To the editor:
Thus far, the recently proposed farm bill has had broad and deep dissent from the populace, and to my knowledge, no supporters outside of a small minority of special interests. The farm bill needs many improvements to actually serve the American people. But the underlying problem is far beyond the scope of the farm bill; America would be well-served to fundamentally redesign its economic system.
The basic existing economic systems — free enterprise, socialism and communism — each have objectionable shortcomings because of their simplicities, the underlying motivational factors for participants and unfortunately, the inadequate or corrupted agencies within governments. Routinely and consistently, economists identify these shortcomings objectively via numerous metrics. The existing American economic system is free enterprise intermingled with elements of socialism.
American leaders claim to value national security, national prosperity and opportunity for all citizens. And what do most Americans believe? Those who work harder, provide innovation and achieve an excellence of work should be rewarded beyond those who simply satisfy basic job requirements. Americans also say that opportunity to advance, excel and learn should be for all persons. Americans believe that if someone puts forth real effort, that person should find opportunities for advancement, opportunities to excel and opportunities to learn. Metrics of America’s economic system show real shortcomings and downward trends in opportunities and social mobility. America’s economic system is flawed.
A redesign of the economic system is technically feasible. Such a redesign must necessarily support widely held American values; facilitate local, statewide and international commerce; increase local, state and federal securities; intrinsically motivate individuals and groups to be productive; and provide equitable compensation for all people. A great economic system design provides a foundation for security, prosperity and opportunity for the population at large, not just for special interests. Congress should not redesign the economic system because, collectively, Congress has neither the time nor skills for such a redesign. Far worse, Congress has, collectively, no integrity for an economic redesign. Within a democracy, however, elected officials would necessarily approve of the economic system redesign via legislation.
Economic system redesign: We can look at cellphones, high-definition TVs, satellites and submarines and see how each involved technology developments of thousands of labor-years. Economic system designs have never yet employed such focused development efforts. A great economic system development would require concentrated efforts by teams of economists with well-defined goals, metrics and feedback controls. In stark contrast, the current American economic system reflects the over-simplistic sound bites of politicians that have been greatly corrupted for special interests. The corrupt politicians intentionally create vague goals, with few metrics, priorities, evaluation criteria or timelines. Corrupt politicians place politics above efficient government operations and above serving their constituents.
Ag concerns: The large capital expenditures and long-duration production cycles of agriculture lead to huge economic challenges and risks for producers in pure free enterprise economic structures. Far more than producing “just food,” agriculture also plays vital, high-impact roles in human health, environmental health, independence and in national security. It is past time to rethink ag policy and farm bills.
The proposed farm bill simply does not serve the American people. Voters must use their voices and feet to pressure government for the necessary changes. Real greatness? That will only come when the corrupting influences of special interests are removed. Our economic system must be realigned with the American values of reward for hard work and opportunity for all. Real greatness requires resolve and action on the part of the American people.