It should be interesting to see what happens to this issue now that it’s been picked up by one of the anointed on the left and reframed as a rich vs. poor issue. I’ve always felt that the gov’t should get it’s nose out of the farm industry and let it be sorted out on its own. The upside is it may actually get some attention. The downside is that if it becomes a liberal “problem” to solve, the only thing I can be assured of is that I’ll have less money, and a targeted voting block will receive it.
If we pulled the government out of the ag sector, what would probably happen is that prices would have a period of disruption and dislocations, as various land usage changes rapidly, then certain crops would start to find an equilibrium in planting acres and pricing.
The prices for some crops would go up, others would go down, etc. The consumer would do a bunch of ranting and wailing during this time, because you’d see some big price swings in food products over a series of years as the market sorted itself out.
This wailing and whining would bring about calls from the Congress to “do something!” again, which champions of “the poor” would be supporting.
What we have now in ag policy is a result of 70+ years of meddling, and some very poor policy choices made as a result of short-term thinking. Farming isn’t for the short of attention span, and farm economics is much different than other business economics in that farms are businesses yes, but they get to respond to market forces only once/year. Other businesses, esp. service businesses, can respond to market forces with lightening speed.
Farmers can’t do that. Once the spring starts and the seed is in the ground, a farmer is committed as few other businesses are. His next decision point come after harvest, when he decides what to do with the crop and what to plant next year. These economics policy wonks completely miss this when talking about “market signals” to farmers, and it makes them look as dumb as stumps when talking about ag policy in front of Congress with the various farm groups in the same hearing.
What is needed, IMO, is to get these goofball academics and idiots from the think tanks out of the room, sit down farm groups with Congress and budget analysts and map out how to withdraw subsidies from the market on a staged basis. Keep the theoreticians out of the room, because they’re so absurdly wrong when they open their mouths that the farm groups get a mad on in a hurry, dig in their heels and won’t budge until they start hearing some common sense.