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July 07, 2007


Excellent work here.

The Farm Bill is highly complex, and few Americans have any idea how much it impacts them and our country — in fact, the world.

In any complexity within our society — e.g., taxes, the law, the military, government itself — those who know the subject best are the ones who make the decisions. This is a double-edged sword, because knowledge can be employed to advance the common good, or it can be used, like money, to benefit primarily a few.

Unfortunately, farm subsidies, while introduced with good intention, have become like a foreign species introduced into an ecosystem to combat once pest, but which has grown to become a pest unto itself.

Keep up the good work on this subject, Ollie, for there are few outside government and for-profit special interests who know it as well as you.

Ollie notes: One of the things that I'm fascinated by now, and wish I had time to discover more information, is the Environmental Working Group's inclusion of all conservation payments in its "crop subsidy" database (some of which, such as EQIP, it pushed for more funding in 2002, even to the point where it joined the National Cattlemen's Beef Association in a letter urging the caps to be raised to $450,000). Many of the programs--WRP, GRP, WHIP, CRP, and CREP--take land out of production, but the EWG has thrown the dollars used for this into the pot. Very curious that it uses payments it argued for in 2002 to bash ag payments in 2007.

Unlike some, I don't favor the approach that's being touted by EWP, Oxfam, Cato etc. of eliminating all programs. More in my next post. I see a much different pest in ag country.

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