“RINOS Play FarmVille”
Katie Kieffer, Townhall:
Renowned economist Henry Hazlitt writes in Economics in One Lesson: “The most frequent [economic] fallacy by far today … is to concentrate on the short-run effects of policies on special groups and to ignore or belittle the long-run effects on the community as a whole.” He continues: “In the eyes of most congressmen the farmers simply cannot get enough credit.” But this ends up hurting the society as a whole because the government’s lenders have looser standards than private lenders (who either lend with their own money or are accountable to clients).
Whether a farmer is qualified to farm or not is irrelevant to a government lender. Because bad farmers and unnecessary crops have a nearly equal chance of getting funding as good farmers and marketable crops, taxpayers will not fully capitalize on their investment. Hazlitt explains: “…the recipients of government credit will get their farms and tractors at the expense of those who otherwise would have been the recipients of private credit. Because B has a farm, A will be deprived of a farm.”
Politicians can blame the weather for drought. But they cannot blame the weather for government mandates that led farmers to overplant corn this spring for ethanol production, which monopolizes 40 percent of America’s corn yield.
Miles of useless corn fields are boosting the price of corn (almost 23 percent). Restaurateurs, consumers and livestock farmers will suffer while the many of the farmers who planted the corn have subsidized insurance and, so, despite overplanting, will not feel pain.
As Hazlitt points out, politicians who pass farm subsidies tend to overlook the fact that by helping one group (such as corn farmers) they hurt other groups like hog and cattle ranchers. Today, many livestock producers are unable to afford feed and are desperately selling their animals.
Republicans like Sen. Roy D. Blunt (MO), Sen. Pat Roberts (KS), Sen. Susan Collins (ME), Rep. Tom Latham (IA), Rep. Tom Cole (OK), Rep. Frank D. Lucas (OK) and House Speaker John Boehner (OH) have run to the people and the press with their reasons for why the taxpayers must bail out farmers.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell lauded a five-year farm bill that the Senate passed in June (which allocates a half-trillion-dollars to food stamp programs and subsidies for select crops like sugar) as: “one of the finest moments in the Senate in recent times in terms of how you pass a bill.”
If Republicans are now the party of just getting things done, we may as well hire a group of third graders to run Washington. Because getting something done is not synonymous with accomplishment.
Most economists predict that we will notice increases in food prices by next year. When people cannot afford food, their natural instincts kick in and social norms fly out the window. Chaos and depravity surge as starving men, women and children compete against their friends and neighbors for limited resources.
TIME Magazinewarns: “A reduction in the American harvest translates to higher prices overseas. Global food prices have slowly but steadily increased since 2004, with sharp spikes in 2007 and 2010. It’s likely not a coincidence that social unrest in places like Latin America and the Middle East followed those spikes.”
Americans are not yet rioting in the streets. But they are abandoning or selling their animals. And food prices are just beginning to rise.
Many Republicans need to pull the plug on their FarmVille accounts and open a copy of Economics in One Lesson. For, if Republicans do not lead us on fiscal policy, who will?
Oh, Katie. You had me right up there until the end.
The answer, of course, is some collection of classical liberals / libertarians / constitutional conservatives — that is, if the are permitted to lead on fiscal policy. Which of course they are not, because for Republicans, winning elections and holding power justify all the compromises they make in order to win those elections and secure that power. Which wouldn’t be a problem if, say, the compromises came from their side, ideologically speaking — that is, if they began to behave like principled constitutionalists rather than pandering vote whores in order to woo voters and win elections; but that is never the case, and the price of having Republicans in power is routinely cast as compromising if not surrendering the very conservative principle upon which our party support is supposedly based.
Because after all, what are you gonna do? Vote for Obama? Or maybe not vote at all — which is, as well all know, a vote for Obama?
Unless and until we challenge the way the GOP demands our loyalty — which seems curiously always to come down to our willingness to move left for them, in an ostensible move to garner the “moderate” or “independent” vote — why on earth would we anticipate their making a change to the status quo?
After all, they are political pragmatists. Realists. Not “purists” or “True Believers.” Meaning, if getting themselves into power without having to sacrifice ruling class status or engage in anything more than showy and superficial rollbacks of state power — throw us some lower taxes, reform some programs around the edges to make them more “efficient,” temporarily defund Planned Parenthood until Dems take back power and refund it – that’s precisely what will happen.
There’s always a reason to keep the government subsidies going. And I most certainly wouldn’t expect any member of the ruling elite to lead on fiscal policy, regardless of party. And that’s because we rarely demand it in a way that lets them know that we will not take no for an answer — and even when we do, as in 2010, every effort is made to squelch the influence political outsiders try to bring to bear on a system so focused on DC maneuvering that it has lost touch with its very reason for being.