But what really struck me just how Congress is replying to this increasing chaos in the farming markets: They're doing nothing. Nothing much, that is, and some congressmen are raging mad. Others, who come from states that give subsidies to farmers, don't have the support to take away the federal gifts appropriated to their constituents. Just look at this section:
"But even strong proponents of the bill, like Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat
of Iowa and chairman of the Agriculture Committee, concede that farm
interests are deeply entrenched and that there is little appetite for change
among many farm state lawmakers, especially when it comes to the direct
The direct payments are based on the amount of land that certain farmers own, and Harkin, who has sought to eliminate the payments, said that many recipients of the money then use it to acquire more land and qualify for more payments.
"It's like the black hole in space that astronomers talk about, everything gets sucked in and nothing ever comes out," he said.
"This is the black hole of agriculture. It doesn't make sense, but farmers continue to get it." Harkin said there was not much he could do because, "I don't have the votes," adding, "People love free money."
Isn't that depressing? Leadership not willing to not only do what it takes to alleviate some of the stress caused by these markets on farmers (see this article for more on that subject) but on food prices, food availability, and whether or not this whole ethanol thing is really good for Americans in the first place! (On a side note, one place I read said that even though ethanol/gasoline mix (E85) is cheaper, $2.89/gal as opposed to $3.50/gal for unleaded, figuring in its inefficiencies on our engines (lower mpg) raises it's adjusted apples-to-apples comparison with gas to $3.65. And it may be worse for the environment.) So basically, people like free money and may not vote for you next time around, so don't fix anything and let the whole system tear itself apart. Nice.