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Subsidizing Agribusiness while Harming Farmers

Why do people keep repeating that Trump gave an unsolicited $12 billion bailout to “farmers”. Like the regular farm subsidies, you can expect that 75% of that money will go to the top 10% of “farms”. Really it is just a taxpayer giveaway to big agribusiness. And it is the most blatant of political bribes, coming in an election year, wrapped up in mom-and-apple-pie symbolism and papering over a huge failure of policy on trade. But the reality is that it is actually just another form of upwards redistribution, driving economic concentration in the farming sector, and making it even harder for small farmers to compete.

How is it upwards redistribution, you might ask. When your competition just got billions in free taxpayer money, and you didn’t, what does that do to land prices and the ability of the small farmer to expand, or the want-to-be farmer to even lease land to start farming, much less buy any? And adding insult to injury, it was your tax money that was just used to give your competition a leg up. Capitalism already gave advantages of scale to large enterprises, and here government policy is amplifying those advantages. All wrapped up in rhetoric and imagery of helping out the small guy.

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