The Cato Institute’s James Bovard in 1995 had thoughts on private versus public monies.
ADM’s finagling in Washington may have cost taxpayers and consumers more than $40 billion since 1980, counting the cost of the sugar program ($3 billion in higher prices each year), the ethanol program, and federal food giveaways and export subsidies. Some of those dubious programs probably would have been enacted even if Andreas had not been foisting cash on every politician in sight, but ADM deserves credit for being a decisive force in enacting and perpetuating many of the federal government’s most abusive policies.
ADM’s political strategy has long been based on the ideas that politicians should control prices and markets and that ADM and Andreas should control politicians. Some commentators may conclude that the ADM experience proves the need for campaign finance reform, but that would be the triumph of hope over experience. Campaign finance laws have been repeatedly revised in recent decades, yet politics does not smell any better.(137) As long as the politicians are shoveling out billions of dollars in handouts, some citizens will find a way to reward politicians for “looking after their interests.”
Besides, at a time when Congress is rightfully moving toward removing millions of able-bodied citizens from welfare rolls, there is no excuse to perpetuate handouts for a company like ADM. If a company can afford endless advertisements on national television, it is safe to conclude that it does not need any help from American taxpayers.
The Supreme Court, in Savings and Loan Association v. Topeka (1875), stated, “To lay with one hand the power of the government on the property of the citizen and with the other to bestow it upon favored individuals to aid private enterprises and build up private fortunes is none the less a robbery because it is done under the forms of law and is called taxation.”(138) Andreas apparently can buy politicians, but that does not mean that ADM has a right to shake down American consumers and taxpayers.
Congress, in the pending farm bill and in legislation to extend the ethanol gasoline fuel tax credit, has an excellent chance to shut down the ADM gravy train. Congress’s action on the ADM agenda will be an appropriate litmus test of the new Republican leadership’s spine. If Congress cannot stand up to ADM, how can they be expected to stand up for American taxpayers and consumers in other, less egregious cases?
Even the WTO GATS pressure will not move this mountain very soon. How do we know who captured whom? And is that a sane way to think? And the Dems passed the Agricultural Bill 2007.