Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mike Missed the Memo

West Texas Congressman Mike Conaway apparently didn't read the memo from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce before citing the "multiplier effect" of federal farm subsidies washing like waves though fields of cotton in his district.

"You don't have any way to compare that (the amount of subsidy) to the scope of operations,the number of acres, the number of jobs, the amount of equipment these farmers and producers purchase and rent, the impact it has beyond just those payments" noted Conaway in the San Angelo Standard Times.

From 2003 to 2005 subsidies for the Congressman's district amounted to about $322 million.

One might expect a trained accountant like Mike to stay abreast of current economic thinking. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce dropped the domestic multiplier effect years ago as jobs went to China by the hundreds of thousands. It's been replaced by the dollar extender computation for free trade. America is better off in the Chamber's eyes because of outsourcing production to low cost countries.

In addition to looking "out of date" by promoting the old multiplier, Mike runs the risk of having his constituents ask why can't I extend my dollar on cotton, sugar and other currently subsidized farm products? What countries produce such products more cheaply? Why haven't the big farming conglomerates done like their industrial counterparts? Goodyear could school ArcherDaniels Midland.

I associate conservatism with working hard to produce something of value, buying what one needs and no more, taking care of one's family, pitching in to help neighbors in need, and an inherent distrust of government. At least that's what Charley Flagg taught me in Elmer Kelton's The Time it Never Rained. I guess those times are gone.

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