Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Farm Bill & ‘Libertarian Populism’

The Farm Bill & ‘Libertarian Populism’ | The American Conservative - W. James Antle III:

July 15, 2013 - "One step forward, two steps back. The Republican Party is like an alcoholic in recovery, with periods of sobriety punctuated by long, destructive benders as it once again falls off the wagon.

"In June, a critical mass of House conservatives helped vote down a nearly $1 trillion farm bill that merged all the protectionism and cronyism that dominates modern agriculture policy with the worst excesses of the food stamp program....

"So naturally, Republicans followed a moment of clarity by taking a nasty spill off the wagon again.

"Last week, the House passed a farm bill containing all the agribusiness largesse of the one it voted down in June. In fact, the crop insurance program and the sugar subsidies were made permanent. But there was no money for food stamps, combining a fiscal disaster with a political one....

"And yet an alternative does exist. Some call it libertarian or free-market populism: smash the alliance of K Street, Wall Street, and Pennsylvania Avenue. End the incestuous relationship between big government and big business. Close the revolving door and tear down the political privileges that accrue to the wealthy and powerful.

"This is a populism that can largely be pursued within the confines of constitutionally limited government, as it involves ending bailouts and turning off the spigot of federal subsidies that flow to private companies. Instead let a genuine free market with greater equality of opportunity bloom."

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