Saturday, June 27, 2009

Abolish Agriculture (Committees)

. Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hit play first.

Ezra Klein wins today's Archimedean "I Wish I Were in Charge" Award (which I so want to shorten to the Archimedean Silver Star award). He asks "isn't it time to abolish congressional committees on agriculture?" He astutely notes that such committees currently are a playground for "special interests" (he seems to think these committees used to be okay). These damn farmers, apparently, are now using their special committees to mess with the ability of right-thinking people to create the world Klein prefers (no special interests involved in climate change legislation, I guess). He concludes that maybe it's time farmers don't have such committees. [Throw away point: Ezra seems to think that no other industries have their own committees. This is true except for all of the sectors that do have their own committees: such as transportation, energy, armed services (defense industry) financial services, education, small business, and I think there are committees for health care services. Maybe these industries aren't "special interests" though].

Klein wins today's award for failing to recognize that what he proposes--abolish agriculture committees--is indeed impossible if his characterization of the world is in fact accurate. After all, if farmers are sufficiently powerful to have their own committees that they use to extract stuff from the rest of us (which they are and do), then they are sufficiently powerful to prevent the abolition of said very useful committees. And even if you somehow could abolish the committees, powerful farmers will find other mechanisms through which to achieve their objectives. Finally, if we could in fact abolish ag committees, then we would not actually need to do it (because farmers would not be powerful enough to use these committees to their advantage). Because Klein recognizes none of this, he wins today's award for offering us an analysis that provides no insight into anything other than what the world would like if Ezra Klein were in charge.

As Ezra enjoys his new status, perhaps he will consider why those pesky farmers have so much influence to begin with. Undoubtedly, this will lead him to suggest that what we really need to do is abolish the Senate--or maybe he'll just go straight to the heart of the matter and propose that we just stop letting those damn farmers vote. They all live in flyover country anyway, right?


Abolish Agriculture (Committees)
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