National Review Contributor Blasts Freedom to Farm

Mark Thoma brought our attention to this WaPo story:

Even though Donald R. Matthews put his sprawling new residence in the heart of rice country, he is no farmer. He is a 67-year-old asphalt contractor who wanted to build a dream house for his wife of 40 years.Yet under a federal agriculture program approved by Congress, his 18-acre suburban lot receives about $1,300 in annual “direct payments,” because years ago the land was used to grow rice.

Credit goes to Stephen Spruiell for this:

Just to put this in perspective, the non-farming sectors of the U.S. economy make up between 80 to 90 percent of the GDP. Yet through its actions, the U.S. government is saying that it is willing to forgo new market openings for its most productive sectors so that wealthy landowners can continue to receive lots of money not to farm.

The WaPo story notes that these farm subsidies cost the Federal government $25 billion in 2005. I realize that reducing $25 billion per year is just a drop in the bucket as far as addressing our current Federal fiscal fiasco – but liberals and conservatives seem to be in consensus that these subsidies should be eliminated.