By Matt Bogard
Remember this scene from the Austin Powers movie?
Could this be a parity of our political leaders' discussion of budget cuts and tackling the deficit?
This especially reminds me of the political posturing we get from the right and the left discussing cuts to farm subsidies. Cutting the entire farm program budget amounts to less than 1/2 of 1 % of total government spending. Given the problems with medicare and social security, it seems like an incredibly irresponsible waste of time and resources to focus on these issues now. That's what the long drawn out farm bill discussions are for. Some groups like the EWG have spent a lot of resources tracking farm subsidy data. Why? I guarantee it is not a fiscally minded agenda. They are more concerned with politically correct agriculture than sustainable farms or government, and I guarantee if subsidies were increased and redirected to organic and local backyard production, the EWG data base would probably go away while the deficit grows and the check is in the mail for wealthy special interests.
As a free market oriented economist, I'm not the greatest fan of subsidies and government intervention. (although many of the negative claims made about subsidies such as impacting food prices, obesity, environmnetal consequences don't hold up to the data). Regardless of your opinion about about cutting farm subsidies, they do not belong in the context of a serious conversation about deficit reduction.