There is no place in government, with the exception of the military, where supposed “conservatives” more exploit taxpayer funded welfare than in the Ag Department programs. It is ridiculous. Food, like anything, should be subject to the market and fluctuations within this market are a good thing, not a bad thing. Challenging for farmers perhaps, particularly those on the debt treadmill, but that’s a market.
People will bend over backward to explain why it is that they need their taxpayer funded subsidy for their corn, or peanuts, or whatever. Indeed these subsidies are built into the value of the land being farmed. Without the guaranteed flows from taxpayers the land isn’t worth as much. Some seem to see the subsidies as something taxpayers owe them.
I have a financial advisor friend who does business in the rural northwest. He says there is no better way to lose a client than by explaining to a farmer why it is that crop subsidies are welfare. It sounds like early in his career he had done this. I don’t think he broaches the subject anymore.
(From The American Spectator)
Unlike most of the federal government, which is marked by unintended failure and inefficiency, the Department of Agriculture usually manages to fulfill its mission. Unfortunately, its mission is to throw money away. It ought to be called the Department of Welfare, Crony Subsidies, and Math about Vegetables.
The department employs egg inspectors and cheese-seizers, but that’s about where its utility maxes out. You can run through the budget line by line for a half-hour without finding a program worth saving.
The bulk of its budget, some $126 billion, is required by law to be wasted on welfare, farm subsidies, and such, but for the $25 billion remainder, the department has some discretion as to how it would like to waste the money on welfare and farm subsidies. There are massive programs for wasting the money indiscriminately, but also grant programs to spend the money in a targeted pointless way. An Austin gardener wants $100,000 to sell his hippie neighbors on the merits of organic produce? This is the place to fund that.*
*It should be noted that organic food is a good idea. But it’s an idea that sells itself and we don’t need the Feds making the case.