USDA plans to buy 11 million pounds of cheese for $20 million.
1,224 US dairy farms went away in 2015. – News item
Someone on CNBC called it “quantified cheesing.” It’s what happens when the government takes action on plunging dairy prices, due to the oversupply of milk, that are forcing dairies out of business left and right.
Yep, Uncle Sam to the rescue. Under the provisions of the Agriculture Act of 1935, the USDA can step in to make cheese purchases using money from tariffs on imported ag products. Then it stores the cheese for subsequent distribution to food banks, school lunches, prisons and so on. It’s a win win. Felons can get cheesier macaroni, and the extra demand helps stabilize prices in an economic sector that we can’t afford to have collapse.
Now this bring several ideas to mind. Number one is that farmers, a large constituency of the Republican party, will probably have to temporarily stop complaining about Evil Big Government because they’ll be too busy saving their businesses with federal price supports.
Another thing is that this will also be a great boon to the “cheese food” industry, the people who make individually wrapped slices of cheese-like substance out of vegetable oil, and I believe, recycled vinyl, because it’s ordinarily cheaper for the consumer than real dairy. With actual cheese prices plummeting, the consumer cost advantage of putting yellow Naugahyde on your bologna sandwich all but disappeared. So Big Government is helping two industries at once.
The third thing is: Hey! This might offer the solution for another economic sector that the society needs to remain secure! We can save the media!
After all, why is the media economy in free fall? It’s not just bots and ad blockers and poor viewability. The main thing is the infinite supply of content creating an infinite supply of ad inventory, driving CPMs down, down, down.
It’s the same physics of supply and demand that’s killing the dairy industry. Too much milk, too many ad avails, and prices falling accordingly. So here’s the plan:
Have the federal government buy about $20 billion worth of local-newspaper banners, sponsored Tweets and above-the-line Google searches. They can store the pixels in huge regional warehouses for subsequent distribution to needy prospective advertisers: inner city schools, the coal industry, Caesar’s Palace, the Archdiocese of Minneapolis, the Russian track and field team, etc. Come on…find a flaw in that plan!
OK -- you might think there’s an obvious problem. That the government shouldn’t have a financial relationship with media companies, because how can an institution that depends on federal largesse be trusted to be a watchdog of the folks writing the checks? And, you’re thinking, every time the audience sees an ad distributed through the Media Survival Act of 2017, we’ll be reminded of the unsavory money link between supposedly adversarial institutions.
But don’t you get it? That’s the beauty part! As a practical matter, there will be no such reminders. “Quantified media cheesing” will be utterly invisible to us. The evidence, all of the evidence, will be hidden in plain view. Right? Because the evidence is the advertising itself.
And who the hell ever sees that?