Farm Subsidies Are Wrong, Regardless of Recipients’ Wealth

UPI reports one of the bizarre aspects of U.S. farm policy:

Fifty billionaires on the Forbes list of the U.S. richest have received $11.3 million in federal farm subsidies [between 1995 and 2012], the Environmental Working Group [EWG] said Thursday.

Recipients of the subsidies include Paul Allen (cofounder of Microsoft), Charles Schwab, and Charlges Ergen (cofounder of DISH Newtwork).

EWG’s Alex Rindler told UPI, “Farm programs that benefit billionaires are indefensible and irresponsible.” EWG instead wants government to “assist beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers” in part through “crop insurance, credit, loan and grant programs.” In other words, EWG wants subsidies for the poor, not the rich.

Rindler is right that subsidies for the wealthy are indefensible. But so are subsidies for everyone else. Individuals have a moral right to decide how to use their wealth, and government has no right to confiscate people’s wealth in order to subsidize others, whether the recipient is rich or poor, a farmer or a Wall Street executive.

Government’s sole legitimate role—including with respect to agriculture—is to protect people’s rights, including their property rights and rights to contract. Government should not modify its subsidy programs for farmers but end them.

Like this post? Join our mailing list to receive our weekly digest. And for in-depth commentary from an Objectivist perspective, subscribe to our quarterly journal, The Objective Standard.



Return to Top

Comments submitted to TOS are moderated and checked periodically. Commenters must use their real names, and comments may not exceed 400 words. For a comment to be approved, it must be civil, substantive, and on topic. Ad hominem attacks, arguments from intimidation, misrepresentations, unsubstantiated accusations, baseless assertions, and comments that ignore relevant points made in the article are not permitted. Comments that violate these rules will not be approved. Thank you for helping us to keep the discussion intellectually profitable.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply