What Does the War on Sugar Say?

Mark of New Jersey

Mark is a Founding Editor of The League of Ordinary Gentlemen, the predecessor of Ordinary Times.

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49 Responses

  1. gregiank says:

    The issue for both points is that a lot of Americans are simply socially judgmental. Conservatives and liberals each have their version. Oh and libertarians are quick to claim others hate freedom or some such based on differing ideas so it seems a fairly non-partisan irritating trait. Its not a conclusion i’m particularly happy with, but there it is. Yes people go with the busy body theory of stopping other people from drinking Mr Pibb because it will affect there insurance rates. Oddly these seem to be the same people who are absolutely opposed to communitarian ideas.

    My guess about the state of progressivism regarding point 2 is that the SF soda warriors are operating under the much beloved principle of conservatives of local gov responding to local issues. I doubt, sadly, many people are aware of the sugar subsidies, which would clearly be a good thing to cut.Report

    • greginak in reply to gregiank says:

      @gregiank, I’d also add that in the interminable HCR discussions i was told many, many times that liberals should just focus on state based HC since that is easier and then some cliches about laboratories of democracy. Now that a city ( of naive people) are taking local action there are still slammed. I would bet one argument by the soda machine removal posse is that they have no way of getting rid of sugar taxes.Report

  2. Aaron says:

    It has always seemed silly to tax soda when the reason soda is so cheap in the first place is because of agricultural subsidies for the corn used to make high fructose corn syrup. It’s creating a lot of economic inefficiency to stick one economic distortion (soda tax) on top of another (subsidies for corn)Report

  3. Bob says:

    Oh, no! Another war. Captain Crunch, gather your armies.Report

  4. Here’s a bleg for you: Has anyone, anywhere written a principled defense of agriculture subsidies? I’d like to read it. Otherwise, Mark, I’m inclined to agree.Report

    • North in reply to Matthew Schmitz says:

      @Matthew Schmitz, I believe Kyle and Mike at the big stick one stood up for agriculture subsidies on national security grounds. I didn’t agree but there’s that.Report

    • Simon K in reply to Matthew Schmitz says:

      @Matthew Schmitz, As well as national security, there is also a price smoothing argument. The prices of agricultural crops are very volatile. Historically farmers went through periods where it wasn’t worth sending crops to market, and periods where they had nothing to sell. The argument is that buy the surpluses at an artifically supported prices smooths the supply to the public and the price the farmer sees.Report

  5. Jaybird says:

    What flabbergasts me is the ability of oh-so-many people to think about stuff like these bans and to identify with the ban makers.

    With a handful of phrases they transmogrify “rights” into “privileges extended” and trade away god knows how many birthrights for messes of pottage. “Well, of course, you have to understand, we have to have reasonable restraints on liberty, to be sure.”

    And the idea is always that it’s someone else that will end up with police standing outside on the stoop.

    They always identify with those who make the decisions about what else should be made illegal or inconvenient for the sake of The Children. They never identify with the people who have to go in for questioning.

    I reckon they’ll find out.Report

  6. Nob Akimoto says:

    Y’know if it were me…I’d probably keep sugar subsidies, end ag subsidies for corn and then tax the hell out of the additives that go into soft drinks.

    But I think the reason progressives are backing soda taxes on local/regional level is much simpler. They have a much greater chance of passing than repealing ag subsidies on the federal level. Until that changes soda taxes that can be enacted on the municipal, county and state level are going to be a vastly preferable solution to trying to convince Ben Nelson to break a filibuster on ending agricultural subsidies.Report

    • @Nob Akimoto, I don’t know. I mean corn subsidies in particular are unpopular with just about everyone. The reason that they keep growing and/or remaining untouched is that the number of people who are actually passionate about them (or at least passionate enough to vocally oppose them) is miniscule. Without any kind of public mobilization, subsidy programs and earmarks are remarkably easy to get enacted or maintained. But if we learned anything from the whole ACORN thing, it’s that it doesn’t take a whole lot of public outrage to kill a funding program. Yeah, I know that ACORN wasn’t Monsanto in terms of its resources, but still…. I mean, does it really take less effort to convince a majority of voters in the state of New York to agree to a new tax than it takes to convince a majority of Congresslizards (few of whom have a significnat number of actual constituents that benefit from corn subsidies) to cut corn subsidies, especially at a time when people are ranting all over the airwaves about the amount of government spending and the size of the deficit?Report

      • @Mark Thompson,
        Corn subsidies are massively popular with midwestern congressmen and senators, who tend to have rather higher rates of seniority in the current congress in both parties. In terms of ag subsidies writ large this then tends to skew towards a large proportion of rural agricultural districts in farming states where the voters are unsurprisingly, older, white and tend to go out to the polls significantly more often than your average ACORN worker.

