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Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘USDA’

Why Not Eliminate Both Departments? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on August 14, 2019

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/08/laurence-m-vance/why-not-eliminate-both-departments/

By

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced plans to move its Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture out of Washington, D.C., to the Kansas City metropolitan area.

The USDA, established in 1862, “is made up of 29 agencies and offices with nearly 100,000 employees who serve the American people at more than 4,500 locations across the country and abroad.” It provides “leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, rural development, nutrition, and related issues based on public policy, the best available science, and effective management.” Its vision is “to provide economic opportunity through innovation, helping rural America to thrive; to promote agriculture production that better nourishes Americans while also helping feed others throughout the world; and to preserve our Nation’s natural resources through conservation, restored forests, improved watersheds, and healthy private working lands.”

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has announced plans to move the headquarters of its Bureau of Land Management (BLM) out of Washington, D.C., to Grand Junction in western Colorado.

The DOI, established in 1849, “conserves and manages the Nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage for the benefit and enjoyment of the American people, provides scientific and other information about natural resources and natural hazards to address societal challenges and create opportunities for the American people, and honors the Nation’s trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated island communities to help them prosper.” It “manages the Nation’s public lands and minerals, including providing access to more than 480 million acres of public lands, 700 million acres of subsurface minerals, and 1.7 billion acres of the Outer Continental Shelf.” It “is the steward of 20 percent of the Nation’s lands, including national parks, national wildlife refuges, and other public lands; manages resources that supply 30 percent of the Nation’s energy; supplies and manages water in the 17 Western States and supplies 15 percent of the Nation’s hydropower energy.”

I have a better idea. Instead of moving agencies of the USDA and the DOI, why not eliminate both departments?

The existence of the USDA cannot be justified in any way by the Constitution. The Constitution nowhere authorizes the federal government to have anything to do with agriculture, food, farm subsidies, food stamps, loans to farmers, agricultural price supports, food distribution, food inspection, nutrition guidelines, or school breakfast and lunch programs.

Farming is an occupation and a business. It comes with risks and uncertainties just like any other business. There is nothing special about agriculture that necessitates that the federal government be involved in it in any way.

The DOI includes a diverse number of agencies:

  • Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • Bureau of Indian Education
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement
  • National Park Service
  • Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • U.S. Geological Survey

There is no constitutional authority for the federal government to have anything to do with fish and wildlife, minerals and mining, operating parks, or supplying water and power. The main problem is simply that the federal government still owns too much land…

  • 28.6% of Washington
  • 29% of Montana
  • 35.4% of New Mexico
  • 38.7% of Arizona
  • 45.9% of California
  • 53% of Oregon
  • 61.3% of Alaska
  • 61.6% of Idaho
  • 63.1% of Utah
  • 79.6% of Nevada…

Republicans used to talk about eliminating federal departments, agencies, bureaus, commissions, and corporations. But when they gained control of the White House and a majority in the House and Senate they did absolutely nothing to limit the size or scope of government. They actually made things worse with their creation of the monstrous Department of Homeland Security.

The Departments of Agriculture and the Interior don’t need some of their agencies moved, they need to eliminated in their entirety.

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Agriculture Is Only a Tiny Part of America’s Economy — And That’s a Good Thing | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on July 17, 2019

A century later, 3 million were employed on farms, while the USDA employed 105,000 workers. This increase in agency size represents the Federal government’s increasingly regulatory stance in the US economy.

https://mises.org/wire/agriculture-only-tiny-part-americas-economy-%E2%80%94-and-thats-good-thing

For decades, politicians and pundits in political media alike have said that the American farming and ranching industries are vital to our nation and must be protected from “unfair” competition and the threat of going out of business. This belief often materializes in the form of legislative or executive action undertaken by the government.

The federal government has long sought to promote the health of these industries, employing pro-farming policies since the days of FDR’s New Deal. These programs survive to this day, being expanded from their initial scope or their original sentiments reimposed through new acts of Congress. Strangely enough, this bureaucratic expansion occurs despite American agriculture output declining over the course of America’s existence.

Output Declines, Government Grows

Since 1900, the number of American farms in operation has fallen 63 percent. In 1930, agricultural GDP as a share of total GDP sat at a sizeable 7.7 percent — by 2002, agricultural GDP as a share of total GDP was a mere 0.7 percent. This 7 percent decrease signals the adoption of a new role in the world economy by the US.

The US now imports a large percentage of the fresh vegetables and produce it sells — while in 1975 the proportion of fresh fruit sold in the United States that was imported was 23 percent, it reached 51.3 percent in 2016.

ndri1.png

Source: New York Times

Domestic vegetable and fruit producers are being supplanted in the market by producers from countries such as Argentina, Chile, and Mexico. The City University of New York’s Urban Food Policy Institute reports: “…since the NAFTA Trade Agreement in 1994, U.S. consumption of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, limes, berries, avocados and mangos imported from Mexico is way up and still rising.”

Clearly, increased trade is impacting America’s agriculture sector. Surely then, the government’s relationship with the industry must be changing as well. Logic would suggest that the USDA and its subordinate agencies are laying off employees and reducing their size and scope in response to the decline of America’s beloved industry.

In reality, this is not the case. In 1900, 11 million Americans were employed on farms and 2,900 employed by the USDA. A century later, 3 million were employed on farms, while the USDA employed 105,000 workers. This increase in agency size represents the Federal government’s increasingly regulatory stance in the US economy.

Agriculture’s Death is Good News

How could an industry’s death spell prosperity for a nation? While the number of people employed in farming and similar occupations dwindled from 11 million in 1900 to 2.6 million in 2017, employment in STEM (science, technology, engineer, and math) occupations has grown 79 percent between 1990 and 2016 — increasing from 9.7 million to 17.3 million. The US economy is transitioning away from producing in primary and secondary level industries like agriculture and related enterprises such as food processing and packaging.

