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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Time to Downsize Federal Government

A video from the Cato Institute on downsizing government was brought to my attention by my fellow Red County Blogger Steve Dalton.

For liberals out there who have a hard time understanding our foundational and constitutional mandate of limited government in the United States, let me explain something.

For instance, this video focuses on the need to downsize (dare I say "eliminate"?) the Agriculture Department. I grew up on a farm, the son of a farmer who was the son of a farmer, going back generations. I married into a farming family, with my father-in-law as a rancher going back generations. I appreciate the importance of agriculture.

But agriculture does not need to be regulated at a Department level by the federal government. In fact, it should not be, under our constitution. Agriculture will function much better under a private economic environment...and will cost the taxpayers billions less. Market forces have always been and remain the best regulator of practices in the agriculture or any industry. The government needs to end this Soviet-style central farming model and get its paws out of agriculture.

The insanity of government-run agriculture doesn't just extend to bloated bureaucracy and inefficiency. Our system also fosters egregious inequalities.

The Cato Institute video mentions Riceland Foods, an organization that I mentioned in a Rapid City Journal column I did a couple of years ago on agricultural subsidies. Subsidies are typically there to help "the little guy;" you know, the one socialists are so enamored with (my dad and father-in-law are, incidentally, one of those "little guys). So why does the bulk of the largess from the farm bill go to huge farming operations that don't really need help?

From my 2006 RCJ column:

For example, a 2004 Heritage Foundation report says Riceland Foods, an Arkansas co-op, received $110 million in farm subsidies. Yet Hoovers' business information says in 2006 to date, Riceland made $937 million in sales. We need the farm bill for this?

It's time for this to end. Time to send all our rowdy friends home, pick up the beer bottles, clean up the puke and declare that this party is over.

America has flirted and cavorted with socialism for some 60 years or more. The signs of its failure are legion here at home and internationally.

It's time to return to the free market system that made America great.


1 comments:

Michael said...

Right on, Bob, right on. I only hope that enough folks can come to understand that subsidies are like pain medications for broken bones--they help people forget what the real problem is for a while, but the underlying issue does not get resolved.

I believe that farmers/ranchers can be profitable without subsidies, but it will require old-fashioned American ingenuity to make it happen.

 
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