I'm from Iowa and a family member does lots of farm bankruptcies here. This is definitely a thing. Farmers buy new pickup trucks in lieu of showing a profit. Pair that in with land purchases at 7k+/acre and the saying "the neighbors land will never come up for sale again while I'm alive" and you've got a good mix for very high stress situations.
Is this just a psychological issue of people being attached to certain parcels or is there some other factor?
There will always be some farmland effectively for sale; but there will also be other farmland which will never be for sale, no matter what the cost. The latter are generally "homeplaces", which have been in the family for generations. Heritage, blood, sweat, and years of hard work bind you to the soil, the land. It's more than an emotional attachment--it's almost spiritual, almost core identity.
It's an essential part of you and who you are.
I have wondered how much this effect is genetically built into us - there really is something different about how people view farmland compared to every other asset.
(However, most businesses don't have the option of the ultimate fallback of subsistence farming if times got really rough. :) )
So yes, if you want to game the system and sit on land, there's little tax incentive to sell it.
People have different risk evaluation and time horizons. If you are sitting on a lot of capital, it’s a no brainer to buy land when financial bubbles pop and leveraged owners need to unload cheap.
Not only do you have a long term inflation hedge, but it’s real property, which means you can borrow against it to get cash without paying taxes via dividends or sale.
Iowa is great for investors like this because the whole state is just a big corn factory. The government tries to keep commodity prices less volatile, so you can project lease income with some precision using the value of corn.
Assuming this is pure farm land (no premium for possible annexation or commercial development), is that not an absolutely batshit insane price? I'm no expert but that seems at least 4x what is reasonable.
In the middle of nowhere there have been quite a number of land sales with $10k+/acre in the past handful of years.
Farmland prices have been kinda crazy over the last 5-10 years.
As a quick example of some math:
* Rent prices for farmland in Iowa  averaged $230/acre in 2016
* Yield per acre for corn is 203 in 2016
* Price per bushel averaged $9.27 
Throwing averages into the mix, $1,882 revenue per acre. Without any expenses, farmers could be looking at >5 year time to break even at a 10k purchase price as opposed. Tons of farmers are paper millionaires simply because of the land they own. 100 acres of 10k land gets you there. 640 acres is 1 square mile (much of the state is on a 1x1 mile grid of gravel roads).
And of course I found most of the work already done after I found a bunch of sources.  has some more detailed numbers.
You quoted the price for beans, not corn. Corn averaged 3.40 over the year (currently, around $3.05 cash, not CBOT). That means it was about $640/acre for income. And that's assuming 203 bushels for all farmland. 180 is a better rule of thumb.
Of course, when a bag of seed corn is selling for $275-300+...not to mention input costs of equipment, fuel, fertilizer, labor (including yours), land (purchase or rent), etc...
The numbers were way better than I remembered, so I kept trying to figure out where the costs came in...I wasn't finding it.
Thanks for the correction.
As my late dad and other old timers said a few years ago, the price of land is tied to the price of corn. Land values (both purchase and cash rent) have fallen the past year or two from their high, slowly but steadily. From a pure numbers standpoint, land prices are still high relative to corn prices, I'd say about 2x as high as some historical years at this corn price (plus historical inflation). I'd like to see it down around $5K/acre in my area.
But there are other factors in the cost too, and that is how much people are willing to pay for land. And guys are still willing to pay for it at this level, although not as many as before. There's still profitability, if you play your cards right. But that's a whole other analysis.
When giving out a loan for operations, a farmer's ability to pay is heavily weighted on farmers having newer equipment. The excuse that I have heard for the bank to do this, is that the bank can't easily tell which farmers take better care of their equipment, thus favoring the newer equipment across the board.
The agents working directly with the farmers advocate for this, as there are internal incentives for making larger loans.
But on the other hand, I see people driving antique beaters and doubt they have the capability or interest to manage any maintenance.
The busiest week for farm equipment dealers is the week between Christmas and new years. That is when their account calls them and says trading in some machine would reduce their tax bill by more than the payments! Assuming the trade in value is high enough of course.
Farmers are businessmen running a real business. They understand how to use all the loopholes written for them.
This is all well and good, but now you've just shifted the profit to Profit LLC, and what to do with it there? If it's an LLC, whoever owns it has to pay income tax on it. So if you, the farmer, own Profit LLC, you're still paying taxes on it. If Farm LLC owns it, then the profit just goes back to Farm LLC, undoing the whole purpose.
So maybe you decide to make Profit LLC a C-Corp instead, so it's Profit, Inc., with the idea that now it's no longer a pass-through entity. But now you have to pay corporate income tax on it, even if you don't distribute it. Then, when you distribute it someday, you have to pay regular income tax on it again.
Some companies (such as Toys 'R Us) used to get around this by having "Profit LLC" be a company that owns the brand and licenses it to the retail company, to eliminate the retail company's profits. They then locate Profit LLC in a low/no-tax country such as the Cayman Islands. It's not clear how this would work for a farmer, however, because there's not really a brand to license, and any company that owned the land would still fall under US tax jurisdiction.
(Not a lawyer, not a tax preparer.)
The US tax system is really insane some times
Is it even 5%?
Which is what the parent of this thread was saying.
