The Idiocy Behind the Federal Takeover of Agriculture

The Future of Freedom Foundation posted online today my article on how the feds seized control of American agriculture in the late 1920s and early 1930s.   This story is not conducive to trust in either politicians or intellectuals.

Here’s the wrapup of the piece:

Though much of the farm crisis of the early 1930s was the result of high taxes and government mismanagement of the currency, many agricultural economists and politicians insisted that the problem was in the inherent nature of the business and could be solved only by a government takeover of agriculture.

It is ironic that the college professors who made up Roosevelt’s Brain Trust were so ignorant or contemptuous of the failures of federal farm policy before Roosevelt took office in 1933. Instead, these geniuses were convinced that there was no problem that the Iron Fist could not solve.

Many of the architects of federal agricultural policy in the 1930s — a policy that continues to the present day — thought the Soviet economic system was superior to that of the United States. Rexford Tugwell, the assistant secretary of agriculture, praised the Soviet Union for its “operation of industry in the public interest rather than for profits.


4 Responses to The Idiocy Behind the Federal Takeover of Agriculture

  1. Sunni April 5, 2006 at 1:53 pm #

    No sheep?! Jim, you’re slipping …

  2. Jim April 5, 2006 at 2:17 pm #

    The revised guidelines of the U.S. Parole Commission have made blogging more perilous than it used to be.

  3. Steve April 6, 2006 at 4:34 am #

    Wonder if the article mentions the dust bowl???

  4. Jim April 6, 2006 at 8:30 am #

    I don’t think I covered it in this piece. But I did deal with this in my 1989 book, The Farm Fiasco. First time I dealt with this issue was in a 1984 Wall Street Journal piece called “Uncle Sam, Super-Sodbuster” — looking at how the feds’ incentives in the early-mid 1980s were causing a huge amount of plowing of virgin land (or at least “virgin” according to the definition of TSA).