Re: POLITICS: When democracy fails...

From: Steve Davies (
Date: Tue Jul 03 2001 - 12:20:27 MDT

-----Original Message-----
From: James Rogers <>
To: <>
Date: 03 July 2001 01:53
Subject: Re: POLITICS: When democracy fails...

>On 6/30/01 7:31 PM, "Tiberius Gracchus" <> wrote:
>> The farmers got their subsidies many years ago, when there were
>> actually a halfway decent reasons for the subsidies.
>> They keep the subsidies because
>> 1. they live in rural areas and have greater representation per capita
>> in the Senate than do urban areas.
>This isn't true. The largest agricultural states also happen to be some of
>the most populous (e.g. California and Texas), and the number of people in
>rural areas in these states are dwarfed by the number that live in the
>cities. And for many of the largely rural states west of the Rockies,
>mining is more important economically than agriculture anyway. There are
>simply very few states that actually have a substantial fraction of their
>population working in agriculture or that aren't dominated by a large city.
>There might be a couple states in the mid-west that you could legitimately
>characterize this way (North Dakota? Iowa?), but not many, and certainly
>enough to ramrod something through the Senate.
>-James Rogers

I agree the explanation given doesn't work. Farmers are amazingly successful
at screwing taxpayers and consumers all over the developed world. The most
egregious example was here in Britain with BSE where the farmers were bailed
out to the tune of several billion pounds - can you imagine any other
industry where after producing a dangerous product they are compensated by
the taxpayer instead of being sued to hell and back?! Partly it's public
choice, a small minority easy to organise and mobilise versus a disparate
mass of voters, but other groups like this are not as universally successful
as farmers. I think the ultimate reason is the amazingly persistent notion
that farmers are better than other people and somehow the "basis of the
nation" because they work on the land and are closer to nature etc. Perhaps
it goes all the way back to the old republican idea (Cincinnatus and all
that) that a freeholding peasantry is the basis of a virtuous society.
Whatever, it's costing the rest of us. Steve Davies

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