In The Silver Lining in the Drought, an NYT op-ed contributor considers the potential benefits of limiting subsidies to corn farmers. I consider the necessary consequences of giving subsidies to anyone.
In “The Silver Lining in the Drought”, the author identifies the federal farm subsidy program as “The No. 1 culprit behind our overreliance on corn”, but does not explain exactly what is wrong with it: it is both categorically immoral and grossly impractical.
To provide farm subsidies, the government collects money from taxpayers, thereby violating their right to act exclusively upon their own judgment with regards to what they put in their bodies.
Economically, the primary issue is that subsidies are given without regard for the long-term consequences for society in general. Government-induced overreliance on corn adversely affects our health and our wallets alike. People buying the cheapest food available fill up on high fructose corn syrup. Grocery stores shelve subsidized products to the exclusion of organic, non-subsidized products. Small-town farmers are effectively forced to compete with the government.
The existence of subsidies – not the logistics – should be reevaluated.
For more on individual rights, check out these posts from The Objective Standard.
For more on bad economics, read Henry Hazlitt’s Economics in One Lesson.