It No Longer Pays to Farm
Every year the United States federal government gives billions of dollars to American farmers not to farm certain crops or not to farm at all. According to the Washington Post, these payments now account for nearly half of the nation's expanding Agricultural Subsidy system. The A.S. system is a complex fabric that has evolved into a system with almost no basis on merit, fairness and efficiency. In many cases subsidies are handed to the owner of a property because his or her land was once used as farmland and is currently not being used at all.
Farming subsidies were implemented in 1936 by President Roosevelt's administration as a way to prop up the failing American farming industry, an industry that was almost dead because of the Dust Bowl and mass bank foreclosures of the Great Depression. The A.S. system has now turned into a big government infrastructure full of entitlements. In the past decade, these programs have cost the American taxpayers a whopping $172 billion alone.
In our current downturn economy where the government is giving billions of dollars to failing companies, farmers and landowners are still receiving funds for not raising crops. The reasoning behind paying subsidies to farmers to farm it protects U.S. farmers.
The reason behind the creation of artificial shortages is to protect the market prices of crops. The idea of the farming subsidiaries system is to counter balance the free market system in which there is an over abundance of certain crops like wheat, tomatoes and spinach.
President Hoover was the first president to counteract the overabundance of crops and farm animals. The Hoover administration's solution was to cease producing all the crops and farm animals and destroy them. This policy backfired with the public because much of the country was unemployed and starving, so the thought of wasting food was outrageous to average Americans on the street.
The rise of Franklin Delano Roosevelt to the United States presidency is began an era of social programs, which he called the "New Deal." Part of the New Deal was farm subsidies. As Hoover had tried before, Roosevelt began to buy crops and livestock. Unlike Hoover, Roosevelt's program went over well, even though it was pretty much the same one as Hoover's.
Since the era of Roosevelt, subsidies have exploded both domestically and on the internationally scene. According the Alabama Farmers Association, "the European Union spends more than $100 billion on farm supports payments, while the United States spends only $44 billion, despite the fact that the U.S. farm economy is considerably larger. While Europe and countries outside the continent continue to subsidise their farmers, the U.S. is continuing subsidies to stay competitive and to keep food costs down.