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Letter to the Editor
Felice Pace, Capitol Press
March 04, 2005

Subsidies hurt family farms

The Feb. 18 edition was chock full of articles about across-the-board cuts in federal crop subsidies proposed by the Bush administration. The Bush budget also proposes a lower dollar limit on the subsidy payments an individual farmer can receive.

The cuts have been universally condemned by members of Congress with farm constituencies as well as by major farm and livestock lobby groups. These are the same “conservative” members of Congress who regularly posture about the evils of socialism when they oppose, for example, a single-payer national health insurance program.

This is clearly hypocritical. The current crop subsidy program was created during the New Deal. It is socialism plain and simple. At the time there was a great debate about whether to subsidize family farms or to link subsidies to crop production. Crop subsidies – supported by bankers and businessmen speculating in wheat and other commodities – won the day. That decision has led to the continual decline of the family farm and to the rise of mega-ag corporations. We now have a system that provides socialism for farm corporations and free-market decline for family farms.

Most farmers will bristle at being labeled “socialists.” But if farmers want to wave the banner of free market capitalism they should be prepared to forgo the socialistic crop subsidy system initiated by Roosevelt’s New Deal.

Felice Pace,
Klamath, Calif.

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