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.


Rod said...

I understand your point and largly agree; however as long as we (tax payers) are giving away free money to people, I do not mind that the money goes to white, god fearing people who live in fly over country and are the backbone of our great country.

Lisa said...

There is so much "free money" why attack farm subsidies?

How about state welfare programs? How much of these monies originate from Uncle Sam?

Do you have budget information on how much of an impact this is on a big picture compared to other "free money programs"?

I am not an expert of the US budget. If you have any clarifications on farm subsidies relative to other free money programs, please enlighten.

BTW --- Good ole' US equipment mfg's have tremendous benefit from these programs that do stimulate the economy with jobs & GDP. To Rod's point, giving money to those who want to work for it, is a good thing. Especially when it concerns a fundamental human need for the US to source and supply food.