Modest Proposal: The Federal Food Reserve System


We can all agree that food is critical to our economy. Episodes like Katrina demonstrate the need for flexibility in our food supply. Inherently, the private sector cannot provide this flexibility. When the Invisible Hand fails, it is time for the Visible Foot of government to jam the steel tip of its boot into our doorways.

Look at the terrible waste in the private food sector. Warehouses and elevators full of food, none of which is loaned out to more than one person at a time. Now, if the methods of modern government finance were applied, all that grain and fruit could be giving liquidity to ten times the number of grocery stores!

Now you object: "But what if everyone wants their food at the same time?" Under the old system, when a grocery store or grain elevator had insufficient reserves, it became unable to provide more food for withdrawal in a crisis. This is obviously unacceptable.

That is why I am proud to announce the creation of the Federal Food Reserve System.

All food-related matters will be centralized in Federally chartered Food Banks. These food banks will issue "Federal Reserve Noodles," similar to Ramen noodles except that they will have no physical existence as such. These "FRNs" will be legally good for all metabolic debts, public and private.

All actual flour, rice, kiwi fruit etc. will be stored in Fort Knox, but never audited. This will make ample real food available for worthy charitable activities overseas. Some of the food will be given to the International Mung-bean Fund (IMF), to give credibility to its Special Dining Rights (SDRs) and other projects. More will be given to the World Food Bank to support its programs of rain forest removal in Brazil and Borneo (remember, "Only We Can Prevent Forest"). Perhaps the rest will be lent out to European gourmet speculators, perhaps not; in any case US citizens need no longer concern themselves about it.

The Chef of the Federal Food Reserve will be appointed by the President. He will oversee the Food Open Market Committee (FOMC), which will use Federal Reserve Noodles to purchase real food items on the market. The FOMC will also have the power to "foodetize" past-sell-date food issued by foreign dictators, subprime mortgage food from the back of the freezer, or any other indigestible object, possibly including Twinkies (when the needed technology is developed).

The Federal Food Reserve will also regulate the Food Banks. Food Banks will be allowed to issue ten or more times as many Federal Reserve Noodles as they actually have in their reserve refrigerators. If it turns out that the "reserve" food has spoiled (become "subprime"), the Food Reserve will simply issue more FRNs to the bank in exchange for the former reserves (the subprime tranches, I mean cuts, will simply be "eaten" by the taxpayers). This will make Federal Reserve Noodles more and more plentiful as time goes on.

In fact, in times of crisis the Congress will be able to send out as many freshly cooked Federal Reserve Noodles as it takes to buy your vote, directly to your mailbox (is 300 enough? Here, take 600; heck, take all you want, they’re free!) If things get bad enough, the Chef of the Federal Reserve will deliver your FRNs himself by helicopter. Soon everyone will have enough Federal Reserve Noodles to fill all their wheelbarrows.

Now, with all this purchasing and hoarding and absconding with food and food-like securities, you might wonder, "where is my next meal coming from?" But not to worry. Trust in the Chef of the Federal Food Reserve, and wait for noodles from the sky.

Political Theatre

LRC Blog

LRC Podcasts