Wednesday, October 10, 2007

$46 Billion to Subsidize Farming "Corporations"

$46 billion is the total cost Americans pay to subsidize an industry that has not needed subsidizing for a very long time. Less than 2% of all Americans work on a farm today yet we continue to shell out $11 billion dollars to farms that are more like "corporations", in addition to the 18% tariff paid on agricultural imports as opposed to the 5% tarrif paid on other exported, bringing the grand total to $35 billion a year.

Farm subsidies, a temporary remedy for small farmers during the Depression, have been renewed continuously since the collapse of the farm economy during the era that John Steinbeck so vividly portrayed in The Grapes of Wrath.

As Robert Reich pointed out, our outdated...,

"...farm policy is the single most damaging thing we're doing to the world's poor. Ending farm subsidies and tariffs would be the single most important thing we could do to reduce global poverty....

...half the population of the developing world depends on farming for their livelihoods. They can’t earn what the global market would otherwise pay them because America’s subsidized farm exports keep prices artificially low."
Mr. Reich gives the example of American cotton growers. We export cotton for over half the amount it takes us to produce it, effectively leaving farmers around the world in a no win situation. If we put an end to farm subsidies, prices would rise naturally, increasing the value of exports from other countries around the globe, giving those farms a chance prosper, decreasing the amount of poverty worldwide.

Between the $42 billion dollars spent to incarcerate mostly harmless marijuana users and the $46 billion needlessly spent on the agricultural industry, we could probably cover a good percentage of the 47 million uninsured Americans.

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