Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Robert Reich on the Farm Bill

Here's Robert Reich's blog under the headline, "Nix the Farm Bill":
I’ve got a way to reduce global poverty, decrease the number of workers crossing our borders illegally, save American taxpayers money, and cut your supermarket bill -- in one fell swoop. How? Get rid of US farm subsidies and tariffs.

They were supposed to be a temporary remedy for small farmers during the Depression. But, renewed every five years regardless of which party controls Congress, farm subsidies keep going and going. They've been costing taxpayers some $11 billion a year. The Senate is now considering the latest version, and it's hardly better than what's come before.

Look, I have no problem insuring small farmers against major losses. But farm subsidies go mostly to big agribusinesses that hardly need them.

But the big problem isn't just the waste of taxpayer money. Americans -- including the US media and even Washington politicos -- tend to regard agriculture policy as the exclusive domain of legislators from farm states. Yet our 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.
I found Reich's commentary on the inquisitive nutrition-oriented food blog, Fanatic Cook.

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