The consequence is that in bad times, the company has to borrow (if it can) or goes bankrupt. Which happens often. We don't generally shed tears over this kind of thing, but this story points out the human tragedy that passes when individuals follow the same strategy.
Personally I kinda feel a little meh about the subject. My heart goes out to every struggling business(wo)man - it's hard to make it on your own. But farmers are especially insulated against market forces by a giant morass of subsidies and land use regulations. They're already getting a much bigger handout than they deserve.
Smaller businesses yes.
Big businesses get even more subsidies than farmers -- and not just subsidies.
Of course they do. They are using legal means to reduce their taxes. Why wouldn't they.
Would you decline your mortgage interest deduction, your solar energy or EV deduction, etc. so you could claim you are paying your "fair" share? Go ahead -- nothing is stopping you.
Paul Graham, The Acceleration of Addictiveness
It has also been my observation that there is a sort of victim mentality that many farmers embrace, they can be legitimate multimillionaires but would rather be seen as poor and bullied by the banks, government and elites.
Getting creative, of course... But you know, a legitimate business would never operate like this, right?
They wouldn't take such a "subjective" point of view, when interpreting what are typically held as "objective" values and facts with only one single interpretation of The Truth, right?
The debate about double taxation of corporate profits relates to taxation of dividends, which are neither exempt nor deductible from a business' taxable income. Because shareholders are one and the same as the corporation according to some strains of legal and economic reasoning, by taxing dividends you've taxed the shareholders' profits twice.
If you control a corporation, you could achieve the same tax treatment as pass-through entities merely by paying yourself a salary instead of dividends. But if you did that, pass-through entities are easier because there are fewer formalities involved. The real gripe is that because dividends are taxed at a flat 15-20%, paying yourself in tax-preferred dividends is a tantalizing prospect but-for the supposed double taxation "problem".
The debate is admittedly a little more nuanced when discussing passive investments, but that's a different context than family farms.
Edit: Yes, I meant distribute for taxation purposes (K1 form), not actually transfer the funds
Edit: you can’t keep an untaxed rainy day fund, that’s true. If you keep cash in the business from one year and use it on expenses the following, you deduct those expenses for the year they occurred. If that incurs a net operating loss you can carry that loss backwards or forwards if you want.
In the cross-tax-year case, you pay the chargeback from the historical profits you have been booking from the LLC and book it as a business expense in the current tax year.
If you are running an LLC with zero cash backup to handle such situations, there could be a problem with the business model.
Your business having a illiquid depreciating asset that is required for the business to function can still be struggling. You can't eat a combine, you can't trade it away.
This is usually solved with coops owning the equipment and time sharing it to distribute the costs among the coop participants.
Farmers are indentured servants to the commodities markets, the land owner's they rent their land from, and John Deere.
Now you can rent semis, but it isn't cheap. For a farmer the rental company will look at it as a semi that won't be rented for 10 months so they charge for it.
Point being, the expensive equipment that is effectively being rented (with the labor in our case) isn't sitting idle most of the year. It's being used in different areas.
In the mind of the farmer:
* $150,000 tractor: something that has value (not easy to calculate, but a $150k tractor has a value above zero, even if not brand new) and utility.
* $30,000 to the IRS: money that I will never see again. Literally thrown away money.
Option number 1 is very tempting.
Averseness to government is taxation is so engrained in some country it is almost genetic...and it leads to utterly bad thinking by individuals.
Their thinking with regards to taxes is that it's spent on one of the following:
- Welfare, which is supposedly rampant with fraud to the point that most people who are on welfare don't "need" it
- Unspecified government waste
Not that these don't exist- it's just that it's the majority of government spending, according to them.
If taxes are cut, they claim welfare will get cut, forcing people to find work, and that government will somehow cut their other wasteful spending while still managing to fund the necessities.
I live in suburban NJ, so it's a bit easier for me to see where my taxes go- police, fire, public transit, a handful of schools. But in rural America, where 911 response times can be around 30 minutes, there's no train to get to a nearby city, and there's only two schools in your town? It looks like that money vanished.
If you're a strict old-school limited govt jeffersonian type, as many farmers are, fighting income taxes and avoiding paying into federally mandated systems is your civic duty..
not saying I agree with either side - but pointing out that notions of 'civic duty' are not so cut-and-dried
Just because something is worth doing does not mean you can throw money at it with no regard to efficiency.
They have an hour meter for a reason. This is really what people use to tell if it is new.
Now if they sell the tractor they have to pay taxes on the full sale price as profit since it was previously worth zero.
many farmers dont.
also: these are not distributed evenly (see also agribusiness)
Additionally some debatably large portion of tax money is wasted or spent on things you completely disagree with, no matter what your political perspective.
Roads alone are very expensive, over a million bucks per mile in rural areas. Wyoming has 33,000 miles of road serving a population of 550k. That works out to at least $60k per person in just to build the roads, never mind maintaining them. And not having these roads means higher transportation costs, which translate to more money spent on goods and more profit being lost to transporting sales.
There are plenty of countries in the world without individual taxes, they just also happen to be places most people don't want to live.
This is a commonly repeated myth, but is not usually true. Road costs are far lower than often claimed. A 2-lane asphalt road construction costs about $800k on average and lasts approximately 30 years with proper maintenance. (Using MDOT numbers, since that's what I happen to have on hand).
