Obama’s Bogus Case for Agricultural Subsidies

At Bloomberg, Josh Barro unloads on President Barack Obama for “pandering to Iowans’ demands for federal handouts.” He writes:

Obama says we need to "put politics aside" and give farmers their money. This is backwards. America's food policies, which put food producers' interests ahead of of those of food consumers, are all about politics. Farmers are an effective lobby; eaters aren't.

Putting politics aside would mean getting the government out of the farm subsidy business, and forcing farmers to seek profit-making opportunities and plan for risks like other businesspeople do. It certainly wouldn't mean authorizing a new farm bill.

Read the rest here.

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  • The Late P Brooks||

    forcing farmers to seek profit-making opportunities and plan for risks like other businesspeople do.

    Like they do in SOMALIA.

  • Aresen||

    WRT farm subsidies, Mencken said it all:

    http://www.bizbag.com/mencken/menkfarm.htm

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Like to see some evidence of a farmer with no insurance that will be ruined because of the drought.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Obama says we need to "put politics aside..."

    Well that is all part of Obama's standard MO.

    When he starts off with that, what follows, is of course nothing but pure politics.

    Likewase, when he starts off with "let me be clear" , what follows is anything but that.

    And so it goes, spouting straw man positions, presenting false choices and telling outright lies. Most all politicians do this to some degree - some a lot more than others but Obama seems to be the top of the heap when it comes to such stuff.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    They all do it, but Obama does it every time. At least he's consistent.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Farmers are an effective lobby; eaters aren't.

    Kind of a win/win for somebody like Obama, though: if food prices go up enough to cause suffering he can plump for more food stamps etc.

  • sarcasmic||

    Cheap food promotes obesity.

    To cure the obesity epidemic food prices must necessarily rise.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    But 40 million Americans face hunger daily. Food is too expensive for the most vulnerable in society.

  • GILMORE||

    Clearly they also must be subsidized

  • GILMORE||

    sarcasmic| 8.15.12 @ 1:01PM |#

    Cheap food promotes obesity.

    Bullshit. Fast food and bad behavior promotes obesity = farm produce does not.

    And by your own bullshit claim, this is a perfect argument for ending food stamps and the department of agriculture - which mainly subsidizes crops - completely.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    The farmer I saw on CNBC this seemed pretty happy. He was in Nevada, IA. He was stoked because he planted drought resistant corn from Monsanto, so his projected yield was pretty good. He had already sold about 80% of his crop to the futures market, and was overall optimistic. The talking head at CNBC was trying to concern troll the guy, but he wasn't having it. The farmer actually sounded like the CEO of any other corporation. Weird.

  • kinnath||

    You get a 50% crop and then sell at record prices. So you wind up making more cash than for a bumper crop.

    The fields look like shit around here, but are still recognizable as mostly mature corn and beans.

    There are other places where the fields are nothing but dead stalks laying on the ground.

  • kinnath||

    There is a corn field behind my house. I haven't mowed my grass in 10 weeks and counting. I have 40-foot tall trees that are wilting. But the fucking corn just keeps growing. It's got to be black magic.

  • mnarayan||

    racist

  • ||

    Will someone please explain why farmers need drought relief if they already have crop insurance?

  • kinnath||

    1) Crop insurance doesn't make the farmer whole.

    2) Iowa is a fucking swing state and could determine the election.

    3) ?

    4) Profit!?!?!?!?!

  • Anonymous Coward||

    My apologies to reasonoids and libertarian Iowashirestanians, but Iowa and its various Big Ag concerns can go piss up a rope.

  • kinnath||

    If Obama had been even a remotely competent president, Iowa's scrawny 7 electoral votes would have been completely irrelevant to the election.

    You can't blame a working girl for squeezing a little bit to hard once the John's ball are in her hand.

  • ||

    Ahh yes, we can't possibly allow a famrer to take a loss, EVER. We have to insure, absolutely, that the farm gets exactly the same amount of profit whether his crop fails or not.

  • sarcasmic||

    Election season?

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Because if Obama didn't pledge drought relief, it would look like he didn't care. It is an election season after all.

    If you get in a car accident, your insurance covers your repairs, and you go on with your life. Although it may be a bit inconvenient, it is usually a pretty quiet, and easy transaction. But think of how awesome it would be if you had an auto accident, your insurance covered repairs, and President Obama showed up at your office and handed you a check, just because he could?

  • ||

    I think I would start sabotaging my brake line if that were the case.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Why that would be perverse. A perverse incentive.

  • The Hammer||

    Because We Have To Do Something!!

  • mnarayan||

    pretty sure crop insurance is what lets people buy fertilizer. how's fertilizer going to help here?

  • ||

    You do understand what the concept of "insurance" entails, right?

  • mnarayan||

    it's how you get things which you should get, but which you don't want to pay for, right?

    farmers should fertilize their crops but fertilizer is expensive so they buy crop insurance to ease that burden

  • ||

    I'm sure in Obama's second term, he will pass an executive order stating that all crop insurers are required to offer free fertilizer to their customers, with zero-co-pays or deducibles. Even if they are organic farmers.

  • Invisible Finger||

    This seemed like the best place to put this link regarding property rights in regards to financial firms.

    http://www.acting-man.com/?p=19030

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