Crony farmers, corporate welfare, and the ongoing scamming of the taxpayer in the name of “farming”

This article reminded me of a parody Funny or Die did of a Dodge truck commercial a couple of years ago entitled “God made a factory farmer.”

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Farming is one of the croniest areas of the American economy. The industry is rife with subsidies of all sorts, herds of lobbyists, Republican pandering (and Democrat pandering too though most of the Dems have been chased to the cities), and inside political deals of all sorts.

And every time the reality of our farming system is brought up, whenever the obvious corruption is highlighted – at least here – there are always people who object. There is always the “Well, we grow the food.” argument.  OK. Great. That’s not my fault, and you don’t get my money just because you grow food for a living. (Well, actually you do which I guess really is the point.)

Some people just refuse to acknowledge that certain income flows which come to them are essentially welfare. Corn subsidies. Sugar subsidies. Being paid not to farm land. A million other things.

Of course farmers can see the other side to the crony system too, such as the raisin farmers who until recently were forced to give half their crop to the government – for free.

It’s a tangled agricultural web to be sure, but cronyism is fundamental to our current system and we need to slash many programs powerful corporate interests have embedded into this part of our economy.

But rural Republicans are afraid to do the right thing because it is considered political suicide to stand up to these interests.

(From US News)

The empirical evidence with respect to income redistribution and the economic efficiency of most U.S. farm subsidies is unambiguous. The largest 15 percent of farm operations and the richest farmers and landowners, with incomes and wealth that are many times the national average, receive over 85 percent of all farm subsidies. Small farm operations managed by families that are poor generally receive little or no help from the programs approved and defended by the House and Senate agricultural committees.

Moreover, many farm programs waste economic resources and provide incentives for environmentally damaging practices. In addition, by distorting domestic and global markets, they create difficulties for the U.S. government in international trade relations. So why do many members of the House and Senate agricultural committees vociferously and, for the most part unapologetically, support the current structure of farm subsidies, much of which is widely viewed by economists as damaging from a social policy perspective? First, the chairs and ranking members of those committees almost always come from districts and states in which farm families and agribusiness employees form substantial voting blocks, as do other committee members.

Click here for the article.