In Wyoming, this works out to $1,600 per person per year ($133/month/person). But that assumes every single road in Wyoming is paved -- they aren't. I don't know the accuracy of this, but the University of Wyoming claims only 20% of a county's roads are paved in the state, on average, so real costs are probably much lower.
In states with any significant city whatsoever, the costs drop dramatically. Michigan, for example, has 120,256 miles of road serving 9.9 million people, 75% of which are rural. That's a total road cost of about $360 per person per year ($30/person/month).
I can't find a more recent pre-compiled source, and too lazy to run the numbers myself. I doubt it has changed significantly enough to make the
only when competing against imports from defacto slaves in other countries..
There is some level of self-sustainment but it's a myth how 'independent' people really are.
They might be detached from the federal side of things but they still also have to interact at a state level.
Only off-the-grid homesteaders can make any credible claim to having no connection to society at large, but if they get sick, they better be honest with themselves and just die at home instead of going to get healthcare from a system they elected not to contribute to.
You go really far down the civilizational chain if you remove these mechanisms. Almost all the way down to primitivism.
Whose definition of "good" are we using? Clearly not mine, as my definition of "good" demands consent.
And is it hypocritical to live in the West and take advantage of all the benefits it gained from centuries of imperialism and exploitation, while criticizing that behavior?
I'm not against taxation, but that's some BS logic.
I think the ideas of anti-taxation is often hypocritical, too often you see people critize tax cuts that do not serve their other beliefs. Mind you, this is not an argument against tax cuts, I just think anti taxation is an pipedream.
Unless you want to argue about people paying more in taxes than they (feel they) get in benefits. In which case, well, the most rabid anti-tax people generally are getting far more benefits than they pay for (and are busily re-rigging the tax system to tilt even more in their favor).
If the claim was that anti-tax people demand both not paying tax and that others do, then I wouldn't have posted. Although I'd say that just selfish, not hypocritical.
But that is exactly it. They want all the benefits of living in a modern civilized society, but they don't want to pay their share of keeping that society going.
Also, the claim that it's all hypocrisy reminds me of this bit from the TAL episode "What Kind of Country":
Jan Martin: And a gentleman came up to me and actually thanked me for the adopt a street light program. He had just written a check to the city for $300 to turn all the street lights back on in his neighborhood. And I did remind him that for $200 if he had supported the tax initiative, we could have had not only streetlights, but parks and firemen and swimming pools and community centers. That by combining our resources, we as a community can actually accomplish more than we as individuals.
Robert Smith: And he said?
Jan Martin: He said he would never support a tax increase.
Not in the US, which is mostly the offender, and no country will ever attempt to attack it (domestically), even if US kept just 1/10 the military resources it has, unless provoked purposefully for months on end into doing so (e.g. Pearl Harbor).
Politicians focus on bigger voting blocks, while rural communities (in their mind) pay for those promises.
But in the USA, just as coastal areas subsidize inland areas, typically urban areas within a state subsidize the rural areas. Definitely true of California counties, and I'd be very surprised if this wasn't true of any particular state.
If you believe in wealth distribution, then richer coastal or urban areas should help out their brethren in the rural areas and spread the money around. It's when those rural brethren then attack the better off coastal / urban folks as stealing their money that things become problematic.
And then complain about being the neglected or down-trodden ones.
As far as what I prefer: I have no issue subsidizing rural areas, within reason. I support everyone having access to basic infrastructure, healthcare, and education, regardless of where they live. Beyond that, there's no particular reason for government to provide incentives to live in one or the other; let the market sort that out.
NY-SAFE is a good recent example of the city doing one thing despite the objection (as opposed to apathy) of everywhere else.
The reality is that they may not know of the giant pothole on County Road 18 or the rampant littering in certain areas. It may not always work, but informing the local government of issues might get you what you want. After all, you are the constituent that gets those people into office. Let them help you.
While not on the same level as the US, Canada still provides significant farm subsidies, which comes from.. tax revenue!
I feel like this comes up any time someone does something to avoid paying taxes, as if that necessarily means they want no government at all. They (the farmers) will see no appreciable difference whether they pay the tax or buy the tractor, so they choose the tractor. That doesn't mean they don't want roads.
My point: Nobody wants to pay taxes they don't have to, and farmers are no different from upper-middle class blue state residents in that regard. It doesn't mean they literally don't want roads.
That blue state residents already pay more in taxes than they get back is irrelevant. Nobody wants to pay more in taxes, and that doesn't mean nobody wants roads.
Bullshit. I'm happy to pay more in taxes if it means that the society I'm a part of improves as a consequence.
Whether money from a tax increase is well spent is another question, however.
I wonder if this is the result of most people taking the standard deduction instead of itemizing at tax time.
But that being said, a 15-30% discount because you used a different credit card to buy it is a pretty good incentive.
I'd venture that a lot of people are typing all this info into their tax software, which summarily throws it all away without them really understanding that that's what's happening.
Regular folks just do not get this stuff and it's silly that we have such a complicated system.
See also: depreciation on a $150K tractor I didn’t need.
This, in my experience, drives a lot of insane opinions about taxes.
In fact, I can't think of a thing where this isn't the case. Can you provide an example?
