Harvesting the subsidies

In DC its time for that staple of American farming—pork. Despite the higher food costs we all pay and the environmental damage wrought by doing the wrong crops in the wrong places, our crazy agricultural policies march on. And subsidies are at its heart. My favorite joke about it is: “I saw an employee at the Agriculture department clearing out his desk today. He had to go, his farmer died.” Tracy Mehan has fun article on ag policy silly season it here. He opens with the joke:

“How does a farmer double his income?” “Get a second mailbox.”

My favorite part of the article is:

Apologists for the status quo make three arguments. First, everybody does it. Second, we have the votes in Congress. Third, all this federal largesse is necessary to protect the safest, healthiest food supply in the world. The reader can judge the first and second claims, possibly recalling the fundamental moral lessons your mother told you when you were young. As to the third, the answer is quite simple. If you withdrew federal subsidies you would have fewer, more efficient, more productive farmers — not less food.