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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

That damned Involvement

What's Mallard raving about today?

Big Government, The Economy.

Mallard demonstrates once again his sophomoric command of issues and his lack of intellectual nuance.

In Mallard's world you start from a existing premise (Government is bad) and any isolated and specific instance which illustrates that point, proves the point.

But, does Mallard really think the Government can be uninvolved in the economy? Should we allow the Military (and all of its spending, including salaries for soldiers) to be subject to the free market? How about the Fire and Police Departments?

At any rate, it made me wonder how long before we see Mallard take on Health Care reform, using the schizoid Republican talking points: Public health care would be a bloated inefficient behemoth...and the private insurance companies just can't compete with that.


Factinista said...

Funny thing about that. They actually don't put sugar in soft drinks in this country, opting for high fructose corn syrup instead. Matter of fact, it would be far healthier if they did use sugar, but the agribusiness lobbies keep pushing for corn subsidies and sugar tariffs so that they don't have to compete.

Those 80 hours of research sure paid off, didn't they, Tinsley?

GeoX said...

Shit--if only we could think of some sort of recent situation where lack of government intervention has actually HARMED the economy, then we might be able to make a counterargument! But since we'll never be able to come up with such a thing, it looks like Tinsley wins AGAIN! Tiiiiiinsley!!!

Michael said...

Like Factinista said, this would make a lot more sense if he replaced "sugar" with "corn". Once again, he takes an issue on which everyone agrees, and makes the cartoon suck. His next cartoon could be about the "groundswell" endorsement of Michael Pollan for agriculture secretary, and I will still hate it.

Tinsley could have used some more sugar and/or high fructose corn syrup, to give him the energy to correctly draw text that fits inside the boundaries of a soda can. I know it's hard to draw things that aren't ducks, but coloring between the lines was a kindergarten skill. Try perfecting that before the weak attempts at crosshatching.

CasualBrowser said...

OK, I hate to throw support to Mallard, but I think his premise is valid.

The way our government has propped up agri-business, coupled with structuring our economy to be dependent upon fossil fuels has resulted in: 1 - A food system dangerously reliant on a small handfull of species. 2 - Poor land management which strips our land of topsoil and discourages healthy soil structure. 3 - A citizenry which is dangerously overweight, pitifully undernourished, dismally ignorant of good eating practices and food preparation, not to mention disconnected from where food comes from and a zealous belief that food MUST, above all, be cheap.

Our government can do good and can do bad. Supporting multi-billion dollar corporations so that they can continue their control of how we live our lives is far more insidious than "socialized" medicine. We should change our farm bill to encourage small, local farmers, who produce food without the massive inputs from Dow, Monsanto, and Exxon. We should also stop subsidizing oil, gas, and coal production. We SHOULD tax junk food, pre-processed food, and de-tax nutritionally dense food staples.

For more on my where my food rant comes from, read anything by Michael Pollan, or see "Food Inc."

Now, for my obligatory Tinsley rant: I'm sure any good ideas expressed in this comic aren't the opinion of the illustrator, are entirely accidental and have been stumbled upon during an alcoholic stupor. A stupor stumble, if you will...

dlauthor said...

Fortunately, Tinshley circumvents the problem by never mixing his Jack with Coke. Or anything else that isn't driving.

Completely missing the corn-growers as the proper target* aside, is he claiming that Coca-Cola somehow hates America? Wow.

* Guess that week's 80 hours didn't have room for reading the ingredients on a soda can -- too many fact-finding trips to the local bar, I guess.

12xuser said...

Worst Uncle Sam ever.

wavydavy said...

Not to say that I agree with the duck, but CasualBrowser makes some excellent points. We have pretty much screwed up the agribusiness industry with our bizarre collection of subsidies, price supports, etc.

In particular, corn growers are being overly coddled and supported, hence both the overuse of high-fructose corn syrup and the senseless support of ethanol as a fuel. Not for nothing was Bob Dole known as the Senator from Archer Daniels Midland.

OTOH, wingnut talking points about the "evils" of government now include the argument that changes in our health care system intended to lower health costs, specifically the "public option", are bad for us because... they lower health costs.

No, really:

And Olympia Snowe is supposedly a "moderate" Republican.

I believe this would be a good time to remind one and all of the basic Rethug philosophy in musical format:

rewinn said...

Isn't the villain of today's "comic" the big corporations that get the subsidies by purchasing some Senators?

I'm not sure where Tinkley drew them ... hiding behind the soda can I guess?