If the tax code was easily understood, these steep/jagged areas of the tax curve wouldn't exist. Even my accountant seems to struggle with the amount of variables when I ask similar questions.
"Well if I give you a raise, you won't get more money! Get back to work!"
Farmers aren't stupid. They're doing what makes them the most money in the long run.
In the meetings where farmers as well.
The company said the system was designed by Steve Wozniak at Apple and very reliable.
Farmers did not want to buy it but rent it instead.
When you rent equipment you can claim it as an expense on taxes, anything from a telephone to a computer to tractors, etc. Another reason is if they broke, rental company would fix it or replace it with another one.
Don't you think that PERCEPTION is a horrible mindset?
Less sympathy to people's stresses because they haven't lost their dignity.
This applies to street beggars, immigrants, etc.
The stuff I've heard are appalling. Formally middle class immigrants getting less empathy because they have cell phones. "Hey they should have sold the cell phone thats not a prerequisite to communication in 2017, their priorities are way too off for them to deserve any support"
Back to the topic at hand, maybe thats part of the suicide!
Not to get too off topic here but during my college years I worked at a grocery store. I found it unbelievable how many times I had to listen to a customer complain about the cell phone that the customer who was in front of them had. "I just don't understand how they can afford a cell phone if they are on food stamps!" "Uh cool, would you like plastic or paper?"
Keep in mind that a trac phone plan is less than $15 dollars a month and even cheaper if you are careful with it... but I wouldn't have dared tell the outraged customer that. It's always crazy to me how people think they can solve another persons life problems based on a 15 second observation.
 In Massachusetts the food stamp cards were/are a distinct blue color and easy to spot.
Or is criticism not acceptable at all?
Though what it pushes down isn't all better, with niceties such as "the market is doing a good job at signaling that they probably need to change professions"
Fucking HN. Seriously. I want textfiles back.
> Is it possible to criticize decisions and have empathy at the same time?
Yes, it's possible, but it's not done here.
> Or is criticism not acceptable at all?
Are you projecting? Whenever the glaring soullessnes in a HN thread is criticized, it's downvotes and hair splitting.
Yes, it's technically possible to have empathy and also criticize, but due to the sequential nature of communication even when you do both, you have to decide what to do first. When the whole page is taken up by chatter, the empathy exists somewhere below the "More" fold, if at all.
Yes, criticism is acceptable. As long as criticism of the criticism, such as calling it heartless victim blaming as I would, is also acceptable. Otherwise, the right to criticize is forfeit.
wasn't from the people I saw, typically coworkers, friends, their parents
I would offer this advice, but they are all so clever you can't tell them anything. They are a very insular bunch in general and their tie to their land is a bit more than the blood sweat and tears mentioned below, its a bit more like being the Lord of their Manor. I agree with the top post, they would happily be less profitable to save tax. It is intriguing (but not surprising to me) that many UK farmers voted to leave the EU, despite it being their main source of unearned income and the main market for their goods, and despite the National Farmers Union coming out in favor of remaining. I have noticed the young generation of farmers be openly aggressive towards foreign people (not that they actually meet any). It is kind of sad, but when they all lose their farms after Brexit they will still blame the French for it.
Disclosure: worked a lot with farmers, and have some in the family
Dominic Cummings, architect of the Vote Leave campaign has been pretty open about what they regarded as the winning factors:
" Would we have won without immigration? No. Would we have won without £350m/NHS? All our research and the close result strongly suggests No."
Even though I was a Remain voter I have to credit Vote Leave with how dynamic and data driven their campaign was - they knew what buttons to press based on large quantities of raw data.
Almost all of it was false. There's no credit here.
> they knew what buttons to press based on large quantities of raw data.
Well, they do have a large country backing them.
What I mean is that they managed their campaign in a data driven and dynamic way - even to the point of hiring developers and writing their own polling platform VICS:
Both sides had crappy campaigns full of lies - the Vote Leave lot were unfortunately much better at it.
[Edit: For the avoidance of doubt, I've always been and will remain a strong believer that the UK should be in the EU].
what fears to exploit...
Shame on them.
I see that in my professional life x10. When I suggest 'options' (so you get the option of taking the hedge or the market at the strike date) they scoff at the margin. We are back to Brexit again, they want to have their cake and eat it!
I'm sure you are right that there are some farmers, especially the 'agi-businesses' that are hedging. There seem to be many more that are winging it.
How do we reconcile on the one hand farmers by trade leaving and wannabe farmers wanting to join a farm life?
Regardless of soil suitability, you can't just shuck off a farm worth (tens of) millions, debt on the same scale (average debt-to-assets as of 2017 is ~13% and I would expect the farmers featured here are way worse) and throw out decades of experience to try and grow mushrooms, it's unlikely that it would make your clients and creditors happy. Even less so when you're in your 50s.
Commodity growers on huge farms distribute their food into large grocers potentially all over the world, to be sold at the lowest possible price. They must maximize yields at any cost to make money. Specialty growers sell into farmer's markets, CSA's, etc, at a much higher cost for the goods. This is why many of them are in coastal and affluent areas, where the buyers are willing to pay considerably more for local, fresh produce that has been grown organically.
