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Congress has failed to reform agricultural subsidies according to this story from WAPO.
“”””House keeps farm subsidies, cuts food aid as it passes food and farm spending bill
WASHINGTON — The Republican-led House voted to slash domestic and international food aid Thursday while rejecting cuts to farm subsidies.
A spending bill to fund the nation’s food and farm programs would cut the Women, Infants and Children program, which offers food aid and educational support for low-income mothers and their children, by $868 million, or 13 percent. An international food assistance program that provides emergency aid and agricultural development would drop by more than $450 million, one-third of the program’s budget. The legislation passed 217-203. “”””
A few years ago I researched and published a Diary on the horrible results of Farm subsidies, They do a LOT more harm than just costing you tax dollars.
I will just reprint it here::
The Real Culprit in the Attack on America (from 8/2008)
Conservatives are quick to accuse Left wingers of being unpatriotic or backing bad economic policies. Left wingers are quick to accuse Conservatives of being callus to the plight of the poor and backing restrictive policies on human rights. Libertarians and Greens blame everyone for everything.
But there is one group which has really done more than any other to; 1) Undermine America’s standing with the world 2) Place enormous burdens upon the taxpayer 3) place enormous burdens on consumers 4) facilitate the mass illegal migration and all it’s concomitant problems we are now facing. And, 5) cause misery in the poorest parts of the world.
Who are these villains? Well, its the Farmers, Agricultural lobby, and big Agri-business. We are so used to hearing sob stories about the “poor family farm” or the personal steadfastness and virtue of those who work the land. But its mostly a load of Bull. There are very few small family farms left, and farmers, like any other people have proved susceptible to the seduction of the government hand out.
Agricultural subsidies cost Americans directly and indirectly over 150 billion dollars per year.
According to Brazilian Business Law Scholar Durval de Noronha Goyos JR:
In the USA, there are at present no fewer than 10 direct and 10 indirect programmes of agricultural subsidies. In absolute numbers, US agricultural subsidies reached today an amount of US$ 150 billion for a total agricultural production of US$ 128 billion, which makes subsidies represent 115% of the effective production. These stunning numbers signify that the USA has long ceased being a market economy in the agricultural sector.
According to the Heritage Foundation the cost is:
a total of $190 billion in taxes on American families and an additional burden of $271 billion in inflated food prices.
Agricultural subsidies aggravate illegal immigration.
Even a Left wing pundit like Steven C. Clemons understands.
Steven C. Clemons
Congress seems to believe that while the United States must be protected from an invasion of educated, bright and ambitious foreign college students, scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs, we can never have too many low-wage fruit-pickers and dishwashers.
In making immigration laws, Congress caters to cheap-labor industries like agribusiness and sweatshop manufacturing while short-changing the high-tech, high-wage industries on which the future of the American economy depends. Witness the Senate bill’s provision to admit 400,000 temporary workers a year, or roughly four million a decade, in addition to the 12 million mostly low-wage illegal immigrants already here, many of whose status would be legalised. Few if any of those guest workers would go to universities, corporate campuses or innovation clusters like Silicon Valley. They would head straight to restaurants, hotels and plantation-like farms.
While the United States perversely tries to corner the market in uneducated hotel maids and tomato harvesters, other industrial democracies are reshaping their immigration policies to invite the skilled immigrants that we turn away. Britain is following Australia and Canada in adopting a points system that gives higher scores to skilled immigrants with advanced education and proficiency in English.
BUT, It goes even further than that. The Agricultural subsidies are not only creating a demand for unskilled labor, but by dumping subsidized produce on world markets you destroy farmer’s livlihood in poor nations such as Mexico and cause those same people to seek their fortune elsewhere.
Agricultural Subsidies cause havoc in the third world, and are a stumbling block to better relations with our trading partners.
Here is the argument made by the NCPA:
Subsidised agriculture in the developed world is one of the greatest obstacles to economic growth in the developing world. In 2002, industrialised countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) spent a total of $300 billion on crop price supports, production payments and other farm programs. These subsidies encourage overproduction. Markets are flooded with surplus crops that are sold below the cost of production, depressing world prices. Countries with unsubsidised goods are essentially shut out of world markets, devastating their local economies. Moreover, farm subsidies lead to environmental harm in rich and poor nations alike.
