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I am often told that I shouldn’t chime in on subjects based on my lack of experience in said subject. Make’s sense; when one hasn’t had the first-hand experience in a given area of expertise, their ability to contribute meaningful data is compromised. So then it begs the question: Why does Claire McCaskill think she knows the first thing about the Missouri farmer/rancher, what they go through or what they need? Especially when there is a candidate in the Missouri Senate race that is an actual farm boy; Austin Petersen!
To get an idea of what the good Senator from Missouri wants to do to help Missouri farmers, ranchers and others in the agriculture business, I decided to go directly to her page. What I got was a confusing cross section of hypocritical nonsense that I will attempt to sort out here. Bear with me folks, I am not an economist, but the following should concern every Missourian who considers consistency to be an important trait.
Agriculture Subsidies: Senator McCaskill supports ending direct payment subsidies. On her website, she seems to insinuate that this position is out of a desire for fiscal responsibility, but anyone familiar with her voting record knows that spending taxpayer funds responsibly is not something that history will remember the Senator for. (We will get to that in a bit). She says that the Missouri farmers and ranchers she speaks to do not want these subsidies. I question how much of a ‘discussion’ McCaskill has had with anyone in agriculture given they do not represent a huge part of her donors. The truth is, Senator McCaskill doesn’t oppose subsidies (of any kind). She wants to replace direct payment subsidies with something she vaguely calls the ‘farm bill’on her website. Something tells me that this bill is also funded with taxpayer funds.
But she insists she is an advocate for agriculturists and supports fiscal responsibility, so let’s put her to the test. Let us look at her latest efforts with Senator Jeff Flake and the aforementioned “Farm Bill.” What was in this bill that died earlier this year? This is what was in it.
Creating a Permanent Livestock Disaster Relief Assistance Program to help farmers recover from losses after natural disasters: I have a few problems with the very wording of this. First off, I never wish to hear of any government program being permanent, especially in relation to market economics, which changes like the weather here in Vermont. Also, in the event of a devastating natural disaster, where is this money to assist these farmers going to come from? Will we not have to raise taxes on the people that need food following such an event? Disasters do not affect only those in agriculture, and in a time of recovery, I do not want to see a rise in taxes for anyone, least of all those so directly affected.
If Claire grew up on a farm (or even worked on one) she might know that (historically) when farmers fall on tough times, they lean on the neighbors that (also historically) were being fed by said farmer. Of course, this was before the sweet bell peppers you put in your omelet started coming from California or Mexico. They used to go from the sweet old farmer down the road, with those other crops supplementing the local market during cold weather months and less fruitful growing seasons. When the local populace is invested in the local farmer, the local economy wins. As someone from a once profitable farm state, I can tell you that there is a sense of relief in knowing not just where your food comes from, but who it comes from.
Ending Direct Payments in Favor of Crop Insurance Options: Supposedly, this creates a safety net. The problem here is that they are options and that insinuates that some farmers can opt-out? Many will have to if their operation isn’t lucrative enough. And who is offering these insurance options? Is the government starting its own insurance company (without money)? Will insurance companies not be forced (probably against their will) to provide certain policies? And if farmers do not participate, will that not cause the cost of those policies to go up? If we have learned anything from the failure of Obamacare, it’s that forcing people to pay for things does not work. (And it’s immoral as fuck!)
Saving $8 billion in the SNAP (food stamps) Program: Let us just forget that the amount given is often only enough to get the most basic, carb-laden, empty calorie shit-food. (I grew up on this program), once one takes a look at how much spending goes up in other areas of support for Senator McCaskill, one quickly realizes this is just a blue-vote grab based on the virtue that she (and Democrats) wants to help poor people. (The implication being that Republicans do not want to help).
But if Democrat policies actually lifted the poor out of poverty, by now we wouldn’t have any poor people… would we?
Full Funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes Program: This is a program that (according to the senator’s website) “provides funding for vital services in Missouri communities containing federal land.” Given what I’ve seen the federal government do to western ranchers in regards to grazing permits on federal land, I have to ask again (like I have many times) why is this land not simply opened up for private use? Is this land we could graze bigger herds on? Grow bigger crops for AMERICANS on? (As opposed to shipping it overseas and then living on foreign meat and produce.) Of course, the argument from conservationists will be that we need to protect this land for animals and the hunters that supplement their food stores with game meat. I agree, and with the fact that farming and ranching will never make most people rich, private ownership of this land could be turned into the same lucrative guest hunting operations that guest ranches in the west have utilized for some time. Pouring tax money from overtaxed Missourians into maintaining federal land isn’t fiscally responsible, it’s intellectually dishonest.
Let us not forget that she supported modernizing a nuclear weapons arsenal that is already the best in the world. Over a 30 year span, this modernization could cost over $40 billion a year. I am pretty sure that eclipses any supposed savings she is trying to get Missouri or it’s agricultural working class.
If she really wanted to help the Missouri farmer, she would push to end the Agriculture subsidy program altogether and force the biggest farms in Missouri (who are the top recipients of said subsidies) to actually compete. Currently, they have no need. If they are not profitable, the subsidy will carry them through. This hurts the small, family operations because the bigger farms never have to worry about failure. They can now offer their product at such a low price (via stolen money) that the farmer who stole none of your money, can’t possibly compete. That is the essence of crony-capitalism if you ask me… but then again, McCaskill supported one of the biggest crony-capitalists ever – Hillary Clinton!
President Calvin Coolidge tried to stop the agriculture subsidy program. Having grown up on a farm here in Vermont, he knew the reality was that farms would always struggle. And that is a reality to be faced head-on and why we should embrace a tariff-free food market. As China’s soybean stash gets low, they buy from us (including many soybean farms in Missouri). That is a stable agriculture market.
So why doesn’t Claire McCaskill understand this? Because she has never worked on a farm a day in her life (at least as far as I can find online). With the exception of a few years spent in a law firm after graduating law school, she has worked in the public sector her entire life. She hasn’t tilled the soil that was worked by her father and grandfather before her. She has no emotional investment in Missouri farms. (I’ve seen no evidence Josh Hawley knows the pain and pride of the American farmer either.)
But there is a man who does know that feeling; Austin Petersen!
Austin Petersen grew up on a family farm in Missouri and understands that true fiscal responsibility lies in getting the government out of the farmer and ranchers way so that they can work their land without ten trips a day to city hall for fifty unneeded permits. Austin Petersen knows that the farmer that has no hope of government bailout cannot afford to abuse his land, and therefore has no need of the restrictions the left feel are needed to protect the environment.
One thing is for sure, Missourian farmers and ranchers have a choice… one of your own who knows your pain and suffering, or an outsider who was busing being homecoming queen while her brethren worked the land so people could eat.
Your choice, Missouri.