No New Farm Bill is Better!

Randy Cook of Norm Economics wrote this great little piece on the issue of the new Farm Bill that is currently being bandied about Congress. Please read it. He does a fantastic job of breaking this down into a nutshell, and I for one would be much happier if all this top down control were negated:

680 E. 5 Point Hwy. Charlotte, Mich. (48813) 517-543-0111
Calling the 2012 Ag legislation a “farm bill” is like calling a
campaign promise “the truth.” Only 15.4% of the money to be expended
by this legislation has anything to do with farm price or income
“supports.” That portion is the actual “farm bill.” Do your principles allow
you to live peaceably with 15.4% “truth?” Mine don’t. I prefer a somewhat
larger “truth” content in the actions of my government. But let’s not
quibble over titles. Let’s talk about what this “farm bill” does and doesn’t
“Price and income support programs” do not support farm prices
or incomes. Crop insurance programs certainly support insurance
company incomes and price supports may contribute to bank incomes
and farm credit company incomes, but when it comes to farm incomes
and profitability, the “farm bill” tells farmers that the loan rate on a
bushel of corn is $1.95 and on a bushel of wheat it’s $2.94. Even our
rigged commodity markets know that’s too low to make a profit growing
corn or wheat; especially if you try growing them in a greenhouse. The
reason for these particular loan rate numbers is that they minimize
government inventories of these necessary staples. In other words, our
policy is to hold no strategic surplus against short harvests. Stupid
policy brought to you by the “farm bill.” So, should we work to fix this
policy? Ron White’s observation is, “You can’t fix stupid.”
You can call actual “farm bill” spending many different names but
you can’t call it “subsidy.” Farmers have been subsidizing our
economy for 60 years resulting in the forced elimination of small farm
operators, despite “farm bill” spending. Small farmer elimination is the
actual intentional policy we pursue in our nation. In order to implement
top-down, centralized control of the economy the small farmer MUST be
eliminated. Even the Bolsheviks discovered that truth; their result being
an economic collapse 70 years later. We’ve only been at it for 60 years,
and in a much “nicer” way. Every “farm bill” we enact keeps their result
in our crosshairs, regardless of Federal Reserve “quantitative easing,”
“free trade” agreements, economic development “grants” or deficit
Failing to pass a “new farm bill” would mean the provisions of the
1949 Agriculture Act would prevail. Although that statute was a
corruption of the policies that brought us to victory in WWII and avoided
an expected depression afterward, it would still be an improvement over
what farmers have experienced and what our nation has had to endure
since 1952. It dealt with the things a “real farm bill” must handle: the
connection between production, price and National Income as evidenced
in the domestic purchasing power of our money and our industrial
capacity and employment.
At the risk of getting too far afield, our financial system depends on
our physical economy. When our physical economy is crippled, as today,
our financial system cannot function properly. The cause of our physical
economic disability comes straight off our farms where, during
prosperous periods, 70% of the annual raw materials needed to create
our standard of living are produced. Finance cannot fix our problems
because it deals with debt creation not wealth creation. Debts can only
be paid by creating new wealth and properly pricing it to assure that the
exchanges necessary to process, distribute and consume that wealth do
not require debt. That is “sustainability.” Does anyone else savor the
irony of lobbying for federal grants to support sustainability?
A REAL farm bill would result in moving toward national solvency
by paying farmers the proper, legal price for their marketed production.
USDA calculates and publishes those prices every month. The Secretary
of Agriculture still has the legal obligation to regulate the markets so that
farmers receive not government checks, but legal prices in the
marketplace. (7 U.S.C. 602) The current “farm bill,” even with its
conservation program spending, does nothing to assure the continued
ability of the actual stewards to conserve soil, air, water or community.
That result will come only from profitable farmers and ranchers
producing the highest quality, freshest, most nutritive items we can
desire, along with each of us earning the necessary income to pay
properly for what we consume.
A REAL farm bill would move our national policy in that direction.
Toward equity of exchange and away from exploitation; toward higher
quality local foods and away from processed industrial production
shipped thousands of miles for “convenience.” Any farm legislation such
as “food safety,” “animal traceability,” “free trade” agreements or “farm
bills” must favor labor over capital, health over convenience, solvency
over debt, man over money. This “farm bill” doesn’t see such things even
in its rear view mirror.
What? No new farm bill? I feel better already.
Randy Cook


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