July 27, 2010

Abolishing the Department of Agriculture

Amid the controversy surrounding Shirley Sherrod's firing and subsequent rehiring by the Obama Administration, Jacob Hornberger has a good idea: get rid of the Department of Agriculture altogether---"along with all the socialist programs that enable those welfare-state bureaucrats to dole out other people's hard-earned money to farmers."

Where is the morality in forcibly taking some people's money from them and giving it to others? Who's the compassionate saint in this process? The federal bureaucrat? The taxpayer? The IRS agent? Congress? The president? The voters?

Actually, none of the above. When "help" to another person is the result of force or coercion, the entire process is morally delegitimized.

There is nothing moral or economically sound about subsidizing farmers. It is a market disturbing measure that puts unsubsidized farmers at a disadvantage.

Subsidies are defended in the name of "fairness" because farmers, in the United States, are subject to a variety of regulations and red tape which makes it harder for them to compete with farmers from developing countries. But just what's "fair" about impoverishing struggling farmers from other parts of the world in the process?

The answer should not be more government interference in the form of subsidies; the answer is less government. Allow US farmers to produce and trade freely on an international market and everyone will profit.

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