Magazine December 1, 2008, Issue

Beyond Tax Cuts

Union workers at the “March for the Middle Class” in New York City, June 2011. (Getty)
To win, the GOP must comprehensively address the cost of middle-class living

Michael Pollan, best known for his polemics against the food-industrial complex, has made a minor villain out of Earl Butz, Richard Nixon’s secretary of agriculture. Faced with a sharp spike in inflation, the Nixon White House sought to win the political allegiance of housewives by taking sweeping steps to lower agricultural prices. Butz slashed regulations and trade barriers while increasing subsidies. The result: Family farms closed down, huge agribusiness concerns expanded mightily, production soared, and domestic food prices fell dramatically. For Pollan, Butz’s machinations lie behind the current obesity epidemic and a broader coarsening of American life. But there is

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