Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Getting Paid For Not Raising Hogs

TO: Honorable Secretary of Agriculture, Washington, D.C

Dear Sir,

My friend over at Wells, Iowa received a check for $10,000 from the Government for not raising hogs, and I want to go into the "not-raising-hogs" business.

What I want to know is, in your opinion, what is the best kind of farm not to raise hogs on, and what is the best breed of hogs not to raise? I want to be sure that I approach this endeavor in keeping with all governmental policies. I would prefer not to raise razorbacks, but if that is not a good breed not to raise, then I will just as gladly not raise Yorkshires or Durocs. As I see it, the hardest part of this program will be in keeping an accurate inventory of how many hogs I haven't raised.

My friend, Peterson, is very joyful about the future of the business. He has been raising hogs for twenty years or so, and the best he ever made on them was $4,220 in 1988, until this year when he got your check for $10,000 for not raising hogs. If I get $10,000 for not raising 50 hogs, will I get $20,000 for not raising 100 hogs? I plan to operate on a small scale at first, holding myself down to about 400 hogs not raised, which will mean about $80,000 the first year. Then I can afford an airplane.

Now another thing, these hogs I will not raise will not eat 10,000 bushels of corn. I understand that you also pay farmers for not raising corn and wheat. Will I qualify for payments for not raising wheat and corn not to feed the 400 hogs I am not going to raise?

Also, I am considering the "not milking cows" business, so send me any information you have on that too.

Patriotically Yours,

Otis Deal


At 10/20/2006 7:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, it sounds stupid on the surface, but a lot of that is probably just a cost shift. If we look at the cost, we need to look at the benefits, too.

If the $10,000 resulted in the farmer not receiving, say $8,000 in unemployment compensation, the net program cost is $2000. Maybe that $10,000 resulted in no unemployment ($8000) for the farmer and was instrumental in not receiving a federal grant of $4000 to send his or her child to college. In that case, the program saved the taxpayers $2000.

Unless the farmer sticks the money in his or her mattress, the money is being spent at the gas station, at the grocery store, and to pay other bills. So, there are other unstated benefits in this subsidy that are difficult to measure, but nonetheless present.

In addition, the congressmen who came up with the subsidy program gets a big share of the farmers' voting bloc. Those who pay, get to play!

If you think about it, the political process touches almost everything in our life somehow. We can say we hate that all we want, but it does bring order to what would be a rather chaotic world otherwise.

At 8/13/2011 9:27 AM, Blogger calvinfroedge said...

I'm sorry, Walt, are you actually in *support* of this lunacy? A society that gets paid to NOT do stuff...yea I see lots of accomplishment in OUR future.

At 8/13/2011 12:44 PM, Blogger LP said...

I realize that this is an old posting, but Mark brought it up recently, and then I saw Walt G's comment.

Holy moly, where to I start:
1. Pay to play is considered political corruption not a benefit of any kind. Is this a joke?

2. A $10,000 subsidy for doing nothing (not raising hogs) replacing an $8000 subsidy for doing nothing, is a net loss to the taxpayer, because pilfering 2000 MORE dollars from me is a net loss. Seriously are these serious arguments?

3. Defending taking money from me in 2 ways by declaring you'll take money from me in a third is a RIDICULOUS argument. How can you not see that?

4. The 10,000 that you took from the market in the first place was not "in a matress". It would have been in the market. So that removes the benefits to the gas station, grocery store, etc. But what outweighs these in the redistribution is the distortive effect in the first place of redistribution. The effects of taxation have no counter in your example.

Broken window fallacy at work.


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