        So far as far as we’ve seen soda taxes they seem to be being enacted at a municipal level or state level which are easier to get consensus from a preferences point of view. More importantly on those levels it’s harder for a tiny minority to disproportionately affect the outcome of legislative efforts due to seniority or larger regional variation.

        That is: the preference gap between two state representatives (of different parties) in New York is significantly smaller than two house representatives in the Democratic or Republican caucuses on the federal level if they come from New York and Iowa respectively.

        As for people ranting over the airwaves about the amount of government spending and the size of the deficit. Some of these very same people are also people who have in the past and continue to receive large farm subsidies themselves. Several congressional candidates have certainly been revealed to be in this camp, and steadfastly opposed to ending ag subsidies. So I don’t think this is something that’ll end reasonably any time soon.Report

        • @Nob Akimoto,
          “As for people ranting over the airwaves about the amount of government spending and the size of the deficit. Some of these very same people are also people who have in the past and continue to receive large farm subsidies themselves. Several congressional candidates have certainly been revealed to be in this camp, and steadfastly opposed to ending ag subsidies. So I don’t think this is something that’ll end reasonably any time soon.”

          The way I see it, a concerted effort to put such Congresslizards on the spot is a no-lose situation. If the effort suceeds, you’ve killed corn subsidies. If the effort fails, you’ve still managed to expose said Congresslizards as hypocritical a-holes in an arena where their base is increasingly unforgiving of that kind of hypocrisy.

          More seriously, though, I get your point about the seniority issue, but – especially in the House – those Midwesterners are relatively few in number (and, of course, Pelosi is from San Francisco). Without the votes of a good chunk of pols from the rest of the country, they can’t get their subsidies pushed through. Luckily for them, there is virtually no political cost to those other pols for supporting the subsidies, while there is a marginal political benefit to supporting senior members. A concerted grassroots lobbying effort of any value would change that equation.
          And, while the intrastate ideological preference gap on sugar taxes may be less than the interstate ideological preference gap on subsidies where Senator A is from Iowa and Senator B from New York, the interstate ideological preference gap on subsidies is less than the intrastate gap where Senator A is from a non-Midwestern state.

          The bigger point of course is that, AFAIK, grassroots lobbying against ag subsidies isn’t even really being tried. Even on progressive blogs that I regularly read, corn subsidies tend to draw little more than mild opposition (if they get discussed at all).Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        @Mark Thompson,

        if we learned anything from the whole ACORN thing, it’s that it doesn’t take a whole lot of public outrage to kill a funding program.

        Who volunteers to fake up videotapes of ADM?Report

  7. Michael Drew says:

    “Beyond that, though, is that many of those advocating a sugar tax on these grounds seem to be the same folks who have been insistent that universal health insurance would not have a detrimental impact on liberty writ large.”

    Perhas they are, but this is unrelated to the question of whether a soda tax is detrimental to liberty writ large in a way a reasonable person should be concerned with. Beyond that, the health cost management structure we have in place: pooled costs with risk-adjusted pay-ins is universal to everyone who has health insurance period, whether public or private. There is no particular reason to expect a public demand for taxes on unhealthy behavior to arise from a privately insured population more than a publicly insured one. It still costs more healthy payers more than the increased premiums from the less healthy. Then there is the simple public-health argument, unrelated to health costs. Why not raise revenue and discourage an unhealthy behavior, full stop? Certainly liberty can be an answer as to why not, but it’s a perfectly sensible utilitarian proposal before one ever gets to health cost management schemes, whether public or private.Report

    • MadRocketScientist in reply to Michael Drew says:

      @Michael Drew, By that logic, motorcycles should be outlawed. Not because some riders are irresponsible, but because even when wearing full armor, a rider vs a car will usually result in a badly injured rider (such as myself), who will need expensive medical care for the rest of his/her life. Certainly not everyone will get into a bad wreck while riding, but neither is everyone incapable of drinking a reasonable amount of soda, and some people even have metabolisms that will let them drink unreasonable amounts of soda.

