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The Farm Fiasco Paperback – May 1, 1991
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Want to know the difference between a "marketing loan" and a gift? Read the book.
I have lived in the middle of farm country for fifty of my fifty-nine years, but it is only in the past three that I have smelled the coffee regarding American agriculture. Actually it was the CAFOs I smelled. Mr. Bovard's book is eye-opening. And his writing style is better than Mencken because, as C.S. Lewis said, when a person sees through things he must see through it TO something rather than nothing. Otherwise he is merely a skeptic. Bovard is both funny and spot-on. Bottom line: no farm bill.
He wrote in the Introduction to this 1991 book, "Farm programs have survived only because the farm lobby and many congressmen have successfully perpetuated an image of farmers as hardship cases. Yet the average farm family income has exceeded the median American family income every year since 1964." (Pg. 6) He states, "Most of the complaints about unfairly low crop prices in this century have stemmed largely from a refusal to admit that the cost of producing these crops has fallen steadily, thereby leading naturally to lower prices." (Pg. 52) He makes the important point, "while politicians claim that tobacco cannot be grown without government aid, there is a similar crop that has prospered despite government hostility. Marijuana...' (Pg. 76)
He argues, "there is really no more reason to protect the dairy industry than there is to protect any other industry. It makes no more sense to force Americans to pay triple the world price for butter than it does to force consumers to pay triple the world price for cars..." (Pg. 119) He asserts, "Marketing orders exemplify that principle that underlies almost all agricultural policy: The USDA can make America a better place by wasting and misallocating resources and by forcing people to do what no individual in his right mind would do." (Pg. 207)
He suggests that "Every scheme to reduce inequity between farmers and city folks has increased the inequality among farmers themselves." (Pg. 282) He proposes, "The best solution to most agricultural problems is to abolish the USDA program that causes the problem..." (Pg. 296) He adds, "Why should the government give a dairy farmer a million dollars to quit his trade when a typical laid-off worker receives little government aid to help him start a new career?" (Pg. 309)
This book is a fascinating and thought-provoking examination of the issues, and despite being more than twenty years old, still seems "relevant."
Learn how the government wastes $100 billion a year, which is about 1000 bucks for each 'hard' taxpayer out there.