My truck-patch tomato farm is losing money due to drought and heat. I’m at a loss as to what to do.
And then.....right there, on the evening news stood our president, declaring that we could spend ourselves into prosperity. The thought hit me, if that works for the largest enterprise in the world, why would it not work for my truck patch?
I decided to visit my banker and ask for a loan which would be seed money for increased spending to speed my prosperity. Glancing at my business plan and scanning my financial records, I could sense that Mr. Banker was not impressed. He pauses, then asks “How will you repay the loan?”
I reminded him that I watch Fox News (“Fair and Balanced”) every night and I always hear members of Congress lecture, “To get out of debt, we must invest in the future!” After all, every Congress and president since The Great Society has agreed on this borrow and spend concept of economics, I argued. Being the diplomatic, customer-oriented, public relations professional that he was, he explained that banks are profit motivated and if he made loans to people with credit card business plans, he would be out of business. I think I also heard him mutter something about “voodoo economics.”
Wanting to be of help and shuffle me out of his office, he asked, “Have you sought government assistance for your tomato crop?” No, I answered. He suggested I look into some of the agriculture programs for farmers.
Following a perfunctory 15-minute internet search, those tomatoes began turning into gold right before my sun-ripened eyes. Just a few pages into my research, in bold black type, there it was: Drought Relief for Farmers. I discovered that I could get government money (from the taxpayers, of course) for lack of rain. I knew that I had hit the Mother Lode, so right then and there I resolved to quit my nightly watering program.
I was ready to close the computer window and head to the USDA office when I saw, in bold black type, Flood Relief for Farmers. Hot dog! I discovered that I could get paid if there was too much water. I immediately made plans to expand my tomato crop in what is left of the growing season. Come rain or shine, I’m a winner.
I could not help but turn the page and bold black type once again leaped from the page: Price Supports for Farmers will be given when optimum weather conditions exist and bountiful production creates excess supply. The thought crossed my mind that maybe I should triple my tomato production. I wanted to channel Daddy and let him know that at long last a Harrison would soon be rich! He would be so proud of me!
Like a moth to a flame, I could not stop reading all the possibilities on the government web site. Disaster relief for Farmers was self-explanatory, but the Conservation Program for Farmers was a new eye-opener and caused me to reverse my previous thinking. I made an executive decision that would change my life forever. I discovered that I could be paid for fallow ground. For those unfamiliar with this Biblical terminology, it means you let your land do its own thing for awhile. Sow nothing and reap nothing, except handsome checks from the United States treasury! It took but a few minutes of reading to realize what a Capitalist Pig I have been and the harm I had been doing to the environment and, indirectly, to all my fellow citizens. There was but one thing to do — get out of the tomato growing business altogether.
The USDA people were very professional and joyfully guided me through the process. I left their office feeling good about myself and my new role I will play for the benefit of future generations. The soil will once again naturally replenish the nutrients needed for future switch grass farms. Switch grass, as you know, will one day solve our energy problems as we convert from carbon fuel (crude oil) to ethanol. Heck, I even discovered they have Wind Farms for Farmers subsidies and someday windmills will replace those evil coal-fired generation plants that produce most of our electricity.
I now understand why so many people loathe those Tea Party’ers who are trying to destroy the American dream with their demands for less government spending and balanced budgets. How could I be so naive as to believe out of control government spending would lead to serfdom? Its 10 o’clock now and the television pundits are pompously debating spending billions on farmers like me, knowing that our leaders will do just that. Pray hard America.
Dewey Harrison of Poteau is retired educator from the Pocola School system. He is also a tea party supporter, occasional fisherman and perpetual pessimist about the current state of affairs. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org .