      I can run down this slope all day long.Report

    • @Michael Drew,
      “Perhas they are, but this is unrelated to the question of whether a soda tax is detrimental to liberty writ large in a way a reasonable person should be concerned with.”

      A sufficiently large tax becomes indistinguishable from a ban. Moreover, while a particular tax may not be a tremendously large infringement on any given individual’s liberty by itself (because it is appropriately small), the aggregated infringement on the vast number of individuals who like fizzy beverages becomes noticeable. Also, lest we forget – these kinds of taxes are horribly regressive, which means that the impact on the liberty of the poor is pretty substantial (especially when combined with the issue of lack of ready access to quality food).

      “Beyond that, the health cost management structure we have in place: pooled costs with risk-adjusted pay-ins is universal to everyone who has health insurance period, whether public or private.”

      True enough (not including the self-insured and uninsured of course), although I’m not one to defend the existing health insurance model, either, and I have to reiterate that this is not necessarily an inherent problem of social insurance. It is, however, an inherent problem of social insurance in the United States, where we seem to have a cultural penchant for obsessing over these sorts of things. Also, it seems significant to me that insurers have not sought to significantly increase premiums based on sugar intake/diet or, at the very least, create incentives for customers to do so.

      “Then there is the simple public-health argument, unrelated to health costs.”

      I don’t buy this as a public-health issue, at least insofar as pretty much everyone is aware that certain foods are less-than-healthy. I don’t view public health (a legit government function in my view) as reaching entirely private behavior with no effects on the health of others. This may not be the popular view, but to me defining such behavior as within the purview of “public health” makes “public health” entirely coextensive with “health.” Since virtually everything one does can affect one’s health, there becomes no limit on the sorts of behavior that can be regulated under a “public health” rationale.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        @Mark Thompson, Lots here. I’m not prepared to concede that a tax is ever indistinguishable from a ban. Functionally indistinguishable yes, and that’s a perfectly valid point. But indistinguishable, no. A tax is a tax, a ban is a ban. And the tax can always be set at a reasonable. An unreasonable tax is an unreasonable tax. There won’t be (initial, or perhaps any) agreement on whether a tax is set at a reasonable level, but that is why we allow debate to determine the outcome of public policy decisions.

        I’m not arguing for the soda tax. It’s fine with me if one never passes anywhere. I’m just arguing for its legitimacy in places where it has the support to get passed. And I do think that there should be far more resistance/scrutiny to it at the national level than in localities for that reason. I do not argue that those who do not want taxes like this should want them. But I do argue that if one passes by legitimate procedure, there is no reason to argue against it as illegitimate. By all means, keep arguing that it is inefficacious. But it is legitimate, and it is not different from a ban by a simple matter of degree. We tax things. Ergo, we can tax unhealthy things. Maybe we shouldn’t; we can have the discussion. That’s as much as I am arguing. By public health, I meant “the health of the populace in aggregate,” so I absolutely don’t claim the issue is more than “health;” I’m prefectly fine conceding it is a health rationale not a public health rationale (others surely have more sophisticated understanding of those terms than I). If “public health” has a potentially more legitimizing meaning for you, you can take me as not appealing to it here. My point there was just to contrast the health argument to the health cost argument – i.e. that even before we take into account public or privet health cast sharing schemes, one could argue that there is a simple health rationale for the tax. And again, I am not advancing that as a rationale for this tax that you should be convinced by – I’m not even saying I’m convinced by it. I’m potentially persuaded by it though also open to a demonstration that in fact it would be counterproductive in some way in fact. If others in my community were convinced by it that a tax was advisable, I would regard it as a reason that would at least merit closer examination as potentially a sufficient justification for the tax. But I would not regard it as a presumptively illegitimate curtailment of liberty, unless it was set as an unreasonable level.

