You don’t have to be a libertarian to be amazed at the way the government’s many tentacles often work at cross-purposes. The Wall Street Journal reports today on the U.S. milk industry:
A news story and op-ed in the Washington Post recently noted that about 35 million Americans, or more than 10% of the population, are “food insecure.” It sounds like there is a massive underclass of people in the nation who are so poor that they can’t get enough to eat and are going hungry. No doubt that is the idea that many articles want to put across on the reader.
I blogged about the arrogance of some members of Congress during last week’s farm debate in the House.
Let me add to Sallie’s observations on the House farm bill battle.
I watched the action on CSPAN over the pro-reform Kind/Flake amendment and was really struck by the arrogance of the anti-reform members. They repeatedly said essentially: “How dare members like Flake criticize the hard work of the Agriculture Committee — he’s not on the committee, he’s not a farmer, and so what does he know about farming!”
My toddlers have recently been having fun with the phrase “liar, liar, pants on fire.” I’d like to set them loose on the farm bill debate in Congress.
In Washington, no word is more overused and abused than “reform.” But a Washington Post story today shows the abuse taken to new heights:
Farm bloc lawmakers yesterday offered the U.S. fruit and vegetable industry $1.8 billion in new federal grants over the next five years as part of a farm bill that would leave in place far larger subsidies for grain, cotton and dairy producers.
The concessions were part of a balancing act by House Democrats to craft a bill that will satisfy politically powerful farm interests while also bearing a Democratic imprint of reform. The House Agriculture Committee was set to vote on the legislation late last night…
Spitzer was going after retailers of milk for “price gouging,” or charging prices that were “excessive.”
Talk about regulatory chutzpah. The federal government runs a milk cartel system, called “marketing orders,” which has the direct goal of raising prices. A federal price support program and import barriers are designed to raise milk prices. It has been federal policy for 70 years to screw milk consumers for the benefit of milk producers.
And the government of New York is going after retailers for overcharging?
As Congress considers a new farm bill in coming weeks, Cato has launched a web resource, Downsizing the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which offers a menu of cuts to shrink the department’s $89 billion budget by 90 percent.
A nice complement to the Cato pages is an updated farm subsidy database from the Environmental Working Group.
I was catching up on my reading in the International Breastfeeding Journal, and came across a great article by George Kent, a professor at the University of Hawaii.
As a scholarly article, it had no photos. Instead, what made it interesting were the contradictions it revealed in the federal women, infants, children (WIC) subsidy program. This is a $5 billion per year program that subsidizes families with babies, mainly by providing free infant formula.
Kent found that: