Thursday, April 24, 2008

"My Country, 'Tis of Thee...

Originally uploaded by peter pearson
...sweet land of subsidy," to finish the quote according to Doonesbury. I read today in the Times that the House voted to raise the level of current farm subsidies, in spite of the record profits for most "farmers" (and let's be clear here: we're talking about agribusiness, not people like my grandparents who had a dozen or so acres and a few head of cattle in southwestern Missouri) and dramatic rises of global food prices. The article says that The White House is opposed to the bill—which would ordinarily make me think there may be something to the thing after all—but actually, the Administration just wants to maintain the current subsidies ($400,000 over 5 years instead of $600,000—who says Bush doesn't care about "ordinary folks" like us?).

I know that subsidies are often necessary, that this year's record profits could be wiped out next year, and that the small farmers especially need these subsidies in order to remain viable in the world of enormous corporate farms. But there are so few fields besides agribusiness that enjoy this kind of financial support, I think it's time we start phasing them out—as they've done with tobacco. Of course, I would start at the top, with the biggest businesses (surprised?), but we all know that the Gutless Wonders in Congress will never do that.

And don't get me started on the ethanol boondoggle!

There's a lot more detail on this story at the Environmental Working Group, a great resource for all kinds of information on the environment and health; the actual numbers in this press release are astounding.

No comments: