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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Feb. 9, 2005 / 30 Shevat, 5765

Fifth Avenue farmers

By John Stossel


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Times Square. The Empire State Building. Grand Central Terminal. Ah, the sights, the smells, the peaceful sounds of farm country.


Farm country? When politicians start handing out subsidies, you never can tell. Hundreds of federally subsidized farmers live in New York City. Among them is Mike Sonnenfeldt. He lives in the same building as Steven Spielberg and Steve Martin, and he gets cotton subsidies. I asked him whether he grows any cotton.


"I have no idea," he said. "I bought a piece of property that got traded for a piece of property. ... I'm not sure exactly even why I get (the subsidies)."


Politicians often think nothing happens unless they do it. Some say we won't have an ample food supply unless we protect farms with subsidies. Congress passes farm subsidies, and presidents sign them.


The politicians don't talk much about people like Mike Sonnenfeldt. They talk about protecting "family farms." Democratic vice-presidential candidate John Edwards spoke of "fighting for family farmers." Actually, big agribusinesses receive most federal farm subsidies, but some of the money does reach real, live family farmers, such as Fred and Larry Starrh.


The Starrhs grow mostly cotton on their 12,000-acre spread in California. It's hard to think of them as needy with all that land, but without subsidies, they say, they couldn't make a profit.


Most businesses that can't make a profit go out of business. Woolworth closed. So did TWA. So do 20,000 restaurants every year. It's that freedom to fail that has helped make America as prosperous as it is, because it frees people to do more productive things.


But not on subsidized farms. When the Starrhs can't make a profit, you give them a handout, although Fred Starrh refuses to call it a handout. "I look at it," he says, "as a way to maintain a viable agriculture in this country."


That's the myth. Subsidies don't maintain viable agriculture. Viable agriculture maintains itself, because people are willing to buy its products at more than the costs of growing them. In fact, most crops are not subsidized. Not lettuce, peas, potatoes, plums, peaches, broccoli or green beans. There's no shortage of any of these. Yet the Starrhs and others say farming can't survive without subsidies.


"If I can't grow my 6,000 acres of cotton because the subsidy's gone," said Larry Starrh, "where am I going to go with that acreage? Do I just idle it?"


Subsidies are like a heroin fix. They feel good, but they lead to more subsidies.


The first subsidy makes cotton more expensive. That causes a problem for manufacturers, so we give them a subsidy, too. That subsidy hurts poor farmers worldwide, so we send them more money in foreign aid. But that's not enough for our cotton farmers. We give them another subsidy for the water they use and another subsidy to advertise their cotton overseas. We give away billions in handouts, without which, say the Starrhs, American cotton — which Americans value — would be replaced by foreign cotton.


The foreign cotton — Fred Starrh mentioned China, India and Pakistan as likely sources — sounds like a good deal to me. The free market puts resources to work where they're most productive. If Americans bought cheap cotton overseas, we'd have more money to spend on other things.


If Fred and Larry Starrh got out of the cotton business, they might become self-supporting in some other line of work, and their land could be used, by them or by someone else, for some more profitable purpose. If Third World farmers became the world's leading growers of cotton, we and they would benefit.


But Fred and Larry Starrh maintain that cotton farmers deserve subsidies and that subsidized farmers are not "welfare queens," which is what I called them. "I totally disagree with you, John," said Fred Starrh. "And the legislature is with us at this point, so we're winning, and you're losing." They are winning in the political arena, which shows American politics has degenerated into nothing more than a competition for the privilege of putting public force to work for your private interests and against everyone else's.


The Starrhs find the title of welfare queen offensive. "Change it to king. Welfare kings. Because 'queens' is bad in California," says Larry Starrh, with a laugh. "Call me Sponge Bob, please."


A "sponge" he is, to the tune of nearly $3.5 million of your money.


Give Me a Break.

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Give Me a Break  

Stossel explains how ambitious bureaucrats, intellectually lazy reporters, and greedy lawyers make your life worse even as they claim to protect your interests. Taking on such sacred cows as the FDA, the War on Drugs, and scaremongering environmental activists -- and backing up his trademark irreverence with careful reasoning and research -- he shows how the problems that government tries and fails to fix can be solved better by the extraordinary power of the free market. Sales help fund JWR.




JWR contributor John Stossel is co-anchor of ABC News' "20/20." To comment, please click here.




02/02/05: Buy a bridge? This $200 Million one isn't for sale — it's being paid for by taxpayers and it leads almost nowhere
01/28/05: Aren't science and scholarship supposed to ask questions and open our eyes to facts?
01/26/05: Forced altruism

© 2005, by JFS Productions, Inc. Distributed by Creators Syndicate, Inc.