The image of Blaske on the farm, illuminating the darkness, is a powerful one. “Sometimes the batteries were low and the light was not so bright,” he wrote, “But when you found the cow that was missing, you also found a newborn calf, which made the dark of night much brighter.”
Winter was the worst, fumbling around in the dark, the mud, the cold. Miserable existence.
This cannot be understated. No matter the weather, waiting for the train or walking to the office will never be bad compared to the past.
I don't see much progress on this, unless farming becomes profitable to employ staff on top wages or robots can become cheap enough to take over. Therefore, my family, though managing the farm, will often have to get involved in long hours manual labour.
I saw a documentary on Youtube about Italian dairy farmers, their kids wanted to get out so the farms started importing people from Punjab(India) who were already skilled in dairy handling.
Q: How do we reconcile on the one hand farmers by trade leaving and wannabe farmers wanting to join a farm life?
A: "people who want to do x and have money can end up in a better spot than people who inherited x and have less money?"
Is that not a valid criticism?
But obviously people aren't such rational actors, and farmers have emotional attachments to their farms, the rural areas they grew up in, etc. And so they keep trying to make the old model work, increase their debt loads and hope things will turn around until its too late.
I don't want to set up a straw man here, but a hypothetical analyst could look at this trend and think something special is happening with farming (as mc32 put: "[thinking] that they have a better farming plan or better farming insight over generational farmers") — picture a cover story with the headline "farming is back", now picture a less upmarket story titled "15 reasons to be a farmer (ear of corn emoji)! You won't BELIEVE number 12!".
Whereas it's an iteration of the eternal "strike gold, open a boutique" story.
Me for instance. I live on 80 acres outside Iowa City (a college town). The neighbor does the farming of half the land; he pays rent on the land and suffers the risk all himself.
So best of both worlds for me. I have my orchard, gardens, sheds, tractor (for mowing and plowing) and rural vistas. And work remotely at software for whomever, at about 10X the rate a farmer gets 'paid'.
An orchard would be sweet.
Doesn't that depend on which way the wind blows (you can be exposed to airborne chemicals and organisms)? And what about the water supply - any problem with nitrates, for example?
I envy you to some degree, but my mother's relatives lived on farms and paid heavy dues health-wise for that.
What happened to your mother's relatives?
It also doesn't help that rural America is dying in general, but that's a different matter.
Almost everybody is being squeezed out by 'economies of scale'. And its going to get worse, when we start making simple foodstuffs electrically (starch, sugar, protein). Then we'll see the entire farm industry turned upside down.
Also, in the US, isn't the government required to go with the lowest bidder to some degree on contracts?
Edited: [long paragraph about vfx but the reddit link covers it exactly]
I came across the same model when working with an architecture firm and it makes me wonder if maybe all client services, given the power disparity and need to please, isn't like this. Architecture is far more regulated of course but in the design stages I heard from people that were pissed that they were going to take a bath on a project (and look bad and have their numbers look bad) because an executive wanted to make sure that client was happy (such that they cut a mansion renovation down by 50%) or won't do an add service after a client completely throws stuff out the window and changes the scope of a project.
At least in VFX there was OT and DT. I felt bad for architects that were highly educated, with subsequent loans, and working a lot of overtime but not being compensated for it.
I'll stick with IT, even though that has its own issues.
It sucks that this may be happening in farming, which isn't a 'sexy' industry like architecture or film, but our greater society as a whole seems more cutthroat and bargain-driven these days.
Either way, that's exactly my point. Why would you compete with Amazon on price? They can get anything in larger bulk quantities than you ever could.
OPEC for example exists to create such an atmosphere for its members.
DeBeers managed to keep the price of not-very-scarce diamond comically inflated for many decades.
Monsanto is going to use CRISPR to create its own unique variations of crops (changing the commodity).
You can be in either market, but it is hard to switch between them. The equipment, land area used, process, etc are different.
But, I do know that when I travel abroad (outside the US), the produce seems to taste better. Maybe it really does, or maybe it's just my own biases.
Regardless, we try to buy a substantial portion of our produce at farmers markets, when available (they aren't usually open in the winter months near DC).
Interesting. Do you happen to know what's the state of research on this?
After all, wood is just long chains of sugar.
From there proteins can be created using the sugars as a substrate. Once again, will probably be a biological process. Nutritive yeasts are interesting.
It sounds like subsidizing getting people off the farm would be helpful, but that's also loaded politically.
One program I've heard of working well is subsidizing fallow land that eventually just becomes wild and never returns to cultivation.
Give people meaning
Suicide prevention talks about access to means and methods.
Internationally agro-chemicals are a problem because they're one of the most commonly used methods for death by suicide.
But in the US there's easy access to guns, and so restricting access to agro-chemcials is unlikely to have much effect.
Meanwhile the US population growth is trending toward zero.
Odds are, the US can lose half its farmers over the next 30 years and still increase net food production to match very modest population growth.
I would really like to see a bit more rigor and comparison so I know what is really going on.
1) https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/65/wr/mm6525a1.htm#contribA... table 2
I don't know when it changed so much from my great grandparents days, but when I see farmers with brand new ford raptors and 500k tractors less than a few years old it seems to fly in the face of what my grandparents described as life on a farm.
Then a bad season hits, thanks to climate change. Cant afford food, much less taxes, maybe a mortgage.
