isn't a love story. It won't make you happy. It might even tick you off. Hopefully then you'll want to begin the ending of this world of unsustainable subsidies. It's insane how willing our representatives are to throw good money after bad. Thanks to the author for taking the time to write this book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Wennifred

    I just won a copy from Goodreads. Looking forward to reading it. I will write a review after I've read it. Thank you.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lesli

    Had a lot of information. Took me a while to get into it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Greg Williams

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rocco

    Eye opening description of how your individual income tax is allocated to support Big Ag and Big Business.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Eric Bangle

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shirley

  13. 5 out of 5

    Muhamad Amirsyafiq

  14. 5 out of 5

    Denise

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alan

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ana Mardoll

  17. 5 out of 5

    Mary Baker

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marty

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina Thornton

  21. 5 out of 5

    Loony Gryphon

  22. 5 out of 5

    Joanne

  23. 5 out of 5

    Debp

  24. 5 out of 5

    Wanda Morrison

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jaded

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shawna

  27. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

  28. 4 out of 5

    Linda Stuetz

  29. 4 out of 5

    Holly

  30. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

  31. 5 out of 5

    JERRY TRAILOR

  32. 5 out of 5

    Brian Lamug

  33. 5 out of 5

    Shari

  34. 4 out of 5

    Erma

  35. 5 out of 5

    Bobbie Allensworth

  36. 5 out of 5

    Becky

  37. 5 out of 5

    John Egbert

  38. 5 out of 5

    Kiyah

  39. 4 out of 5

    Spider the Doof Warrior

  40. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

  41. 5 out of 5

    Amber Griffith

  42. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

  43. 4 out of 5

    Slay Belle

  44. 4 out of 5

    Jodi Boulier

  45. 4 out of 5

    Jillian

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.