The entire world is talking about the debt ceiling crisis right now. As of Saturday, July 30th, Speaker Boehner’s plan that has passed the house has been rejected in the senate and Minority Leader Harry Reid is poised to put his bill through to avoid a default.
The Boehner versus Reid bills are actually very similar in the programs that they are looking to target. They both want to cut necessary programs like social security and take a really hard hit at funding for higher education, but one of the key difference in the Reid bill that makes it so attractive is that it aims at reducing agriculture subsidies to the tune of $11.1 billion over the next decade according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Many proponents of a healthier society have been screaming for congress to cut agricultural subsidies as they do nothing more than to pay out for commodity crops that we don’t need. These crops are usually corn that is not for eating directly, but that is made into sugar and preservatives that support a lower price on junk food, or worse, fed—unnaturally—to cows to make the cost of meat cheaper. This all has lead to a boondoggle and obesity. This is finally an opportunity to make real cuts in government programs that most people do not support.
Don’t be fooled by those that will tell you that we’re hurting hardworking Americans. The truth of the matter is that these commodity subsidizations have driven down the price of corn down so heavily that they have forced out the small farmer to the point where only large industrial farms are able to be profitable. The only reason why this hasn’t been brought to the attention of congress sooner is because the industrial farms rely on genetically modified (GMO) seeds, as well as pesticides like Round UP to create such abnormally large scale operation. The company Monsanto that makes both the seeds and the chemicals that farmers spray their fields with have super deep pockets to buy lobbyists that would continue to keep these government hand outs moving. And as if that wasn’t enough, they make it a common practice to have their former and future employees working in the FDA, USDA and even the supreme court to ensure that they may continue operations unhindered.
These subsidies in no way benefit local farmers, in fact, any of the farmers that you see at one of DC’s local farmers’ markets, do not receive a penny from the government. Equally, it does nothing to advance organic farming and, contrary to popular rumors, will not help to save the world.
Reid’s plan does make tough cuts and unfortunately no longer includes tax hikes for those two percent of super-rich Americans, but at least it takes a shot at reducing agricultural subsidies and should therefore be supported. It’s not too late, call your representative and let them know that you support Reid’s plan. Don’t know who your representative is? Visit house.gov to find out.