Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Farm subsidies are unjust and poor policy

My mother's family ran a small to mid-size farm in Illinois for three generations. My parents live on that land now. I am sensitive to the plight of the farmer, BUT...

Why do farmers require protections any more than, say, book retailers? Farming is a vocation this just running a small business; that's all. If you and I opened a bookstore tomorrow and we had too much competitition, would the government owe us subsidies? Or even if the bookstore was in the family for generations, would that change anything? Markets change with technology advances and other changes and either we adapt or we find another livelihood. The fact of the matter is the agricultural market does not need small and even mid-size farms anymore. All we're doing with subsidies are prolonging the inevitable end of the small farm as we know it, while costing taxpayers millions and opening the system up for the kind of abuse that's ever present in our federal bureaucracy.

The argument for the family farm is the same as the argument for the Mom and Pop retailer on the old square. Just as Wal-Mart will shut them down, so to will Archer Daniels Midland inevitably shut down the family farm. This is ok, because we all benefit in the long run.

This is not the only reason to be against subsidies of course. Subsidies are reprehensible because the tax revenues that fund them are in large part extorted from the American taxpayer, legitimatized only by our broken democratic processes. It is past time to stop the madness.

Is it tough to be a farmer? I have no doubt. My job is not all easy street either, but I don't get to feed at the teat of the American taxpayer's ill-gotten trough. So pick a different profession. But stop the madness.

Why open borders won't work

The illegal immigration debate will go on until its apologists understand this: The United States has the right and obligation to reserve for its own citizens the finite resources (e.g., water, land) here already, as well as ration the infrastructure (e.g., highways, utilities) put in place by the efforts of our parents and ourselves. Absolute open borders is an infeasible idea because there is only so much of the USA to go around.

If even if this weren't true, the current federal entitlement programs make it impossible to fairly adjudicate beneftis for anyone granted amnesty. Sure there is some room for more. But how much more? Through what process? By what requirements? These are the questions we should be debating, not whether we should teach English as a second language in our public schools.

We are a generous nation to allow a process by where thousands can become naturalized citizens each year. Even so, we are almost niave by allowing abuse of the birthright citizenship by those here without invitation. And we have failed our own citizenry and our legal guests and even those here in defiance of the rules by ecouraging those here illegally to be here with free education, free health care and work in an underground economy.The only tax paid by those here illegally are sales taxes and those are paid quite frugally, if at all. Illegals mostly buy food which is not taxed. They buy few clothing items and miser other supplies. They underpay property taxes by crowding into apartments and trailers. The large portion of illegals who are paid cash do not pay Social Security taxes or Medicare taxes, let alone income taxes.

Stop the madness. Deport a few hundred a day until they're gone. Fine, then close down employers after a third strike. Stop rewarding rule-breakers with mostly free education and other free services.

Might prices go up as wages go up in the short run? Maybe. But there are things we can do to minimize any negative economic impact like repealing the minimum wage. But that is another post.

Friday, July 20, 2007

First post

I will be talking about politics for the most part, concentrating on federal politics. But I will also talk about religion, sports and whatever shakes my fancy.

First topic, Executive Orders!