Along the Tracks

Thursday, February 28, 2002
I told you (in my newspaper column) I'd get back to the heated topic of farm subsidies, and I've just finished the piece, which will appear in the 3/6 edition of The Leader. But I'll give you a bit of a preview here.
A couple numbers for you: Value of total U.S. production of corn, soybeans and wheat in 2000 = $37.7 billion. Total farm subsidies (NOT including conservation and disaster programs) in 2000 = $19.8 billion.
In other words, the federal government could have bought OVER HALF of the big 3 grain production in 2000 with the money it spent on subsidies. Do you know what a long-term, guaranteed contract purchasing that amount of grain would do for prices? Double them, easy, maybe even triple them. How's that for "bang for the buck?"
We could then turn around and ship the federally-purchased grain to the starving masses of the world as (the main) part of our foreign aid program. You think the Third World might appreciate us then?
A contract-based, free market solution to the farm policy program that has the added benefit of saving millions of lives and earning the respect and gratitude of people around the world. Almost sounds too good to be true.
Alas, it will not come to pass anytime soon. It just too easy for legislators to buy votes with government handouts. When it comes to farm policy, all those "free market" senators and representatives quickly turn socialist.

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