        To sum up on this (b/c I recall that you took not of mview on it previously) I’m just saying the following: We tax things; We might consider taxing unhealthy things, maybe on a health rationale, or a health cost rationale, or another rationale; Perhaps we should we should have such taxes whether particular ones or in general and perhaps we shouldn’t but they’re legitimate things to consider having among one’s political community (at whatever level) so long as set at a reasonable level; Whatever the decision is, so long as made via legitimate democratic process, it is presumptively legitimate. This is unlike bans where in general I do not favor imposing bans and would tend to think of them as deeply misguided and presumptively unjustified curtailments of liberty unless a high bar of necessity is been shown (though yes, what’s high for me might not be for you). In general, I want defer to local preferences and customs as regards reasonableness, legitimacy, process, etc. and so fully accept and anticipate increasing levels of resistance and scrutiny as jurisdiction size increases.Report

  8. Simon K says:

    “Perhaps more to the point, what does it say about the state of progressivism that, faced with a problem caused in part by subsidies to the wealthy few, the solution is to impose a terribly regressive tax on the many?”

    This is an interesting thing, isn’t it? Given that progressive goals are not obviously incompatible with libertarian means, or at least with more libertarian means, why is there such a strong preference amongst liberal policymakers for less libertarian means, given that almost any economist will tell them that less market distortion is better, and we’re all supposed to support a presumption in favour of liberty in general.

    I can think of a number of possible explanations:

    1. Conspiracy. The supposed ends of liberal policy are nothing to do with its actual goal, which is simply to increase state control. Personally I tend to rule this one out, but I know some of you are big fans …

    2. Feasibility. You probably couldn’t realistically get a repeal of ag subsidies through the US senate, although I’d really enjoy watching the Republicans squirm when faced with the question of how to square them with their supposed support for unfettered markets. NY state however probably can pass a sugar tax. There’s a lot of truth to this, but it can’t be the whole story – if LBJ could face losing the South for a generation, someone can surely face losing Iowa for a couple of years while the farmers figure our that they can plant something other than corn and without the distortions actually make money,

    3. Signalling. Punishing something clearly indicates your opposition to it, in a way that simply removing the causes of its underpricing and surplus production does not. People, as we were reminded when Obama failed to emote sufficiently over the Macondo spill, want politicians to demonstrate approval and disapproval. I’ve a nasty suspicion this is the reason pragmatic, technocratic things like negative income tax and free trade never get off the ground. They don’t sufficiently signal the Popular Will. I become depressed when I think about this too much.

    4. Control. This comes back to the High Road/Low Road thing we were discussing the other day. Coercing other people into behaving better is Doing Something. If it doesn’t work, at least you Did Something, you just need to bully them some more.Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to Simon K says:

      @Simon K, “Feasibility. You probably couldn’t realistically get a repeal of ag subsidies through the US senate[.]”

      Simon, how dare you. Base practical concerns like that just have no place in a forum of honorable debate among gentlemen such as this. You will be flogged.Report

    • greginak in reply to Simon K says:

      @Simon K, I think the last thing that is going on in conversations about banning soda is talk about market distortions and economics. In one way that is a true weakness of a lot of liberal activist thought, they just see economics as a non-entity nor do they consider market type behavior. On the other hand most liberals massively benefit from not being in thrall of a mushy “science” like economics. There is far more to society and how it works then the allegedly neutral econ models many people throw out as laws.Report

      • Simon K in reply to greginak says:

        @greginak, You have a very different view of what constitutes economics. If you’re trying to change people’s choices by taxing something they might choose to do, you just ARE talking about economics. Whether you realise it or not is another matter.

        I’d be the first to admit that a lot of what people throw out as certainty, especially in macro, is highly tendentious and mainly reflects their desired conclusions. See the debates of the fiscal multiplier for a perfect example. However, there are certain things almost everyone who has ever studied economics of any school – Keynesians, Monetarians, Austrians, Classicals, Marxists and neo- variants of all of the above – that policymkers remains stubbornly ignorant of. This is mainly true in micro and trade economics – macro and finance remain much less certain in part because they’re far more politicised. One of those things is that subsidies cause surpluses at the margin. Another one is that taxing things causes people to do them less, again at the margin. There is nothing mushy about this stuff.Report

  9. Rufus F. says:

    Just out of curiosity, which progressives wants a sugar tax? Is it a majority of progressives overall? Or is it a special subset? To be honest, the first time I heard a “sugary drinks tax” proposed it was in NY state; but the reasoning there was that the state is really, really broke and this might be a way to raise revenue without pissing too many people off. Of course, it did piss people off and the idea was dropped.Report

    • greginak in reply to Rufus F. says:

      @Rufus F., There are many highly motivated single issue advocacy groups in this country. There is a passionate group of people who believe that poor food, nutrition and eating is terrible for our health. At an obvious level there is truth to that. But single issue groups have strong tendency to not have any sense of balance or proportion or how maniacal they appear to outsiders. I could list various groups across the political and cultural spectrum that fall into this trap.

