HIGHTOWER: Bush's Stupid Farm Policy

This just in ... George W. Bush has actually taken a position on an issue: The farm crises.Farmer George, standing among some hay bales, announced in Iowa that the answer to low grain prices and the plummeting income of American farmers is: "Exports!" Farmers across the country let out a big, collective groan. They know from nearly 30 years of bad experience that an export-based ag policy is a disaster for farmers.This failed policy goes back to Nixon's infamous ag secretary Earl Butz, who told farmers to expand grain production for sale on the world market. Fine, except every country -- from Brazil to Bangladesh -- was producing grain for export, so there quickly was a glut, depressing prices and bankrupting tens of thousands of good American farmers.The ones who benefitted were Cargill, ADM, and a handful of other giant middlemen who control the world grain market. A glut of grain meant they could buy it dirt cheap from farmers, yet sell it at ever-higher prices to cereal companies, and others -- producing fat profits for middlemen who just happen to be major campaign contributors. The federal government also subsidizes grain exports, doing so in the name of helping farmers. But Cargill, ADM, and the rest are the exporters, not farmers, so the subsidies go to executives in suits, not farmers in overalls.To compound the stupidity of his export proposal, George W. also said he would push to get China into the World Trade Organization, as though this would help farmers. Being in the WTO would allow China to overturn our farming laws -- everything from a school district that puts a priority on buying food from local farmers to national laws that restrict the amount of pesticide residues on imported food.This is Jim Highotwer saying ... Maybe this is why his handlers don't want George issuing proposals -- as the saying goes, if you don't think too good, don't think too much.

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