Nation-Building >> flirting with farming subsidies | return to front page

"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

Add to Google Reader or Homepage Subscribe in Bloglines Subscribe in NewsGator Online Add to netvibes

website stats

Previous Posts
Netflix, Inc.
ThinkGeek T-Shirts will make you cool!
illy coffee - 2 cans, 2 mugs for just $26.

Wednesday, May 14, 2003


flirting with farming subsidies

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, May 14, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
From the Rutland Herald comes an alarming soundbite by Dean, while on the trail in Iowa:

And at a breakfast meeting in the Uptown Café in Jefferson, Dean promoted a farmer subsidy program for corn and beef, one that would be modeled after the Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact.

YIKES. Supporting massive agricultural subsidies is a scary position to take. The Dairy Compact is akin to OPEC for milk - a high-level body of milk manufacturers that has the authority to inflate the price of milk nationwide (note that a gallon of milk costs more in most cities than a gallon of gasoline). This directly hurts the consumer, especially lower-income families. Note that the primary beneficiaries of the Dairy Compact are Vermont dairy farmers.

A similar boondoggle is the ethanol subsidy. Common Cause reports that this subsidy to corn farmers has cost the Federal Treasury $7bn since 1997 (how may children would that have insured?). The primary beneficiaries are not small farmers, but giant agribusiness conglomerates like Archers-Daniel Midland, whose massive soft-money contributions keep the subsidy alive in Congress.

The issue of whether Dean supports these two massive government payouts was actually posed in the DeanBlog Interview (# 9), but we haven't had any response from the campaign yet. This quote from the road seems to be the first time Dean has addressed the issue.

The proposed beef and corn subsidy that Dean proposes is similar to these programs, and runs directly against the grain of Dean's reputation as a fiscal hawk. The TNR primary gave Dean an F for this in the Political Courage category, pointing out that there are only two reasons Dean could have for making this soundbite:

Not surprisingly, the article doesn't quote Dean elaborating on this ridiculous proposal, and Dean's website doesn't say a word about it. It's hard to tell which is worse: If Dean just decided to tell Iowans what he thinks they want to hear, or if actually believes this is a good idea.

It will be especially interesting to see what Dean has to say about this when the responses to the DeanBlog interview come in. This is an issue that has a direct conflict between principle and politics. Dean's message has always been that he does what is right. Supporting these subsidies is a failure to meet his own standard.


Post a Comment


View blog top tags
The Assault on Reason

Obama 2008 - I want my country back

I want my country back - Obama 2008

About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.