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The Department of Agriculture Deserves the Death Penalty
Townhall.com ^ | May 28, 2014 | Daniel J. Mitchell

Posted on 05/28/2014 6:38:48 PM PDT by Kaslin

I believe in free markets and small government, and I’m also againstWashington corruption.

Which is why I want to abolish the Department of Agriculture.

And I suspect all sensible people will agree after reading excerpts from these three articles.

We’ll start with Damon Cline, who produced a searing indictment of farm welfare for the Augusta Chronicle.

Alexis de Tocqueville posited in the 19th century that America’s undoing would occur once “politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money.” That’s exactly what the Farm Bill allows politicians to do – loot the treasury on behalf of the lobbyists, special interest groups and voting blocs who keep them fat and happy in Washington Wonderland. …The bill continues a legacy of waste that started 60 years ago when campaign contribution-sniffing politicians realized they could make the Great Depression’s temporary, emergency measures permanent. At $956 billion – a figure which outporks the infamous 2009 “stimulus” package by $200 billion – the Farm Bill is four-fifths food stamps and one-fifth agribusiness subsidies. It’s a swindle easily marketed to the masses. …Republicans from conservative farm districts forged an unholy alliance with and Democrats from liberal-leaning urban ones to funnel goodies to their core constituencies with minimal bickering. …American agriculture is dominated by sophisticated family corporate enterprises and Fortune 500 companies such as Archer Daniels Midland, Tyson Foods and Pilgrims Pride Corp. …Net profits were $131 billion last year, and the average farmer’s household income ($104,525 last year) far exceeds the U.S. average. …[A farmer] can earn up to $900,000 per year and still qualify for benefits that guarantee his revenues never fall below 86 percent of his previous years’ peak earnings. On top of that, taxpayers pay 62 percent of his business-insurance premiums. …The most heavily subsidized crops – corn, cotton, wheat, soybeans and rice – have their own lobby groups, as do many non-subsidized commodities, whose producers hope to get rolled into future farm bills (as U.S. catfish and maple syrup producers managed to do this year).

Ugh. What a disgusting scam.

Now let’s look at two different examples of how federal intervention produces awful results.

The first is from Daniel Payne’s column in The Federalist. He writes about how a discrimination case became an excuse to loot taxpayers.

The USDA is blessed with an ample amount of time and a great deal of money, which means it must forever be inventing new ways to spend the billions and billions of dollars allocated to it every year… the department has a history of both vicious incompetence, remorseless fraud and sulky hostility… The incompetence and fraud are both well-documented; perhaps the greatest combination of the two can be found in the Pigford v. Glickman case. Pigford was a class action lawsuit leveled against the USDA by black farmers who claimed they had been discriminated against while seeking federal loans from the department; the lawsuit quickly ballooned to an enormous number of claimants seeking redress for racial discrimination, which, as the New York Times reported, resulted in USDA employees finding reams of suspicious claims, from nursery-school-age children and pockets of urban dwellers, sometimes in the same handwriting with nearly identical accounts of discrimination.These are not “suspicious” claims but openly false and fraudulent ones, as any capable, mildly-intelligent adult can immediately discern. …The USDA responded to these grim revelations by cheerfully going along with the terms of the settlement: in one instance, they paid out nearly $100 million to sixteen zip codes in which “the number of successful claimants exceeded the total number of farms operated by people of any race;” in one town in North Carolina, “the number of people paid was nearly four times the total number of farms.” Was there no sensible, principled person within the entire Department willing to put an end to such absurdity? Was there anybody sitting around that might have mounted some kind of aggressive campaign to combat such naked deceit? Don’t count on it. This is the same bureaucracy, after all, that has paid out tens of millions of dollars to dead farmers. Last year alone the department’s whiz kids made over $6 billion in improper payments. Nearly 66% of improper food stamp payments were “agency-caused.”

And here’s Jim Bovard, writing in the Wall Street Journal about America’s Soviet-style central planning rules for raisins.

Under current law, the 1930s-era federally authorized Raisin Administrative Committee can commandeer up to half of a farmer’s harvest as a “reserve”—to purportedly stabilize markets and prevent gluts. …The Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 authorized the secretary of Agriculture to appoint farmer-dominated committees to control production. The subsequent crop marketing orders were based on the New Deal philosophy of “managed abundance”—prosperity through “universal monopoly and universal scarcity.” …But the parity index was concocted by government agricultural economists in the 1920s to justify federal aid to farmers. “Parity” was based on a set ratio of farm prices to nonfarm prices, in correlation with the ratio that prevailed in 1910-14, a boom time for farmers. Because production costs for both farm and nonfarm goods radically changed, it never made any economic sense to rely on “parity” but it was a popular political ploy. …the raisin committee’s sweeping powers have failed to prevent vast swings in prices farmers receive. Many California farmers have shifted their land to other crops; the acreage devoted to raisin production has plunged since 2000. …economic illiteracy can vest boundless power in bureaucracies.

