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Nowrasteh Letter in the St. Louis Dispatch
January 13, 2008
Regarding "Family farming Ladue" (Jan. 14): U.S. farm subsidies are so corrupt, so distorting and so harmful to poor Americans that they should be discontinued entirely. A 2007 PIPA/Knowledge Networks poll found that most Americans want farm subsidies because they think "the government needs to subsidize farming to make sure there will always be a good supply of food and that the price does not go up and down according to the whims of the market." That is patently absurd. Government subsidies make food more expensive and give preference to politically popular crops and corporations.
Thanks to government subsidies, Americans pay many, many times for food. We pay subsidies to farmers to grow less and when they grow too much. We pay for the storage and transport of the surplus, and we pay to destroy it or send it to Africa. How does that help Americans living paycheck to paycheck?
Complaining that the system is ruined exclusively by "wealthy people who know how to work the system" is wrong. People always will find a way to take advantage of the ludicrous incentives created by government subsidies. The only way to get rid of the waste and corruption is to scrap all subsidies for farmers.