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The U.S. government bails out automakers and banks. In Italy, they bail out a different kind of billion-dollar industry, Parmesan cheese producers. Who, I ask, has the more civilized society?

London’s Telegraph reports: “Silvio Berlusconi‘s government is to buy 100,000 of the country’s beloved Parmigiano Reggiano cheeses from its hard-pressed producers at a cost to the state of 50 million euros (£45 million).”

The sad thing is, Parmesan producers are not the only cheese-makers looking for a government hand-out in Italy.

Reports the Telegraph:

Producers of Italy’s other celebrated cheese —- buffalo mozzarella —- are looking on enviously after suffering an 18 percent drop in sales in the last year. “We’ve asked for help too,” said Vincenzo Oliviero, the head of Italy’s mozzarella producers association, which has yet to receive an injection of state aid.

Photo by Flickr user evbjone