Aaaaaaand now we're back to mislabelled sharecropping - or better yet, bottom-dollar buyouts from factory farms that destroy the land, the jobs, and probably your colon, dear reader. Another dust bowl, coming soon!
2008 had very aggressive price appreciation in corn & beans. Same can be said for late 2010, all 2011, all 2012, & early 2013. After that prices have absolutely fallen off a cliff & continue to hover near those lows every single day.
I suspect it's difficult to be in the "risk management" business which farmers are by being "long" the crop in the ground & having no price appreciation for years. Meanwhile all other risk assets continue to explode higher. At some point it probably becomes challenging to find a light at the end of the tunnel. Now with rising interest rates the cost of capital is higher & likely going to accelerate higher.
Higher operating costs (wages & debt service) & continually deperessed prices of the product you produce. I don't have a solution for any of this but by putting myself in those shoes it sure does seem horrible.
But most of them are going to have a difficult time finding any sort of work. Agism and the stigma of being a bumpkin/luddite will absolutely work against them.
I do agree that Democrats should be more inclusive and less impractical with the issues they take, and it's a valuable lesson. However, they should bear in mind the reality of what happened: they fielded an unexpectedly unpopular candidate and the votes show it.
Which is a terrible assumption to make.
Many farmers (at least here in the mid-Atlantic) are college-educated absolutely not bumpkins/Luddites. Unsurprisingly, agricultural programs have a useful blend of business/economics and science.
I have relatives that are dairy farmers in Ontario and they seem to be doing ok. There's some kind of collective in place that establishes production quotas and you have to pay for the right to produce. Maybe more commodity products could benefit from this type of planning.
See also, https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/rob-comme...
Well, that's one way to look at it. Another way is to say it stabilizes a strategically important sector and establishes a minimum wage for dairy farmers. I'd rather pay more for milk than have desperate farmers killing themselves at record rates. There's a societal cost to that as well.
Some lab-based process that produces the same products at the same volume with less impact on the land?
Would that be such a bad thing?
On top, some of them own land, which makes them into multimillionaires the moment the land is turned from farm-land into land that can be used to put houses on.
That sadly isn't an extreme ideologies. Every wonder why Republicans are all for tax cuts? Its the simple idea that if the Government has less money it must be smaller. So lower the taxes of the rich and corporations = smaller government. This is why we have problems all the time with tax talks. Both sides talk with different worldviews. You might say "Trickle Down Economics Doesn't Work," they simply don't care, "There is nothing that Government does well." "Government is the problem" - Ronald Reagan 1981 Inauguration https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1sGN6J9Tgs
Though I love throwing Reagan into the face of today's "Conservatives" they really would HATE Reagan today and his liberal ways.
We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15862439 and marked it well off-topic.
And individual taxes aside, corporate taxes should absolutely be lower, they're among the highest in the world.
So lets say Corporate Tax is a 20% flat tax from 35% the taxes would actually increase. Because they are actually paid at around 15% and no where close to highest in the world. We are actually on par or bellow the average tax rate across the world. https://www.forbes.com/sites/eriksherman/2017/04/24/trumps-c...
Personally I would love to see a drop of corporate federal taxes and place them more on the individuals. Tax the shareholder and those that profit from the corporations. The truth is this isn't happening and why we see the money continually going to the top and not filtering down. Corporations are incentivized to lower wages and benefits to extract more profit. As the economic disparity continues to climb and the burden is placed on the middle and lower class to support profit growth. Looking at taxes for the national safety net for the working poor, higher utilities bills, and higher medical expenses and insurance cost. None of these are of concern for the wealthy.
We can't even have a conversation on what is fair for the working poor and instead we disincentive work in America. The "conservatives" today are just totally Libertarians who could careless if work is incentivized.
I don't think Reagan thought of government size as being a problem since he grew it massively. I think he did rebel against bureaucracies and waste/fraud/abuse, at least rhetorically. Ultimately, the guy was a deal-maker, and he'd happily grow the government (with military at the forefront) if he could get his stimulative tax cuts.
> Though I love throwing Reagan into the face of today's "Conservatives" they really would HATE Reagan today and his liberal ways.
He was as liberal as JFK was, which is to say Reagan was your classic "govt can do some good here"-liberal. Today's true "liberals" are cultural marxists, which ultimately makes them toxic, hence their precipitous decline recently. If the libs could drop the culture war stuff and focus on labor issues and positive right-sized governing, they'd shoot back to popularity. Nothing will improve while power comes chiefly from dividing people and the hatred continues to flow.
Reagan was a moral man and he was a good orator, making him a fine spokesman for America and raising our stock worldwide. That he could reassure and comfort people was the best part about him; the rest of Reagan was muddled goods and bads.
Case in point: Increase the wages and benefits = less government funding. Never going to get backing from Republican Party in its present form. So instead we have this Corporation Welfare system where tax dollars for Walmart's benefits.
I don't know where this "Hillary Clinton isn't liberal" thing comes from, but it is demonstrably untrue.
The platform was built to help bring on Bernie Sander's supports on board. It didn't help with the release of the Russian Hacked DNC Email that was published by wiki leaks. If you look at the emails it is clear how Democrat Leadership saw Bernie as to liberal and to far to the left. Heck in America Canada is equal to communism so I can understand why people view her as a liberal.
