Liberate the Farmer

DELIVERED ON 11/2/20

This is the sixth and last in a series of major policy speeches I have been giving in recent weeks on top of what has been a campaign loaded with specific policy proposals for real change.  Ironically, while the media has for years complained about campaigns that lack substance, they have largely ignored these speeches.  Undeterred, the Libertarian Party will carry on trying to bring critical thought to reverse the 55-year decline of Western New York about which the Red and Blue teams, secure in their patronage jobs, seem blissfully unaware.  We are guided by the wisdom of George Washington: “Perseverance and spirit have done wonders in all ages.”

Progressive big government, supported by both parties for as long as anyone can remember, has been an albatross around the necks of small and family-run businesses such as restaurants and farms.  Both are struggling during the lockdown while big business is thriving.  Today, I will focus on the plight of the long-suffering farmer, an issue close to my heart as my father is a farmer in Arcade.

The family farm is suffering under the weight of dozens of taxes and hundreds of regulations.  Farmers are struggling, going bankrupt and even committing suicide, under the weight of the guilt of losing a business that has been in the family for generations.

As with all the other problems caused by progressive big government, the solution is liberty.

First, end the lockdown.  We do not need to destroy the economy to protect the vulnerable from the coronavirus.  The lockdown depressed the economy without reducing deaths or hospitalizations from the virus.  This reduced the worldwide demand for agricultural products and hurt farmers.  End the lockdown now.

Second, abolish the gas tax.  It hurts farmers directly as they need energy for a myriad of cars, trucks, tractors and other equipment.  The gas tax also hurts the overall economy and thus indirectly hurts farmers.

Third, end all price controls on farmers so they can sell their products at the market price.  This would also reduce the need for subsidies as the rationale for subsidies is to compensate for the pointless price controls.

Fourth, farmers have been hurt by the President’s protectionist policies and increased tariffs.  Other countries have retaliated with increased tariffs that hurt American farmers.  Politico reported that “Trump’s moves to slap tariffs on imports from some of America‘s largest foreign buyers have prompted retaliation against U.S. farm goods like pork, beef, soybeans, sorghum and a range of fruits.” Free trade is good for farmers.  Open up international markets.  Both parties benefit from trade.

Fifth, many government laws and relations make it difficult for farmers to hire the labor they need to operate profitably. The process of hiring guest workers is expensive, complicated and time-consuming and needs to be streamlined. As the Cato Institute reported, “The H-2A program has more than 200 rules and is bureaucratically complex.”

Minimum wage laws should be repealed as they simply produce unemployment by forcing employers to pay wages above the level of the worker’s productivity.  Unemployment is bad.  These laws need to be repealed.

Sixth, end farm subsidies.  They tend to go to large corporate farms in just a few states.  New York is not one of them.  Ending subsidies will redound to the benefit of farmers as taxpayers.

These are just a few ideas to help the farming industry, of NY27’s most important industries. If elected, I will hold community forums around the district to learn more from farmers themselves about how to get progressive big government off their backs and liberate the farmer!