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I'd say it's time for John Cougar Mellencamp and Willie Nelson to do a Farm-Aid concert in Central Park, help those po' folks!

Maybe I can shed a little light on this question for you. I am an old retired farmer, small business man and an all around good guy. I own a few parcels of farmland that are now rented out to young energetic farmers. The terms of my agricultural lease are rather simple. I receive anywhere from 1/6 to 1/5 of ALL monies derived from growing crops, right off the top. When a bushel of soybeans is delivered to the local elevator the farmer’s settlement shows total amount and breakdown of produce and monies between landlord and grower. Two separate checks are issued. USDA payments are done the exact same way. Crop insurance, special disaster payments, any agriculture subsidy are handled this way. USDA records and payment are tied to various tracts of land and reflect ownership and economic relationship between the various parties involved. Hence, an owner can live in New York City and receive a check because the government’s records would reflect his address while the farmer was toiling away in rural Mississippi where he receives his check.

Where the check is mailed makes good headlines and great sound bites as it caught your eye, right? However I believe it is a bogus issue. The real issue is various agricultural subsidies, not where the checks are mailed.

Thanks mac. You're right, the problem is the subsidies. Special interests have kept them going, in spite of the absence of arguments pointing out how they could be in the general interest. Maybe it takes some attention like this to arouse sufficient opposition inside this country. (Outside this country, our ag subsidies already attract near-universal ire.)

Because most farmers happen to have Manhattan addresses while toiling the land in Kansas...

By the way, its not just special interests keeping them going. Caplan's book found that farm subsidies are quite popular, even among non-farmers from more urban states. I suspect in part because people worry about food (we like to have a lot of it rather than just enough) and that they are imagining romantic small family farmers like the Joad's rather than the reality of farming today.


I don't buy Reich's assertion. If we are negatively impacting the Mexican farmer because of our farm subsidies then stopping those subsidies would make them less likely to immigrate here period....and that includes legal immigration.

If we want to halt illegals then the government has to take the steps to strengthen border security and make sure the INS and other agencies have the resources to process legal immigration. Let's try to remember that, even though there hasn't been an attack since 9/11, there are whackos out there that still want to infiltrate the country and kill us. And, we really don't need drug lords and other criminals coming here illegally and causing trouble.

Another lame excuse by a current or former government official on this subject....i'ts pathetic, really.

Good piece, I think you have a permanent visitor from Larry Kudlow because he also mentioned the farm subsidy issue and the manhattan hits.

Coincidentally enough, I'm reading Pat Buchanan's book "Where the Right went Wrong"

on page 178, there is a quote from Barry Goldwater in "Freedom fo the Farmer" which reads as follows;

"The teaching of the Constitution on this matter is perfectly clear. No power over agriculture was given to any branch of the national government....The problem of surpluses will not be solved until we recognize that technological progress and other factors have made it possible fo the needs of America, and those of accessible world markets, to be satisfied by far fewer number of farmers than now till the soil."

Goldwater demanded "no equivocation here" but a prompt and final terminateion of the farm subsidy plan. It goes on to say that GW signed a $180 billion dollar farm bill in 2004 for the benefit of half the number of farmers who were around when Goldwater wrote this manifesto.

Who cries the loudest at a farmer's funeral? His Department of Agriculture sponsor...


This is one area where I take strong issue with the Republicans. No matter how much they talk about reducing pork, it never seems to apply to agriculture, because farming areas are Republican strongholds.

The heavy subsidies on cotton strike me as particularly absurd. We can't even pretend to justify it under the banner of food production, and some of the areas we send foreign aid to (such as West Africa and parts of the Middle East) would benefit far more from a reduction in subsidies. In other words, by spending LESS money manipulating the cost of cotton, we could benefit the world's poor MORE (although as a note for the sinophobes out there, China would reap the greatest benefits).

As a side note, in our area the distribution looks about right. There are are a few small dots in our urban center, but lots of big ones in the surrounding agricultural communities.

I can confirm Mac' comments above. I checked my area in WA state and found farm locations in CA tied to the payment info.

Without a state income tax, WA is a popular retirement location for folks from CA.

Steve right about the subsidies being the problem. The whole system is almost as bad as the ethanol import duty and subsidy for pollution/energy purposes.

I looked at the area I grew up in (on a farm, although my family has not been farmers for many years now) and saw that there was just about ZERO subsidies shown for the entire county (as near as I could tell). Now I *KNOW* there's a huge amount of farming going on there. It's rich Illinois River bottom ground and rich, rolling prairie soil -- 250 bu/A corn is hardly unusual. So, either the map's messed up or there's something funny going on.

I tried to build a link, but it didn't show in the preview, so evidently the way I usually do it isn't working. If you want to take a look, go to St Louis and then look north to just north of where the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers join. My county isn't the only one there with few or no red dots.

But I think the difference is that most people prefer the fiat currency because it's a better measure of value between goods and services and is better for a growing society with ongoing transactions. Goldbugs/Libertarians prefer gold because it's a greater store of value and better for a steady-state society with slow to nil growth.

baloney. You can't create wealth by just printing digits on a piece of paper. Wealth is created through production.

How do you account for the fact that one of the most prosperous times in the U.S economy happened under a gold standard. 20 years immediately following the civil war - economy averaged over 4% growth. There was a general deflationary trend in prices.

Ron Paul comes from the Austrian Freemarket school. It is against ponzi schemes endorsed by monetarists. It is a scam, if anybody else tried to do it, they will be arrested for fraud. Yes, Mises, Hayek ( Nobel prize winner ), Rothbard, Hazlitt, Sennholz were all austrian economists.

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