      No i don’t think it is a majority of progressives at all. I rarely read about it the many evil liberal blogs i follow.Report

      • Rufus F. in reply to greginak says:

        @greginak, Yeah, I guess what I was thinking is that I work with a lot of liberals and, in general, they seem to gripe about bigger fish than soda pop- at least to me anyway. I think for about 20 years I was seldom seen without a Pepsi in my hand, so maybe they didn’t want to start trouble.Report

  10. Trumwill says:

    Regarding the first item, I agree wholeheartedly. Using government subsidy as a justification for modifying private behavior very much turns said subsidy into an issue of liberty. I say this as someone that is not hugely concerned with the “liberty” to destroy one’s own body. I am thinking more of cigs than sugar with that comment, but it holds true for a great many things.

    Regarding the second point, perhaps it can be seen as a correction of sorts? Two “wrongs” making a right? Ag subsidies, however much we oppose them, are not going anywhere, so perhaps this is a way to mitigate the damage?Report

  11. Alan Scott says:

    Why are we taking for granted that the ending of sugar subsidies will cause any significant increase in the price of soda? (especially considering that it’s not just subsidies making corn artificially cheap, there are also tariffs making sugar artificially expensive).

    We might see the price of soda go up a few cents a can, but it’ll still be much cheaper than any other beverage on the market except water.Report

  12. Bob Cheeks says:

    WTF is “soda:” it’s called “pop!” We used to clean the chrome on our rods with Coke…hmmmm, good for you, yet your generation needs the gummint to tax you into not drinking it…unbelievable.Report

  13. Jake says:

    “I know this will probably offend some of you, but I have to ask: what does it say about the intellectual condition of progressivism that, faced with two equally viable means of achieving precisely the same goal, the only means that progressives will forcefully get behind is the means that grows the power of government…”

    Most progressives strongly support ending ag subsidies. While not a huge fan of sin taxes myself, presumably people in state and local governments are pursuing them because they are POWERLESS TO LIFE FEDERAL SUBSIDIES. So to answer MT’s snide question, it reveals very little about “the intellectual state of progressivism.” But the question does reveal Mark Thompson’s retardation and penchant for hippy punching.Report

    • Jake in reply to Jake says:

      @Jake, sorry POWERLESS TO LIFTReport

    • Mark Thompson in reply to Jake says:

      @Jake, So it is your position then that progressive activists and intellectual leaders, to the extent they are concerned with this issue at all, are expending the majority of their efforts lobbying to end ag subsidies on the federal level rather than to impose sugar taxes on the local and state levels? If not, is it your position that progressive activists and leaders concerned with this issue are “POWERLESS” to lobby a Democratic controlled federal government even as they are fully capable of lobbying local and state governments across the country? Is it your position that progressivism has no blind spots?

      As for my “penchant for hippy punching,” you haven’t been reading me very long, have you?Report

      • Jake in reply to Mark Thompson says:

        @Mark Thompson,

        There are progressives who are lobbying to end subsidies. But you were asking why state/local govs were imposing sin taxes, and the answer seemed immediately obvious. The fact that you instead attribute bad motives and intellectual deficits to the progressives who are fighting to end subsidies shows that you are either intellectual dishonest or just plain ignorant.

        Why don’t you just apologize to the progressives who would be your allies in the fight to end subsidies?

        That would be the high-road, but you’re more interested in silly swipes at the left than solving the problem.

        Hence the penchant for retardation and hippy punching…Report

        • Jake in reply to Jake says:


          MT’s got both vapidity and the hippy punching of the MSM down pat. Get this man an anchor chair on CNN next to Wolf Blitzer!Report

        • Mark Thompson in reply to Jake says:

          @Jake, No, I was asking why the policy avenue apparently being most emphasized by progressives on this issue is the sugar tax. As for the “progressives who are lobbying to end ag subsidies,” I’ve got no bone to pick with them – but they seem not to be a terribly significant group. In fact, I’d like to know who they are so that I can donate money to them.

          “The fact that you instead attribute bad motives and intellectual deficits to the progressives who are fighting to end subsidies shows that you are either intellectual dishonest or just plain ignorant. Why don’t you just apologize to the progressives who would be your allies in the fight to end subsidies?”