The reduction in the number of people employed in agriculture and related jobs shows that America is actually abandoning low paying jobs. Compared to STEM jobs, occupations in the primary or secondary sectors of the economy tend to pay a very low wage. Farm hands and field laborers, who are often poor immigrants, are paid below minimum wage to perform tasks that take a significant toll on their bodies. Difficult manual labor poses both short-term and long-term risks to workers’ health, compared to the almost complete lack of health detriments presented by jobs in STEM fields. These agricultural jobs tend also to be seasonal. Workers will only have a secure source of income for between 3 and 6 months per year, depending on where they work, due to the fact that crops cannot be grown year round.

As the economy sheds the last remnants of its agricultural-centric past, new jobs are being created in new industries at a rapid pace. Occupations in the tertiary and quaternary sectors are far more beneficial to society and individuals, as they provide higher wages, a more stable source of income, and employment year round. In a bid to attract workers to fill positions, companies often offer benefits such as childcare and healthcare plans as part of an offer of employment. It is very obvious that we should seek to employ as many people as possible in tertiary and quaternary sector industries.

Primary and secondary products will never lose value. Humans will always have a need to consume agricultural products and build devices and structures from raw materials that are finished through secondary sector activities. As the US economy begins to be largely constructed of tertiary and quaternary economic activities, these lower-level processes will simply be outsourced to less developed countries.

Outsourcing: Oppression or Opportunity?

Since their ideology became a force in the mainstream a decade ago, the rallying cry of political leftists has been to stand for those being oppressed, exploited, or victimized by the status quo. The advancement of technology has meant that industrialization, combined with other factors, has left certain nations behind. Third world economies are not nearly as developed as their first world counterparts, with a bulk of their economic activity taking place in the primary and secondary sectors. These leftists take an anti-trade stance, positing that the outsourcing of production to less developed nations is capitalistic exploitation.

“Exploitation” Actually Benefits All Parties Involved

While it is true that a business owner may outsource simple manufacturing processes to countries where they may hire workers at cheaper wages, it is also true that the workers hired benefit from this self-interested move. The reason workers choose to work in these plants and industries is that they provide the best possible way to make money to the worker. If a corporation goes to a less developed nation and is able to hire 5,000 workers to work for them, it means that the firm is now offering the best employment opportunity in the country to 5,000 workers. Prior to the company’s arrival, laborers were likely making less money than they now do and working in worse conditions. Otherwise, why would they choose to work for the new company? Their condition has obviously been improved by the opening of a plant by a foreign capitalist…

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economics | The Rule of Freedom

 

 

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What Would Happen If Government Didn’t Handle That? – Foundation for Economic Education

Posted by M. C. on July 26, 2018

https://fee.org/articles/what-would-happen-if-government-didn-t-handle-that/

Gary M. Galles

Those who defend liberty are often challenged to supply exhaustive descriptions of what would happen were some aspect of our increasingly government-dictated lives returned to individuals’ voluntary arrangements. What would happen if government didn’t educate our children? If Social Security didn’t provide for retirement? If Medicaid and Medicare didn’t provide health care? If the USDA, FDA, FAA, etc., didn’t ensure our safety? If the EPA didn’t deal with pollution?

Anyone put on the spot with such questions must recognize that they are rhetorical traps. They are used to put an impossible burden of proof on voluntary arrangements, to allow proponents to dodge having to defend against criticisms of coercive policies… Read the rest of this entry »

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Strawberries Still the Dirtiest of the Dirty Dozen

Posted by M. C. on April 26, 2018

Scrubba dub dub or else you will look like this

Gollum

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2018/04/24/strawberries-top-dirty-dozen-produce-list.aspx

By Dr. Mercola

Story at-a-glance

  • EWG analyzed tests from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which revealed close to 70 percent of conventionally grown produce samples contained pesticide residues
  • In all, 230 different pesticides and pesticide breakdown products were identified in more than 38,800 nonorganic samples
  • Strawberries ranked No. 1 in terms of pesticide residues, with up to 22 different pesticides found on a single berry; nearly all of the strawberry samples (99 percent) contained at least one detectable pesticide residue, while 20 percent contained 10 or more
  • More than 98 percent of samples of the top six “dirtiest” produce items (strawberries, spinach, peaches, nectarines, cherries and apples) contained at least one pesticide, while spinach contained 1.8 times more pesticide residue by weight than any other crop
  • The best way to avoid pesticide residues in your food is to choose those that haven’t been exposed to them to begin with, i.e., go organic

Read the rest of this entry »

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Watch Out For Those Terrorist Farmers

Posted by M. C. on May 16, 2014

The USDA is buying machine guns and body armor.

I don’t really think farmers are the primary target.  Every department of the government is buying guns and ammunition.  The government is spreading the wealth.  No one department is buying a large volume except the DHS.

The definition of terrorist has quickly evolved to include radicals.  Who are radicals?

The definition of radical hasn’t changed for a thousand years.  Radicals are anyone that does not conform to what the rulers want.  Antiwar activists, freedom lovers, anti-government types and anyone that doesn’t do or act as they told.

Terrorism is one crisis that is not being wasted.

The government has bought enough ammo to have a couple magazine’s worth for everyone.  That includes you.

What have you done lately to stop the madness?  Nothing?  Better get your own body armor.

The “I haven’t done wrong” excuse won’t cut it.  Not when the man decides he needs a better arrest/kill ratio.  The cops can arrest, kill or make you forfeit your money at will in many areas now.

I can see it getting worse fast, especially when the current bubble bursts.

You should have voted for Ron Paul.

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