Why Politics As Usual Will Always Be Politics As Usualby Doug Mataconis
Even in a political climate where everyone agrees that change needs to be made, that change never happens:
WASHINGTON, July 25 â€” For the many critics of farm subsidies, including President Bush and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, this seemed like the ideal year for Congress to tackle the federal payments long criticized as enriching big farm interests, violating trade agreements and neglecting small family farms.
Many crop prices are at or near record highs. Concern over the countryâ€™s dependence on foreign oil has sent demand for corn-based ethanol soaring. European wheat fields have been battered by too much rain. And market analysts are projecting continued boom years for American farmers into the foreseeable future.
But as the latest farm bill heads to the House floor on Thursday, farm-state lawmakers seem likely to prevail in keeping the old subsidies largely in place, drawing a veto threat on Wednesday from the White House.
â€œThe bill put forth by the committee misses a major opportunity,â€ Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said Wednesday. â€œThe time really is right for reform in farm policy.â€
Faced with fierce opposition from the House Agriculture Committee, Ms. Pelosi and other Democratic leaders lowered their sights and are now backing the committeeâ€™s bill, in part to protect rural freshmen lawmakers who may be vulnerable in the 2008 elections.
Things like this aren’t the fault of Republicans or Democrats, they are the natural outgrowth of the political system that we live in today. To a large degree, the United States Government exists as a massive conduit for the transfer of wealth from one sector of the economy to the other. In this case, the so-called impoverished family farmer has convinced politicians, largely through the exercise of political power and the power of the purse, that your tax money and mine to them.
It makes no economic sense whatsoever, and everyone agrees it’s a bad idea. And yet, it continues, and continues to grow.
This, I am afraid, is the political reality that anyone who truly advocates liberty must deal with. Until the attitude of the general public is changed, any incremental victory that liberty may win will be temporary at best.