Battlepanda: In which I agree with Jonah Goldberg


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Monday, August 07, 2006

In which I agree with Jonah Goldberg

Yes, seriously:
There are few issues for which the political consensus is so distant from both common sense and expert opinion. Right-wing economists, left-wing environmentalists and almost anybody in-between who doesn't receive a check from the Department of Agriculture or depend on a political donation from said recipients understand that Americans are spending billions to prop up the last of the horse-and-buggy industries.

At this nation's founding, nearly nine out of 10 workers were employed in agriculture. By 1900 that fell to fewer than four in 10. Today, fewer than one in every 100 workers is in agriculture, and less than 1% of gross domestic product is attributable to agriculture. Yet this country spends billions upon billions of dollars subsidizing a system that makes almost everyone in the world worse off.

Our system is so complicated — i.e. rigged — that it's almost impossible to know how much agricultural subsidies cost U.S. taxpayers. But we know from the Washington Post's recent reporting that since 2000 the U.S. government paid out $1.3 billion to "farmers" who don't farm. They were simply "compensated" for owning land previously used for farming. A Houston surgeon received nearly $500,000 to alleviate his hardship. Cash payments have cost $172 billion over the last decade, and $25 billion in 2005 alone, nearly 50% more than what was paid to families receiving welfare.
I have nothing to add except for the inevitable blogispheric "indeed."