US Farmers Are Food Manufacturers - and We Need Policies that Keep Them Here
Let’s Not Outsource Their Gigs Too
As we have very often pointed out, the US spent the last half century-plus very stupidly outsourcing our prosperity to the rest of the planet.
This has been devastating to the middle class. A vital, once-thriving driver of our once very successful nation - we have spent decades thinning this essential herd to near extinction.
The chart lines run all-but-parallel: As we decimated our middle class - we decimated our economy.
A fundamental component of this inanity - was outsourcing our manufacturing. Over decades, this represented hundreds of millions of middle class jobs - packed up and sent away.
The Rust Belt - wasn’t always rusty. It was once the thumping heart of a robust US economic engine.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal of massive government expansion didn’t end the Great Depression - it exacerbated and elongated it.
It wasn’t paying for parks and artworks that restored prosperity. It was modernizing and maximizing our manufacturing that did.
Hideki Tojo’s Japan bombing Pearl Harbor - ended the Great Depression. We ramped up our domestic manufacturing of everything needed for the Second World War - and set ourselves up for the glorious Dwight Eisenhower 1950s.
We couldn’t have won the War - or restored our moribund economy - if we had in the half century prior outsourced our manufacturing to Chairman Mao’s Communist China.
Imagine trying to fight in Europe and the Pacific - while awaiting delivery of our guns, tanks and planes…from the other side of the planet. Delivered in ships - subject to half-a-world’s worth of open water attacks from our enemies. The very worst supply lines - in the history of warfare.
Imagine the massive amounts of money it took to win the War - not being spent in America. We would have spent the War - setting up Communist China to dominate the latter half of the Twentieth Century. Which would have been additionally fantastic news - what with our looming half-century Cold War with Communist Russia.
God bless President Donald Trump - who has prioritized bringing back American manufacturing. Thank God - it is working.
Of course, before we can manufacture anything - we have to eat. Food (and water) - trump everything else.
And farmers - are manufacturers of food. Maintaining and protecting domestic food manufacturing - is more important than…everything else.
The US Department of Agriculture recently released its Census of Agriculture:
“(A) complete count of U.S. farms and ranches and the people who operate them. Even small plots of land - whether rural or urban - growing fruit, vegetables or some food animals count if $1,000 or more of such products were raised and sold, or normally would have been sold, during the Census year.
“The Census of Agriculture, taken only once every five years, looks at land use and ownership, operator characteristics, production practices, income and expenditures….
“The Census of Agriculture provides the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data for every county in the nation.”
How our food manufacturing sector is doing - is something you want to keep a good eye on.
And lately - it’s been more than a little extra tight.
“Historic, widespread flooding will continue through May, NOAA says.
“These are especially cruel times for Nebraska and Iowa farmers who had to scrape money to keep going just eight years ago, when floods overtook their lands in 2011.
“‘I would say 50% of the farmers in our area will not recover from this,’ Dustin Sheldon, a farmer in southwestern Iowa's flood-devastated Fremont County near the swollen Missouri River, said this week.”
These floods are an act of God. About which we mere humans can do nothing - in advance. But we can do something in response - and we absolutely should.
Because domestic food manufacturing - is a national security imperative. Our supply lines should be as short as possible. Our food supply lines - should be the shortest of all.
We can not alter acts of God. We can alter terrible government policy.
The traditional conservative/less government movement - has spent a ton of time and effort, air and ink trying to end the US government’s relatively infinitesimal farm programs. Their efforts - are decidedly misguided. Well…mis-aimed.
As on all things global trade - we import foreign government subsidies that are orders of magnitude larger than ours. Which is inordinately stupid - because it is devastating to our domestic manufacturers.
Take sugar. Which ain’t just in your coffee and on your cereal - it’s in just about everything. Food is a staple - and sugar is a food staple.
In the name of the free market, conservatives have for decades been freaked-the-heck-out about our TINY sugar program.
Public Interest Groups Oppose Sugar Subsidies - Competitive Enterprise Institute
Top Five Reasons to End U.S. Sugar Subsidies - Americans for Tax Reform
You know what these well-intended groups - never, ever mention?
“Brazil’s government gives its sugar industry every year more than $2.5 billion in cash infusions and other favors. That’s a lot.
“Think that leads to a free global market? Of course not.
“Brazil’s massive subsidies have warped the world market into a Brazil-dominated unequal nightmare mess: ‘Brazil currently controls, roughly, 50 percent of global sugar exports. To put that into perspective, Saudi Arabia controls about 19 percent of the crude oil exports….’”
Brazil dominates the global market - because their government cheats. Billions and billions of dollars per year - in cheating.
Which is decidedly unfair to our domestic manufacturers. Who I am quite sure would like a fair shot at some of the 50% market share Brazil has unfairly grabbed.
Instead, we have allowed Brazil to continue its massive unfairness.
And even worse and stupider - we have imported Brazil’s massive unfairness.
Which has been dramatically damaging to our domestic manufacturers. Who have had to compete - even in their own domestic market - against Brazil’s massively subsidized product.
This ain’t a free market. This ain’t free trade. It ain’t fair trade. It is suicide trade.
We have engaged in this stupidity for decades - on just about every farm product produced. And various governments the world over - subsidize to excess just about every farm product produced.
And then we blankly stare - and wonder why our farmers are struggling.
And then we go back to demanding we end the US’s TINY farm program.
Tell you what: We’ll end ours - when they end theirs.
And in the interest of proportionality and best time allotment - let’s expend our effort on the government programs requiring the most reform.
Which are - by orders of magnitude - theirs. Not ours.
This first appeared in Red State.