> Modulo foreign policy, the daylight between her campaign and the Sanders campaign was pretty narrow.
They weren't as close as you are presenting.
I don't know why you're bringing her up. You're using the term 'liberal', but I haven't got a clue what people mean when they say that anymore. What's your definition?
You say what Hillary is not, but you don't say what she is. I don't separate her in any way from the Democrats politically - at least those who hold power currently - not the rank-and-file of course.
> We are now in the world perception of Democrat = Liberal and Republican = Conservative and its just wrong.
I disagree, you're just assuming everyone's stuck in old tribal thinking when there's so much evidence to the contrary. Haven't you noticed the tectonic shifts in media over the last 5 years? The boomers are starting to die off, their power is waning, and the younger generations are restless. #metoo works because the majority is disgusted by what they see. Look at how many congress-rats are jumping ship at the end of this cycle.
The Republican party is dying for abandoning their base in order to cling to power, despite their fundraising. The Democrats are losing seats everywhere, have not been grooming enough replacements for the old-timers, and won't shake the loser 60's radical ideology - they might as well just die too.
> Case in point: Increase the wages and benefits = less government funding.
Why would you believe that taxes are a zero-sum game? Not that it always works out this way, because the economy has cycles, but you can stimulate economic activity by taxing less which does create growth that yields net increases in tax revenue.
Ask yourself, could your "tax more == more revenue" mental model be too simplistic? Who put that assumption in your head, and why is that idea so powerful for them when you accept it? (My theory is: a human tendency to treat the top of one's conceptual hierarchy as god/religion and the desire to sacrifice to the gods. If government is at the top of your hierarchy, certainly taxes are a worthy sacrifice to the good!)
I'll posit a related question; I don't know the answer because I'm not an economist, but I think it's a good one nonetheless: is there a scientifically/statistically optimal tax rate that we could tweak once a year based on forecasts and trends? Why have we not done this already if maximizing revenue is the goal? I go so far as to claim that for most people on the left (radical or not), maximizing tax revenue is never the goal, just a standard talking point when discussing tax cuts.
Uh, the Democrats never, as a national party, had a “60s radical ideology”, and since the 1990s have been a solidly pro-big-business center-right neoliberal party barely distinguishable from late 1980s Republicans but for some equal rights stands; that's weakened a bit in the last few years, and may have hit a tipping point after the 2016 election, though its kind of hard to tell for sure with the Dems lacking any of the national power centers.
60's radical ideology is what I understand stems from the Marxist shift from class struggle to oppressed identity groups in the 60's as a means of staying relevant. Here's a discussion about this phenomena on Wikipedia:
This is cultural Marxism. This brand of politics is pessimistic, negative, divisive and wicked by nature. It foments discontent. And notice that it only seeks to lift the oppressed minorities up by bringing the oppressive majority down! Sounds like typical democrat rhetoric to me.
60's boomers' clock is ticking, the radical ideas just fading away to obscurity now... Time for some fresh thinking on the left.
No, it's actually Marxism losing relevance in favor of something radically different, but in any case it's fairly irrelevant to the Democratic Party which never generally adopted a ”New Left” position, following classical moderate, non-Marxist pro-labor focus into the 80s, then abandoning that and anything like the Left generally for the center-right neoliberalism of Clinton's “Third Way”.
I had not considered what you say as a possibility. I always thought the Marxists were the real power in the Democratic party and they implemented their policies slowly and incrementally.
Does neoliberalism really hold sway in the Democratic party and what I considered incremental marxism was really just left-of-center Clintonian politics? How does the constant ratcheting up of identity politics stuff fit in to your theory, though? It seems integral to Democratic power and is ideologically not Clintonian.
The most powerful faction in the Democratic Party are center-right neoliberals like the Clintons, the next most powerful are center-left Social Democrats (including what passes in the US, but not really by international standards, for “Democratic Socialists”.) There are essentially no Marxists in influential roles in the Party. There's probably a few Marxists (or Leninists/Stalinist/Maoists) in the electorate that hold their nose and vote for Democrats as, from their perspective, the very slightly lesser of two evils (and probably some who vote for Republicans as the greater evil in hopes of provoking revolution), but they aren't really driving the party, either by having their hands on levers of power or being an actively courted constituency.
> Does neoliberalism really hold sway in the Democratic party and what I considered incremental marxism was really just left-of-center Clintonian politics?
The first, yes, the second...well, insofar as it is not Marxist, sure.
> How does the constant ratcheting up of identity politics stuff fit in to your theory, though?
While there are Left forms of identity politics, other-than-proletarian-identity politics are not Marxist even when they are somewhere on the Left, though the practitioners (even among right-wing identity politics) may draw something from Marxist (or Leninist) tactics or analytical modes (Marx's adaptation of Hegelian dialectic is widely influential in this way), but this doesn't make the movements involved politically Marxist.
And while the Democratic Party does include some who pursue Left forms of identity politics, it predominantly pursued bourgeois feminism and the similar bourgeois versions of other group-rights movements, rather than any of the Left (for instance, radical, socialist, or Marxist) versions.
While to anti-feminists (etc.) the distinction may seem irrelevant, it's actually quite critical to leftists of all stripes.