          Hmm…you were the one who wrote this, correct (http://www.ordinary-gentlemen.com/2010/07/in-which-i-disagree-with-radley-balko/#comment-57260)? I wonder, why don’t you just apologize to the libertarian who would be your ally in the fight to protect the rights of the accused?

          Is it possible that I, who have written about the value of a left-libertarian coalition probably more than any other subject these last 3 years, am just expressing exasperation at the fact that, faced with two equally viable solutions to the same problem, progressives seem to be emphasizing the solution that increases the authority of government rather than the solution that decreases it?

          And why must I soft-pedal my criticisms and apologize for being a bit harsh if I’m interested in solving the problem and building a coalition to do so? Should I expect and demand that everyone who has run around the last few years throwing around the “glibertarian” slur like it’s a pronoun apologize to all the libertarians who may be interested in solving any number of problems where there should be common ground with progressives?

          I think not. If I can still read and enjoy John Cole on an almost daily basis despite his constant rhetoric about libertarians, then certainly I can still work to find common ground with progressives despite trying to point out what I view as a progressive blind spot the once in a blue moon when I try to do so.Report

          • Jake in reply to Mark Thompson says:

            @Mark Thompson,

            I never claimed to be anything more than an internet troll mocking the mockable. I am also a progressive that supports ending ag subsidies, and we are legion. For example, Oxfam is a prominent progressive group that spends a substantial amount of its energies decrying Western ag subsidies.
            You, on the other hand, have pretenses to being a “serious writer” and potentially even setting up a left-libertarian coalition.
            I’m supposed to take the low-road and will continue to do so. The fact that you are stooping to my level should be a cause of self-reflection.

            Once again, please apologize to progressives!

            If not, then I will continue to think you a retarded hippy-puncher. I’m fine being a troll policing the lines of retardation on what is otherwise a great blod (LoOG). Who do you want to be?Report

            • Mark Thompson in reply to Jake says:

              @Jake, Ahh, I see. Well, then, troll away, and I will know not to respond to any of your future comments.

              Oh, and Oxfam is a wonderful organization whose efforts I (almost) wholeheartedly support. However, AFAIK, its efforts on ag subsidies are not related to the effects of ag subsidies on American obesity rates, but rather to the far more important issue of third-world poverty. In other words, its efforts don’t say anything about the way in which progressives writ large are choosing to create supposedly healthier diets amongst Americans.

              It has long been my position that one of progressivism’s biggest blind spots is a strong tendency to choose intrusive and government-authority-increasing means to achieve ends that could just as easily be achieved through libertarian-friendly means.

              This tendency is, to me, a huge bar to any coalition between progressives and libertarians. So when something happens that can put that blind spot into focus, I’m going to be sure to point it out. And I’ve made no bones about having fun pointing out libertarian blindspots. Indeed, to the extent that I’m known for my work at this site at all, it is in no small part due to this post: http://www.ordinary-gentlemen.com/2009/08/well-what-are-you-doing-creeping-around-a-cow-shed-at-two-oclock-in-the-morning-that-doesnt-sound-very-wise-to-me/

              Finally, when have I ever claimed to be a “serious writer”? This is a hobby, not a career.Report

            • North in reply to Jake says:

              @Jake, Jake, dude, coming from a moderate lefty here. Man, you’re makin us look bad. More pertinently with that “retard” bit you’re also starting to slip across the line into ungentlemanly. Dial it back a notch bud, cos not only are you making us progressives look bad but also you’re lowering the level of discourse.Report

            • Simon K in reply to Jake says:

              @Jake, I’m with North here, except I was going to put it much more bluntly. Cut it out.Report

  14. JakeCollins says:

    The whole premise of MT’s silly hippy punching was progressives have a “blind spot.” And yet every progressive I’ve every talked to supports ending ag subsidies as the preferred path to fighting obesity.
    Ezra Klein, Matthew Yglesias, and numerous others have all written on the subject. The only “blind spot” is MT’s laziness or intellectual dishonesty in accusing progressives of having a blind spot we do not actually have. And yet he refuses to back down and apologize for his attack being misguided.

    Maybe I’m a rude bastard, but at least I’m not intellectually dishonest.

    Apologize Mark Thompson! Or are you as infallible as the Pope?Report