In his column, Jim also discusses a legal challenge to this insane system, so maybe there’s a glimmer of hope that this corrupt and inefficient system could be eliminated, or at least curtailed.

For what it’s worth, I still think the Department of Housing and Urban Development should be the first big bureaucracy in DC to be eliminated. But I sure won’t cry if the Department of Agriculture winds up on the chopping block first.

As P.J. O’Rourke famously advised, “Drag the thing behind the barn and kill it with an ax.”

P.S. I’ve shared many examples of anti-libertarian humor (several links available here), in part because I appreciate clever jokes and in part because I think libertarians should be self-confident about the ideas of liberty.

That being said, I definitely like to share examples of pro-libertarian humor, such as Libertarian Jesus.

And here’s the latest item for my collection.

Maybe not as good as the libertarian version of a sex fantasy, but still quite amusing.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: pigford

1 posted on 05/28/2014 6:38:48 PM PDT by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

Guy walks into the Department of Agriculture. He sees a bureaucrat at his desk crying his eyes out.

He walks up to him and says: “What’s the matter?”

The bureaucrat says: “My farmer died!”


2 posted on 05/28/2014 6:48:21 PM PDT by Reagan‹berAlles (Remember, you can't spell "progressive" without "SS".)
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To: Kaslin

The Department of the Interior,

Department of Agriculture,

Department of Commerce,

Department of Labor,

Department of Health and Human Services ($1 trillion budget),

Department of Housing and Urban Development,

Department of Transportation,

Department of Energy,

Department of Education,

Department of Homeland Security,

Environmental Protection Agency,

Council of Economic Advisers,

Small Business Administration,

Deserve the Death Penalty


3 posted on 05/28/2014 6:53:45 PM PDT by PapaNew
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To: Kaslin

One of the largest farming operations in Ohio collected 4 million dollars in subsidies in a 10 year period.It’s a matter of public record.How can the USDA justify THAT?


4 posted on 05/28/2014 7:00:02 PM PDT by Farmer Dean (stop worrying about what they want to do to you,start thinking about what you want to do to them)
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To: Reagan√úberAlles
I found a cool WWII era Department of Agriculture instructional film. I like counting how many of today's laws they were proudly breaking in the early 40s. The kid in the cloud of pesticides is a personal favorite.

The Original Victory Garden
5 posted on 05/28/2014 7:00:42 PM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin.)
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To: Kaslin

Gimmegimmegimmegimmegimmeyoucan’tmailaletterwithafoodstampgimmegimmegimmegimmegimme


6 posted on 05/28/2014 7:06:12 PM PDT by blueunicorn6 ("A crack shot and a good dancer")
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To: Kaslin

Yes another department that needs to be defunded. I’m still wondering why people in NYC is getting money NOT to farm.


7 posted on 05/28/2014 7:24:34 PM PDT by ExCTCitizen (I'm ExCTCitizen and I approve this reply. If it does offend Libs, I'm NOT sorry...)
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To: PapaNew

How could not not add the IRS?


8 posted on 05/28/2014 11:10:01 PM PDT by where's_the_Outrage? (Held my nose to vote.)
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To: Kaslin

Post/thread BUMP! HOORAY Daniel J. Mitchell.


9 posted on 05/29/2014 2:21:54 AM PDT by PGalt
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To: PapaNew

And not one of them will ever lose get less money the following year than it had the previous year, let alone be killed off. It won’t happen until the entire system collapses. I’m in the “get it over with” camp. Run this damned thing over the cliff now. They want to run a $3 trillion deficit? Pussies...! Make it $10 trillion! Auger this bitch straight into the ground.


10 posted on 05/29/2014 2:59:35 AM PDT by Orangedog (An optimist is someone who tells you to 'cheer up' when things are going his way)
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To: Kaslin

Do away with the Agriculture Dept?
How about ding away with about 80 percent of this damned worthless federal gub mint?
Bureau of indian affairs? Come on man.
Dept of edumacation?
So many damned worthless blood sucking leaches in gub mint.


11 posted on 05/29/2014 4:23:38 AM PDT by Joe Boucher ((FUBO) obammy lied and lied and lied)
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To: where's_the_Outrage?
Well, this is round one: cut out these cancerous bureaucratic cysts AND the administrative state.

Round two is cutting income taxes to a flat rate of 10%-15%.

Round three would be cutting the waste out of other, necessary depts like the Dept of Defense and the Dept of the Treasury (where the IRS resides). The Dept of Defense should be strong with up-to-date research and development and cutting-edge technology. Depts like the IRS should be tiny little non-threatening depts that carry out the fiscal functions of a small, benign federal government.

12 posted on 05/29/2014 7:51:30 AM PDT by PapaNew
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