Bourgeois identity politics (and the fairly overt rejection of Left identity politics) is a fairly key part of Clintonian Third Wayism.
My gut tells me your assessment is wrong - that the Clintonian Third Wayism you describe is waning - chiefly evidenced by Obama being so much further to the left and comparatively weak/confused on foreign policy as compared with the Clintons. Maybe I place too much weight on the presidency and not enough on Congress. I admit to being largely ignorant about how center-right or left-leaning the congressional Democrat's policy positions actually are.
> it predominantly pursued bourgeois feminism and the similar bourgeois versions of other group-rights movements, rather than any of the Left (for instance, radical, socialist, or Marxist) versions.
That the Democratic Party embraces identity politics was my impression as well. I can see by your explanation how that doesn't require marxist tendencies to work. I still don't agree with dividing people into groups and pitting them against one another, though. But at least I see the differences in motive, so thanks for explaining that.
> Bourgeois identity politics (and the fairly overt rejection of Left identity politics) is a fairly key part of Clintonian Third Wayism.
I can see that as well, which was my confusion! I wish the Clintons were better people, there's a lot to like about their philosophy in the abstract.
It is waning, as evidenced by how competitive Sanders was in the primary and how popular Sanders remains, though the neoliberal faction is still dominant; but Obama wasn't significantly further to the left than Clinton (not was his administration nearly as weak and fumbling on substantive foreign policy as the Clinton administration, not that that, in either direction, says anything about the dominance of Third Wayism.)
> That the Democratic Party embraces identity politics was my impression as well.
So, incidentally, has the Republican Party for a long time. Christian identity politics, obviously for quite a long time, but also since the Southern Strategy White identity politics (with a sharp uptick recently in n how overt and direct their appeals on both are.)
I want cold, scientific, numbers-based, optimized rate setting.
I wish you were correct but what evidence? Facebook and the Internet has increased Tribalism to Yellow Journalism levels. We have Breitbart and MSNBC. People mostly just read news and opinions that they agree with and don't listen to the other side.
> The Republican party is dying for abandoning their base in order to cling to power, despite their fundraising. The Democrats are losing seats everywhere, have not been grooming enough replacements for the old-timers, and won't shake the loser 60's radical ideology - they might as well just die too.
Um not certain what your point is but the issue is the Gerrymandering and electoral college. This is the second president this century to win with a minority of votes. The issue is the unfair way voters votes are manipulated in states, i.e. Wisconsin. https://www.brennancenter.org/blog/5-things-know-about-wisco...
> could your "tax more == more revenue" mental model be too simplistic?
Wait what? If you mean that if working poor made more money they would need less benifits????
> I don't know the answer because I'm not an economist, but I think it's a good one nonetheless:
Your asking a political science question. Economist don't get to say what our tax rates are but our politicians and there isn't one economist in the bunch. Here is one article for you https://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21731166-house-republ...
Obama ran great campaigns, including social networks where his opponents did not -- won in landslides. Same with Trump and Hillary. Winners targeted, with laser focus, on individuals. The messages resonated; people DID listen to the other side!
Meanwhile, especially in the last two years, traditional media has totally faltered. News agencies rocked by fake news scandals, Hollywood getting #metoo'd up the keister, Amazon acquiring WaPo. YouTube is TV for a lot of kids. It's a huge shakeup going on.
Hillary was a terrible candidate. There's no excuse for losing some of the states she lost. I don't get the opposition to the Electoral College system, it's a check on large population cities/states running the board. Hillary would have creamed Trump if she had any substance.
> Wait what? If you mean that if working poor made more money they would need less benifits????
No, I just took your "Case in point" about increased wages and benefits as equating to less tax revenues being collected (you had "less government spending" on the right, which I read as govt having less to spend.) Maybe I misread your point as it pertained to repubs, sorry if I did. I agree repubs are all talk on cutting spending.
> Your asking a political science question. Economist don't get to say what our tax rates are but our politicians and there isn't one economist in the bunch.
It really shakes my confidence, what are any of these numbers based on?? It's a miracle anything works at all.
And.... there's your answer.
He was a strong candidate
> I don't get the opposition to the Electoral College system
I'm not and I agree, but I am talking local elections and state elections are minimizing votes and then on top of that we have 2 minority vote presidents discourage people's voting.
> No, I just took your "Case in point" about increased wages and benefits as equating to less tax revenues being collected
No I just think the right thing to do is to make the working poor have a better incentive to keep work and they will spend. Give money top the Rich and it sits in a bank. I am not for Small Government I am for efficient government which I believe includes out nation safety net :)
> It really shakes my confidence, what are any of these numbers based on??
Numbers and facts mean nothing in today's conversations. Taxes have and always will be a political tool of conservatives and libertarians (AKA neo-anarcist)
In 2012? After Obamacare?? Not so strong! Romney ran a traditional campaign with broken-ass digital and get out the vote. Trump was savvy. He spent big on comment bots and social ads, Hill had none of that because she had no clue how to campaign, form a compelling message, budget, be truthful, etc.
> I am not for Small Government I am for efficient government which I believe includes out nation safety net
If we could only prioritize ...
> a political tool of conservatives and libertarians (AKA neo-anarcist)
And liberals are pure of heart and would never use tax as a political weapon? Please, hehe.