BY SHARON MARTIN
Last week, the Senate voted to end certain subsidies for farmers with an adjusted gross income of $1 million. Any cooperation between the parties is appreciated, but what will passage of this bill change? Not much.
Lawmakers, with the help of lobbyists and other interested parties, have proposed a new law that only provides subsidies in case of falling prices or other revenue drops.
This insurance program may cost as much as the direct subsidies they are replacing, but it won’t be as politically unpopular.
It’s all in understanding the numbers … and psychology. Health insurance for all: unpopular. Price insurance for farmers: acceptable.
Of course we must support the farmers who feed us. We do so by buying from local farmers at honest, unsubsidized prices rather than by guaranteeing them an income. Farmers insure their incomes by raising a variety of crops and more than one variety of a single crop. Sustainable practices, not farm subsidies, will insure that farmers survive.
Crops that can be raised locally should be bought locally. This, too, will help farmers. We don’t need broccoli from China, and if you think this is a joke, check the label on that frozen broccoli in your freezer.
Buying local is a better use for your money than farm subsidies, and you, not the government, choose who gets your dollars.
There are things our tax dollars should pay for to lessen the burden on all families and businesses.
We need guaranteed education [for students who take their education seriously] so graduates aren’t saddled with mountains of debt while they look for jobs. We need guaranteed health care. Imagine the burden this would lift from business owners who offer insurance benefits to their employees. Would it require more tax dollars? Possibly. Or it might just require a retooling of what we spend our tax dollars on.
It’s all about the math. If you don’t understand it, there are those who do who will take advantage. Don’t let the proposed new farm bill fool you.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer