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

Thomas M. Kostigen
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

A riveting exposé of how a little-understood government policy perverts our way of living, making us fatter, poorer, and more unhealthy.

Did you know that subsidized goods often cost us more than we'd pay for them in the free market? In fact, we sometimes pay for goods that will never exist at all. It turns out that the free market in America is anything but. How did a system designed to safeguard American farmers turn into the nation's biggest scam?

Most of us don't know what subsidies are and don't think they affect us directly, so we tune out. But they have an enormous impact on all of us. Put simply, a subsidy is a grant by the government to a private business. Cotton, wheat, corn, soy, and oil are the most subsidized commodities in the United States. The Big Handout exposes how artificially lowering the prices of these commodities hurts us and people around the world. Behind the troubling news about fiscal, environmental, and foreign policies is a story about just one thing: subsidies.

In this eye-opening book, New York Times bestselling author Thomas M. Kostigen explores government policies that cost taxpayers $200 billion per year—more than $1,500 per household. He persuasively shows that subsidies are at the root of our most pressing problems as a country—our foreign policy, our health, our food supply, even our money troubles and our expanding waistlines. Revealing just how toxic America's subsidy system has become, The Big Handout is a wake-up call that empowers us to demand change.

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A lively polemic...Kostigen provides a forceful statement of the need to reorganize food and other primary goods production in the U.S." -Kirkus Reviews

"The Big Handout is a clear-eyed look at how a maze of government programs, greedy agribusiness lobbyists, and craven politicians have broken our agriculture system and how Americans can fight back for a more equitable, healthier food and farm policy." -Ken Cook, President and Cofounder, Environmental Working Group

About the Author

Thomas M. Kostigen is the author of The Green Blue Book and You Are Here, and coauthor of the New York Times bestseller The Green Book. He lives in Los Angeles.

Product Details

  • File Size: 604 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale (October 28, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0060NXVBG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,026,069 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lots of facts but absent and misleading conclusions October 30, 2011
Format:Hardcover
I picked up Mr. Kostigen's book from the New York Public Library yesterday, figuring the freak October snowstorm would be a good opportunity to catch up on some reading. I have a strong interest in macroeconomic policy and although the title suggests a politicized view of US agriculture subsidization, I figured the book would be somewhat informative and at the very least entertaining.

The latter it was. Mr. Kostigen combines a large array of facts and an incriminating, at times comical writing style which does a good job making the reader view Big Agriculture and the US government's farm programs in a very negative light.

Where the book falls far short is in making any sort of coherent, logical, and fact-based argument as to what degree US subsidization policies make the US consumer worse off, as is Mr. Kostigen's premise. He talks about how consumers experience more expensive imports, and how US companies export less agricultural product as a result of farm subsidies. But he never presents a macro summary of how these factors offset the benefits of subsidies to the US consumer in the aggregate - leaving the reader to wonder if in fact the consumer is better off with existing government policies. He argues that each household pays $1,500 in taxes toward farm subsidies, but fails to provide a similar consolidated benefit households receive from those farm subsidies, nor does he discuss the redistributive nature of the subsidies (that most households would pay far less than the $1,500 average he cites, thus receiving a net benefit from the program).

In an attempt to support his position that food would be cheaper without subsidies, he at times even resorts to blatantly misleading "calculations." My favorite is an example he gives of a typical breakfast meal.
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More About the Author

Thomas M. Kostigen is a New York Times bestselling author and journalist. His most recent books are National Geographic's "The Extreme Weather Survival Guide: Understand, Prepare, Survive, Recover" and "Extreme Weather: Surviving Tornadoes, Tsunamis, Hailstorms, Thundersnow, Hurricanes and More!"

Previous nonfiction works include, The Green Book: The Everyday Guide to Saving the Planet One Simple Step at a Time (Crown); You Are Here: Exposing the Vital Links Between What We Do and What That Does to The Planet (HarperOne); The Green Blue Book: The Simple Water-Savings Guide to Everything in Your Life (Rodale); and The Big Handout (Rodale). He is also the author of the novels Golden Dawn (Macmillan) and Fatwa (Macmillan).

As a journalist, Kostigen has reported from war zones to the world's wonders across five continents. A former global columnist for The Wall Street Journal Digital Network and editor at Bloomberg News, he contributes regularly to major publications worldwide, including National Geographic.com, Discover, Men's Health, Best Life, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, among many others.


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