Prosperous countries give about $50 billion to $55 billion annually in foreign aid to underdeveloped nations. If developed nations reduced their subsidies and eliminated trade barriers — such as import tariffs protecting domestic producers from international competition — this aid would arguably be unnecessary and rural poverty might be significantly reduced.
Historically, agriculture has been a major pillar — if not the foundation — of developing economies because it provides food security, creates employment and generates local capital. For example, in 1790, nearly 90 percent of the U.S. workforce was employed in agriculture. By 1900, farmers dropped to 38 percent of the labor force, and today they account for less than 1 percent. Agriculture accounts for less than 1 percent of U.S. gross domestic product (GDP). Similar trends in other OECD countries indicate that the path to development begins with agriculture.
Hindering Third World Growth. Every dollar, yen or euro poured into the agriculture sectors of rich nations makes developing countries’ farm sectors that much less competitive. The “dumping” of agricultural commodities at prices lower than the cost of production is devastating to developing countries, since most depend almost entirely on only one or a few products. Every year, farm subsidies cost developing countries about $24 billion in lost agricultural income.
Here is some more information:
Rich countries spend billions subsidizing their agricultural sector, leading to chronic overproduction and dumping surpluses on global markets. Poor countries demand reform of this trade practice that impoverishes small-scale farmers while enriching large agri-business.
Farm subsidies don’t go to small family farms, they mostly go to huge Agribusiness, like Archer Daniels Midland, Con-Agra, and Dole Pineapple, among others.
Here again is the Heritage Foundation:
With agricultural programs designed to target large and profitable farms rather than family farmers, it should come as no surprise that farm subsidies in 2002 were distributed overwhelmingly to large growers and agribusinesses–including a number of Fortune 500 companies. Chart 2 shows that the top 10 percent of recipients received 65 percent of all farm subsidies in 2002.6 At the other end, the bottom 80 percent of recipients (including most family farmers) received just 19 percent of all farm subsidies.
The most successful program to steal your money from you by Agri-business is Ethanol subsidies.
Ethanol is touted as the way to get off of foreign sources of energy, But that is a crock.
It is not even accepted that Ethanol production produces more energy than it requires*, and at any rate, bio-diesel, or sugar beet production are both more efficient than ethanol from corn. This is a titanic boondoggle and a huge lie and slap in the face of Americans who think they are being “Green”. But someone else said it better than me, This from Vladimir on REDSTATE.Com:
Example: by mandating ethanol in our motor fuel, and by outlawing imports of ethanol refined elsewhere, we’ve had to deal with the impact of high levels of corn production on our ecosystem. Corn is one of the most taxing crops on the soil, and its cultivation requires large amounts of nitrogen fertilizers (derived, by the way, from natural gas). Runoff of nitrogen fertilizer is the primary culprit for the annual “Dead Zone” that forms in the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve seen it variously described as “the size of Connecticut” and “the size of New Jersey”; for our purposes we’ll stipulate that it’s the size of a densely-populated north-eastern state. An oxygen-depleted zone, it virtually wipes out commercial fishing.
* CORN ETHANOL TAKES MORE ENERGY THAN IT MAKES
ENS, USA, July 13, 2005
Berkeley, California, July 13, 2005 (ENS) – Using ethanol as an additive to make gasoline burn cleaner does more harm than good to the environment, finds a new report by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. The study concludes that the cumulative energy consumed in corn farming and ethanol production is six times greater than the power the ethanol provides in a car engine.
Beware this evil called Ethanol.
Ethanol, The last, best, hope for big profits
Ethanol, The last refuge of a scoundrel
Ethanol, Like the proverbial lilies of the field, it toils not, neither does it spin
Ethanol, Full of sound and fury, signifying, nothing
Ethanol, Crucifying America on a cross of Corn!
This just in! Ethanol will cause hunger!