Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

Q. Why are the bills on farmers’ feed caps rounded?

A. So they fit inside the mailbox as each farmer roots around for his government check.

Old joke — and a useful reminder of how subsidy-dependent agriculture has become. Scott Faber, writing in The Washington Times, barrels right into the subject:

From 1995 to 2010, taxpayers provided nearly a quarter-trillion dollars in subsidies to farm businesses. Only one-third of America’s farmers grow crops that are even eligible for these subsidies, and the top 10 percent of these operations collected 74 percent of available funds. More and more farm payments are being delivered as premium subsidies for farm insurance policies. As more farm businesses purchased government-subsidized insurance, the cost to taxpayers has exploded: from $2.4 billion in 2001 to nearly $9 billion in 2011.

So the joke doesn’t quite limn the nature of today’s agribiz subsidies, which tend to be concentrated in the bigger businesses, not the more sympathetic “family farm.”

Faber notes that, today, as profits rise so do discoveries of insurance fraud . . . and yet farm lobbyists now trot out subsidy extension packages, even to the point of erecting new entitlement programs.

Just what we need, an even more dirigiste agricultural policy.

Faber proposes to cut back on covering farmers’ “shallow” losses — cover “deep” ones only. Move away from an agribiz “entitlement” system. Help reduce the federal deficit, not pile up more bushels of debt. That’s a start, at least.

Certainly, something must be done: Farm legislation is up for renewal this year.

But will Midwestern politicians wearing feed caps dare cut back?

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor

7 Comments

  1. Drik says:

    Government programs never die. They just change their names.

  2. Brian Wright says:

    In all the brouhaha about the tyranny emergency we face (http://brianrwright.com/CoffeeCoasterBlog/?p=376) and everything else, I had completely forgotten about farm subsidies. Thanks a lot!

    By the way, I appreciate the vocabulary upgrade. I had never heard of dirigiste. [And apparently the spelcheker on this comment page hasn’t either.] But what is limn? As in ‘…joke doesn’t quite limn the nature of today’s agribiz subsidies…’? I cast about in my noggin for what it might be misspelling, but came up empty. 🙂

  3. Paul Jacob says:

    Brian — Almost changed that word, but it’s a fun one and I figured folks would get it in context, even if not familiar w/ it.

    Definition of LIMN
    transitive verb
    1: to draw or paint on a surface
    2: to outline in clear sharp detail : delineate
    3: describe
    — limn·er noun

    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/limn

  4. Jay says:

    I agree- cut the subsidies.

    AND WHILE WE ARE AT IT: CUT THE IMPERIAL CONGRESS & IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY.

    NOWHERE, HAVE I SEEN-INCLUDING WHAT I HAVE READ-ADMITTERD, NOT ALL OF IT-REP. RYAN’S “BUDGET”- HAS THERE BEEN ANY ATTEMPT TO CUT BACK CONGRESSIONAL PERKS; SALARIES; JUNEKTS; AND THE GENEROUS BENEFITS TO STAFF MEMEBRS (LIEK FROGIVENESS OF STUDENT DEBTS TO THEIR–THE STAFFERS–FAMILY MEMBERS).

    NOT NOT A PIECE ON THAT?

  5. Brian Wright says:

    Well, that’s two vocabulary upgrades! I assumed the meaning had to be outline or sketch.

    As to Jay’s point, I wonder what the numbers are for Congressional perks and staff. It would surprise me if the total annual expenditure was much more than a billion FRNs. In any case negligible compared to farm and corporate subsidies or your standard overseas war of aggression/occupation.

  6. Jay says:

    Brian,

    You might be correct– as to the numebrs– BUT Congress is asking people to take a hit (other terms used) BUT THE IMPERIAL CONGRESS AND IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY ARE IMMUNE?

    I am not even counting their possibly illegal (or, at least immoral) self dealing ( by both sides) that screws us all. (Friends of Angelo; roads and Interstate exits and entrances built next to lands that Congressmen or their families own–at least since the Bush Administartion); no bid contracts to conencted firms ( by all sides); unneeded agencies-kept alive (by all sides) for jobs. (Do we, in the 21St Century really need THE RURAL ELECTRIFICATION AGENCY, TO SUPPLY ELECTRICITY TO RURAL AREAS?–It was started in the 1930’s, when a far larger per-centage of the people lived in rural areas. And, the alst figure I recall seeing, some 98% of the US had electricity.

    But, I am sure that there are Repblican as well as Democratic hacks still there.

  7. MoreFreedom says:

    Hi Jay,
    I don’t care much about congressional salaries, they amount to nothing in the federal budget. But agree, they could be cut significantly.

    But your point politicians are asking “people to take a hit” and should take one as well doesn’t sway me. First, eliminating farm subsidies (or any subsidy for that matter) isn’t a hit to taxpayers (it’s less spending so less in taxes), just rent-seekers.

    I’d rather see government eliminate all subsidies, tax breaks, loopholes, and payments to individuals and companies. And instead concentrate on protecting our liberties. If we did this, we could reduce taxes significantly so ALL levels of government could run on no more than 10% of GDP, like our country did from 1776 thru 1910.

    What needs to take a hit, is the scope of government, government spending, and Congress’ ability to pick winners and losers.

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