Interesting and very informative piece on farm subsidies. The commentary on Representative Frank Lucas is particularly notable (and depressing).
Business-as-usual – including farm business – needs to change in Washington.
Federal crop subsidies make up a large portion of the Department of Agriculture’s budget. Simple economics says that if there is a subsidy, there will be more of it. There is not a crop grown in the US without some sort of subsidy attached to it. Farming is the most subsidized industry there is. Even more than green energy, and that is saying something!
Democrat Congressman Colin Peterson, the outgoing House Ag Chair put it this way, “Frankly, none of the price support programs that we have in place are adequate. They are too low. If we get to price supports, basically you are out of business. The big issue is, how do we develop a safety net that works for producers that doesn’t distort the marketplace and keeps the balance? We don’t want to get into a situation where we are subsidizing agriculture because we want to maintain a percentage of exports, for example. Maintaining market share is not a good reason to have a subsidy.”
The projected new chair, Republican Representative Frank Lucas of Oklahoma is also a proponent of subsidies. Being that he is from an energy state, he also favors big subsidies in ethanol production. Last April, he questioned whether the Obama administration is planning to turn rural areas into “bedroom communities” by cutting back on traditional farm subsidies and focusing more resources on broadband expansion and alternative energy production.
There is a political reality in subsidies. They are really no different than other freebees the government has, like entitlement programs. Until politicians make the tough choices and end them, they will continue to bloat the budget and cause immense distortions in the international agriculture marketplace. Democrats and Republicans are equally at fault. Conservative anti-tax, anti-spending lawmakers turn into free spending pussycats when it comes to farm subsidies.
Let’s see if the Tea Partiers can walk the walk and not just talk the talk. They don’t just have to change the entitlement programs put in place by FDR, they also have to repeal the entire food subsidy system he put in place as well. Many see FDR as one of the best Presidents in American history. Economically, he was the worst.