Thursday, March 3, 2011

Yes, Do End Farm Subsidies

Mark Bittman has a good post over at the NY Times, titled "Don’t End Agricultural Subsidies, Fix Them." His thesis is right there in the headline. He argues that our ridiculous farm subsidies, manifested in comical situations like houses with subsidized lawns because the land once grew corn, should not be simply ended, but diverted to medium-sized farms and other crops. I think that this is a wonderful idea. Doing this would, in an instant, transform the American dietary landscape for the better. It is such a good idea, in fact, that it will undoubtedly never happen.

What Bittman is asking of our government is subtly, logic, common sense, and leadership. Our government is incapable of that. Whether it was ever capable of that is academic, but it's certainly not capable of it now. In the past, I could simply point to the Republicans and say that they're the problem, because they usually are, but here, I can't say that. Just as many Democrats as Republicans are in the pockets of big agribusiness. And yes, I do mean to imply that they are taking bribes. I think most level-headed people can agree that lobbyists are borderline bribes, so I'll just go ahead and call them outright bribes. According to, agribusiness is the number six lobbying industry in the country. With that much money being spent by evil empires like Monsanto and ConAgra, change is an impossibility.

We have to move in bold, neanderthal-like steps for our government to get anything done. We either keep the farm subsidies as-is, or we get rid of them. To argue that there is an achievable middle ground is the perspective of a political Pollyanna.

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