Farming: The Most Pampered, Protected and Subsidized Industry in America
The farm legislation proceeding through Congress symbolizes much of what's wrong with Washington. It's government by inertia. We do today what we did yesterday, because politicians draw their power from distributing benefits and various interest groups feel entitled to receive them -- even if they serve no defensible public purpose. Our extravagant farm programs capture the absurdity as well as any other.
Farming has become the economy's most pampered, protected and subsidized sector. Mandates for ethanol, which raise demand for corn but save little crude oil, are the latest unjustified promotion. That's in addition to the subsidies in the farm bill: easily $50 billion from 2008 to 2012 in the bill passed by the House. The Senate will soon debate its version.
~Robert Samuelson, writing in today's Washington Post