Wednesday, December 14, 2016

To Drain the Swamp, Trump Must Reform Agricultural Policy

by Daren Bakst

There’s real hope that the Trump administration will shake things up in Washington, D.C. This includes getting rid of the cronyism and the status quo that helps special interests at the expense of everybody else. This change is needed, and it’s especially needed when it comes to agriculture. Imagine an industry in which taxpayers provide handouts to multimillion-dollar businesses when they don’t generate as much revenue as they hoped. Or imagine the government intentionally driving up food prices to help special interests at the expense of consumers, particularly hurting the poor. Then imagine an industry enjoying record high prices, but federal taxpayers being forced to bail it out when prices come down from these record highs. It doesn’t require much imagination because this is current agricultural policy. Cronyism and massive federal intervention are the norm, not the exception to the rule. We don’t have a “safety net” anymore, but a system that uses the pretext of a safety net to insulate many agricultural producers from competing in the market. Federal policymakers need to free up farmers. They need to free farmers and ranchers from crushing federal regulations. They also need to allow farmers to freely compete in the marketplace, and reap the financial reward of being more efficient and better managed than their competitors. In other words, they should be allowed to operate just like any other business...more

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