The Farm Bill represents a microcosm of America’s covertly subsidized and inefficient corporate driven economy and the resulting historic economic disparity between the Plutocratic class as the ultimate financial beneficiaries of these policies and the working class. The national economic template of corporate favoritism driving working class economic disparity is readily on display in the farming community where large corporate agribusinesses lord over the nation’s family farmers.
As our two political parties negotiate the nation’s cyclical farm welfare bill that contains guaranteed profits for corporate factory farms and free food for 50 million people over a five year period (2014-2019), we are not witnessing sound economic policy nor meaningful economic reform. Rather, we are witnessing the bartering of long term government handouts for votes and the continuation of a government program used and abused by agribusiness to cover up our grossly subsidized and inefficient farm economy.
Today, America’s farm policy, as engineered by farm lobbyists, provides government subsidies totaling 19% of total farm income. Unfortunately, these are primarily directed toward corporate farms that export a large percentage of their production instead of toward local independent family farms that produce higher quality foods for domestic consumption while creating more jobs in local communities.
Other negatives of America’s current farm policy are:
- the political collusion between both political parties to undermine the safety and nutritional value of our food supply by gutting the budgets of government regulators and inspectors,
- the guarantee of supplemental unearned profits for corporate agriculture,
- the placement of corporate insiders in key government positions to develop and exploit national farm policies for the benefit of corporate agribusiness, and
- the elimination of our strategic grain reserves leaving us exposed to global price shocks.
Two of the nation’s most harmful farm policies victimizing consumers are a heavily subsidized bio-fuel industry driving most of the nation’s food inflation and a toxic portal for the biotech industry to dump their Frankenstein foods, immune from any liability, on an unsuspecting public. In addition, a much needed health mandate to label all irradiated and genetically modified foods is either being rolled back or defeated in every state by swarming lobbyists.
More recently, corporate farm lobbyists are demanding that states implement “gag laws” to prevent the disclosure of cruel and unsanitized farming practices. All of the above are being quietly sanctioned by the Obama administration and the Democratic Party leadership.
Although we cannot afford to have an unstable food supply to feed America, it is a waste of taxpayer money to provide subsidies to profitable large agricultural businesses capable of paying dividends and lavishing their executives with excessive pay and performance benefits. These businesses are also dumping massive amounts of unregulated pollution into the environment for the sole objective of creating profits that pay no taxes.
The milk we subsidize is banned around the world because of health risks associated with the Bovine Growth Hormone used in its production. The sugar we subsidize can be bought significantly cheaper from other sugar producing countries. The crop insurance we subsidize is flowing to the production of food for export creating profits for corporate agribusinesses that pay no taxes. The tax burden shouldering these subsidies has been relegated to the middle class and working poor, suffering from stagnant or declining wages, and their unborn.
Why should the American taxpayer be required to subsidize food exports feeding the Chinese and non-food products like domestic cotton? And for heaven’s sake, why should the taxpayer subsidize crops used in the bio-fuel industry when the taxpayer is also subsidizing the construction and operation of the bio-fuel industry itself.
In reality, today’s farm policy should be geared to expanding the nation’s domestic organic food supply produced on independent family farms, supporting land conservation practices for future generations, establishing anti-pesticide protections for the nation’s honeybee population and supporting programs to help small farmers vertically diversify their food products to create new income streams. Large corporate agribusinesses should be cut loose from all subsidies.
The largest and most contentious item in the Farm Bill is the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). 47+ million Americans are receiving food stamps against a backdrop of the largest increases in annual household wealth in American history. Whether the excessive amount of food stamps is warranted or not, this food stamp statistic ironically tags Democrats, who allege to be the political party representing the working class, as the gatekeepers of the stunning growth in America’s poverty and the historic gap in economic inequality.
How can Democrats justify providing an ongoing food stamp entitlement that began with 20 million people in 1961 when President Kennedy revitalized the program to over 47 million people today in an economy that has produced over $60 trillion of new wealth since 1980? Which begs the question, why does America even have a $16 trillion national debt given this incredible amount of wealth created?
By only speaking to the values of a shrinking middle class, Democrats avoid having to account publically for their role in the slaughter of the working class standard of living which includes independent family owned farms. The betrayal of President Obama to his election vows is nothing more than the indemnification of the betrayal of the Democratic party to their stated mission.
When it comes to sponsoring meaningful economic reform, Democrats are a vacuous lot of political hacks co-sponsoring with Republicans all of the government policies favoring corporations and the tax avoidance syndicate that have and continue to disadvantage and decimate the working class standard of living.
For example, rather than calling out trade agreements as the root cause of the exponential rise in food stamp usage due to the exporting of jobs overseas, President Obama is sponsoring another egregious trade bill called the Trans-Pacific Partnership even though America is losing over 20+ manufacturing facilities per day to existing trade agreements. Since this new trade agreement is being negotiated in secret by corporate insiders for the benefit of global corporations, you can rest assure that the unlevel global playing field will be further tilted to disadvantage the working class and family farmer for the sake of profits generated by global corporations that pay no taxes.
America’s working class, family farmer and small business community are being manipulated, robbed and interned into a corporate economic order by a well crafted, deeply embedded and systemic political system saturated with corruption that no one seems to know what to do about other than take what is being handed out to them.
One thing is for certain, Democrats, Republicans, Red states, Blue states and the Supreme Court are marching in lock step with the demands of multi-national corporations whose unearned and untaxed profits are flowing to the balance sheets of your favorite politicians as well as their campaign coffers. Make no mistake about it, multi-national corporations now rule America exposing the corrupt economic policies and moral decay of both the Democratic and Republican Parties.