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New York Times “Room for Debate” Column Discusses Farm Subsidies

November 23, 2010


On Sunday, November 21, the New York Times featured farm subsidies as the topic of its “Room for Debate” column, a column which showcases multiple viewpoints on various topics, with a different topic being debated almost every day.  Sunday’s Room for Debate, entitled, “Do Farm Subsidies Protect National Security?”, featured six debaters, including Chuck Hassebrook, Executive Director of the Center for Rural Affairs, an NSAC member organization.

Farm subsidies are expected to come under renewed fire from newly-elected Republican Members of Congress determined to cut the national deficit by reducing or eliminating unnecessary government programs.  The subsidy system has become a prime example of the tough decisions Congress will have to make if they want to keep  their promises to reduce government spending.  Read an article on this dilemma from news outlet Politico here.

The Room for Debate discussion was almost entirely anti-farm subsidies, but the debaters gave a variety of reasons why farm subsidies needed to be curtailed or scrapped entirely.  While the title for the discussion hints that the New York Times wanted a discussion of how farm subsidies affect national security, the debaters criticized the subsidy system for its negative environmental impacts, its contribution to the obesity epidemic, and its shortchanging of the rural communities that need the subsidies most.

Arguing this last point, Hassebrook suggested that “unlimited subsidies to the largest farms should be cut, while investment in building genuine opportunity and a better future in rural communities is also needed.”

To read all six debaters’ contributions, as well as over 100 reader comments, click here.


Categories: Farm Bill


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