Good Time to End Farm Subsidies

The Wall Street Journal reports that the agricultural sector is recovering nicely from the recent recession while the rest of the private sector continues to struggle. The counter-cyclical nature of some farm subsidy programs means that the taxpayer bill for the year could be cut in half to only about $12 billion.

From the article:

For many crops, prices are climbing even as big harvests pile up, a rare combination. Farmland values are up while those for some other kinds of real estate languish. Debt on the farm is manageable. Incomes are rising.

And trade, of which many Americans are growing wary, is for agriculture a boon. Asia’s economic vigor and appetites make the farm sector’s reliance on exports—once thought a vulnerability in some quarters—a plus today.

“The farm economy is coming out of the recession far faster than the general economy,” said Don Carson, a senior analyst.

The WSJ article also notes that farmers will still receive direct payments of about $5 billion for basically just being farmers. This subsidy is particularly insulting to taxpayers as the program was created in 1996 to help wean farmers off of subsidies. Instead, these “temporary” payments were turned into a permanent hand-out in 2002.

Better news for taxpayers would be the abolition of farm subsidies. While they obviously remain popular with the beneficiaries and their patrons in Washington, the general public seems to be increasingly aware that the subsidies amount to little more than legalized theft.

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Obama and Infrastructure

The President is continuing his push for the federal government to go deeper into debt in order to fund infrastructure projects. While nobody disputes that the country has infrastructure needs, the precarious nature of federal and state finances indicate that policymakers need to starting thinking outside the box. Specifically, policymakers should be looking to make it easier for the private sector to fund and operate infrastructure projects.

As my colleagues Chris Edwards and Peter Van Doren have explained, the main problem with government infrastructure spending is the lack of efficiency:

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Where Living Constitutionalism Will Take Us

The funny thing about the left is that they say they hate religion and believe they are anything but religious. They seem damn proud of the fact that they are not and look down on all Christians but if you study the progressive idea of a living constitution you will see that progressives are very spiritual people. The progressives introduced the idea that the constitution (the supreme authority of the nation) changes with the SPIRIT of the times and they literally believed that there was a collective spirit at work in society. This spirit perfected the collective body (which they also saw as a single organism) very slowly over time and in order to allow this spirit to do its work a static ‘rulebook’ would not do. We had to have a dynamically changing rulebook that adjusted to that spirit at any moment in time which is why the progressives had to have a constitution that had to adjust to the spirit of the times.

The spirit they were referring to was the spirit of the collective body of the nation and the body could not evolve if supreme authority was stuck in a previous age. Once this spirit was allowed to function the people will be perfected at the end of history by that spirit’s will. This is why progressives call themselves progressives because they see themselves as progressing to this endpoint.

This comes out of the Hegelian (where Marx comes out of) political philosophy where they believed the mighty Roman Empire died because people lost their civic spirit which allowed it to whither. I believe that Hegel written this in Philosophy of Right in which he used this historic incident to explain why it and all other societies died off. When the people lost their civic spirit the society was endangered of losing its cohesion and falling apart just like the mighty Roman Empire did.

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Worried About Anarcho-Capitalism

Famed liberal journo Joe Conason is worried about the increasing influence of Rothbardian “anarcho-capitalism” and the related “Austrian school of economics.” As well he should be. It is these radical ideas–undistorted by the journos–that enthrall the young, and indeed any thinking person. We all know there is something desperately wrong–morally and economically–with the US empire and its police state, welfare state, and banksterism. We are, after all, living in yet another Federal Reserve depression. The average family’s income has not increased in real terms since the 1970s, the first decade of full Fed power. The state and its related corporations are enriching themselves by making us poorer.

“The Austrian craze is particularly curious because it has displaced a school of economics that ought to be more appealing to the proud and patriotic, especially those who claim to be true to the views of the nation’s founders. That would be the school known as ‘the American system’…[a]s articulated by thinkers from Alexander Hamilton to Henry Clay to Abraham Lincoln….” Very funny. Why can’t you people just be government-loving, trade-warring, state-building mercantilists? Then journos could praise you.

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NY Times Alarmed: Tea Party Reading Unapproved Texts

Thanks to Bud Bronstein for this piece by Kate Zernike from the NY Times, “Movement of the Moment Looks to Long-Ago Texts.” Catch the ideological presentism. Instead of just reading the latest approved tomes and today’s issue of the Times, people are learning from “obscure” old books by dead people.

The Tea Party “has resurrected once-obscure texts by dead writers — in some cases elevating them to best-seller status — to form a kind of Tea Party canon. Recommended by Tea Party icons like Ron Paul and Glenn Beck, the texts are being quoted everywhere from protest signs to Republican Party platforms.” The idea of a movement animated by ideas rather than leaders is just right. BastiatHayek, and Mises are magnificent, and also just what one would expect from a movement born in Ron Paulism.

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The Battle for the Future!

Writes Gary Johnson: “Here is a clip of my segment from John Stossel’s documentary “The Battle for the Future” on opposing Big Government that aired this past weekend.” Gary Johnson will be a featured speaker at Nullify Now! Orlando and Nullify Now! Phoenix. Get tickets online – http://www.nullifynow.com/tickets/ – or by calling 888.71.TICKETS “Man is…

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The Tenth Amendment Coalition

I’m not sure how you can have a Tenth Amendment web site without linking to the Tenth Amendment Center, but there it is.  The videos are interesting, anyway.  A couple Beltway insiders talking about the Tenth Amendment.

http://restorethetenth.org/

Part 1

Part 2

cross-posted from the Pennsylvania Tenth Amendment Center

The GOP’s Pledge to America

The House Republicans’ release of its “Pledge to America” has been met with criticism from across the ideological spectrum. While excoriation from the left was inevitable, those who were hoping that the GOP would set out a detailed agenda for limiting government were also not satisfied.

The 48-page document contains more pictures of Republican members of Congress than it does evidence that the GOP is seriously prepared to cut spending. While the introductory commentary is designed to appeal to the tea party movement, the actual “plan” to return budgetary sanity to Washington is both timid and incomplete.

The following are some thoughts on the pledge’s “plan to stop out of control spending and reduce the size of government”:

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Have we reached a Hamiltonian Endpoint?

In the field of Economics there is a term commonly used to express the sheer hopelessness of our current predicament, it’s “Keynesian Endpoint.”  Supposedly, this is the point where our society is so deeply in debt that any amount of further borrowing to “stimulate” only causes counter-stimulative effects.  That is, borrowing 50 billion more to…

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Why Not!

These are the first words that a two year old tells their parents and is the beginning of that person asserting their authority over themselves. The parent then stunts that first ideas of free-will that child might have by saying something akin to ‘don’t talk back to me’. This naturally stops the child from asking any questions over the parent’s decisions and authority over the child. The child then continues to obey until they reach a much older age of the teenage years and the question of ‘why not’ begins to be heard more loudly than before and eventually the child gains equal authority with their parents when they reach adulthood.

What if that child never asked ‘why not’? That child would then grow up to be obedient to there parent’s will and to the will of anyone else since they never ask ‘why not’ to anyone. The right to question others is not only beneficial to obtaining truth but also in establishing equality between two people because the decision someone makes for someone else must pass mustard which can only happen people ask why.

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