Robert said...

Flabby Fizz went out of business because of a class action lawsuit filed by comsumers who had cut their hands on that corner of the "y" that was inexplicably protruding from the can's side.

Hibryd said...

If Tinsley had the balls to actually say "corn syrup" instead of "sugar", I'd have to respect him.

Because, yes, we throw an insane amount of money at very specific food industries, and as a result fast food burgers cost less than a head of broccoli and we keep putting nearly-useless ethanol into gas tanks. That's not only wasteful spending, it does the exact *opposite* of what government spending SHOULD do.

But Tinsley is no different from any of the "small government" Republicans who keep voting for corn subsidies while railing against wasteful spending: he's not willing to piss off any mid-west conservatives who, like anyone else, LOVE wasteful spending if it ends up in their pockets. So he replaces "corn" with "sugar" so as to not offend, which completely neuters his entire argument.

Michael said...

Interesting theory. I assumed he used sugar instead of corn because he's an idiot... maybe it's more likely he's a hypocrite from Indiana*!

* I assume they grow lots of corn in Indiana.

Marion Delgado said...

Tinsley should come out against the embargo of Cuba.

CasualBrowser said...

Um, hey guys... the "fructose" in "high fructose corn syrup" is a monosaccharide, a form of sugar (along with glucose and galactose). So, technically, Mallard's right. It would be easy to slap him with the he's-such-an-idiot-he-couldn't-have-gotten-it-right-it's-a-coincedence label, but it's also possible this is actually what he meant. Give him a break. Tinsley screws up enough on his own, we don't have to hang extra blame on him just because it suits us.

Squid Vicious said...

Tinshley considers this an insight? Economists have long recognized that rent-seeking may result in social costs (i.e., externalities) that can be mitigated via tax policy. This is pretty basic stuff. Tinshley just has to go an add an extra thick layer of stupid by suggesting that ag subsidies are used as a means of controlling production decisions. In other words, ag subsidies to Con-Agra are used to force Coca-Cola to make more soft drinks. Riiiiiiight.

Rootbeer said...

In non-scientific contexts, the term "sugar" is generally understood to mean "table sugar", aka sucrose.

Still, I'm reluctant to fault Tinsley's use of the term, because can you imagine how calorie-dense his word salad would have been if he had tried to fit "HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SWEETENER" into the strip three times ?

Bill the Splut said...

Golly, didn't Halliburton and Bechtel and Blackwater Securities and something get government subsidies and no-bid something and billions of dollars and something Iraq "reconstruction" and something about shrink-wrapped pallets of billions in CASH disappeared and no right winger cared?

See how much better the economy works when the GOP is in charge of the government?

Michael said...

After a second reading (ugh), I'll back off on my sugar/corn criticism. Regardless of whether he meant sugar or corn, the point is that nearly everyone (including every economist since Adam Smith) agrees with the premise of this cartoon - and he still manages to make it suck! "Uncle Sam" looks like Telly Savalas dressed as Colonel Sanders for Halloween, on ludes.

Hibryd said...

Eh, I'm not ready to back off my critique.

We don't subsidize sugar. We have tariffs on sugar, making it more expensive. We subsidize the hell out of corn, making it cheap, which is why it's in sodas.

Of course, I don't know for certain what Tinsley's motives were for putting in "sugar" rather than "corn syrup". Save space? Simplify the argument? But that switch also guarantees him safety from 'Merikan Farmers (from Real AmericaTM), which keeps me suspicious.

Anonymous said...

Ducky is right! Sugar has no other uses at all except for soft drinks, even though many of which stopped using actual sugar quite a while back.

To bad it would literally be impossible to find any examples at all
where governmental non-interfearance
or general accountability-free free-market enterprises
could possibly have had any negative

One of these days I should come up with a name. <_<

exanonymous said...

Rememer to never chew your talking points.

Processing them is counterproductive to being a propaganda machine.

Sokudoningyou said...

"HFCS." Wow, that was easy.

And honestly, how can you mix the two up? Especially with the corn industry now running those damn ads about how it's "safe in moderation." Right. Find me a processed food product WITHOUT HFCS. It's impossible to eat the crap in moderation unless you eat nothing but homemade, and not from a can/packet/box.

Though since when did the government tax so heavily on those drinks that people would quit drinking them? Soda's still relatively cheaper than juice.

rewinn said...

....One of these days I should come up with a name

"Ducky is right" would be a pretty cute name!