Friday, November 15, 2013

(Related update): Reverse Robin Hood: Robbing tax payers to give to Big Ag

Related update:  Seems that Billionaires in America who are most definitely not farmers have been receiving taxpayer-financed, Big Ag corporate welfare over the last two decades (at least).  From an excellent post at the always excellent The Objective Standard:
UPI reports one of the bizarre aspects of U.S. farm policy:
Fifty billionaires on the Forbes list of the U.S. richest have received $11.3 million in federal farm subsidies [between 1995 and 2012], the Environmental Working Group [EWG] said Thursday.
Recipients of the subsidies include Paul Allen (cofounder of Microsoft), Charles Schwab, and Charlges Ergen (cofounder of DISH Newtwork).
Because Paul Allen, Charles Schwab, and the like need us to send them money, and as part of agricultural cronyism, no less.  But as the TOS post makes clear, it wouldn't be any less immoral if the money went to poor farmers  -- farm aid is theft, pure and simple.  Who the ultimate recipients of the theft are is irrelevant in the moral assessment of the behavior.   
Original Post:  Doug Bandow, in an article at The Freeman, answers the question, "Why do farmers get financial aid?".  He addresses the standard reasons for agricultural welfare and finds them severely wanting.  At the end of the day, the reason for the decades-old, bi-partisan support for farm aid is pretty straightforward: the industry -- and the politicians in its back pocket -- has been perhaps the most effective corporate welfare mechanism in the history of the world.  Bandow concludes with a call to end this reverse Robin Hood policy:
Farmers have grown comfortable on the federal dole. However, they would adapt if forced to operate in the marketplace like other businesses. My Cato Institute colleague Chris Edwards observed that “many industries have been radically reformed in recent decades with positive results, including the airline, trucking, telecommunications, and energy industries.” Ending farm subsidies similarly would leave “a stronger and more innovative industry.”
Good article, worth your time.