Damn Those Tricksy Republicans With Their Hate and Their Crop Subsidies!

More

One of Andrew's readers writes:

There is a portion of the Republican base in the Plains states that believe not all Americans are entitled to health care, but all farmers are entitled to payments from the federal government for crops to be grown that nobody actually needs.  If a spending freeze means more cuts like the ones proposed here, I'm all for it.

One would think that there were no Democrats on the Senate Agricultural committee--or, for that matter, no Democrats from Nebraska, North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, and so on.

Would that it were so . . . we might have a shot at killing off farm subsidies.  Sadly, not the case.  George Bush I tried to trim back farm subsidies.  Bill Clinton "ended" them.  Next decade, George Bush II also made a run at killing them off.  Obama's freeze will founder on the same two problems:  farm states wield disproportionate, bipartisan power in the Senate, and Americans think that farmers are really, really cute.  In the American mind, all farms are run by the Ingalls family who skip around solving the problems of the townsfolk between picturesque striding through waving rows of corn.  In truth, they're rather more apt to be high-tech sharecroppers for Cargill and ADM, but we can't shake the image.

It is true that there is a portion of the GOP base that believes that farm subsidies are sacred, but this is hardly limited to the plains states--which is why I avoid discussing milk price supports with the fine folks of western New York's dairy country.  Nor is it limited to Republicans, which is why I wouldn't discuss milk price supports with Patrick Leahy, either.  Farm subsidies are going to be with us until our robot overlords decide to dispense with these inefficient and outmoded means of productions.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Social Security: The Greatest Government Policy of All Time?

Social Security is the most effective anti-poverty program in U.S. history. So why do some people hate it?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.

Video

What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.

Video

Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.

Video

Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In