The political impossibility of ending farm subsidies - despite the impeccable logic - has caused more payment opponents to consider a buyout.
Unfortunately the very political power that keeps farmers on the government payroll means that an outright and overnight end to farm programs is unlikely without "financial inducement." An up-front buyout of existing trade barriers and farm subsidies, based on (but less than) the present discounted value of seven years of expected payments—5 years representing the approximate tenure of a farm bill, plus two bonus years—might do the trick. Based on current spending projections, that could cost somewhere in the vicinity of $75 billion.The psychological scheme here is we farmers will opt for money now and to heck with the future. While I can entertain that strategy as plausible, it only seems likely if producers are convinced the subsidies are going to end anyway. There is the tough idea to swallow.
Repealing the permanent farm legislation is required for this option to be credible.
[I'll try to post more on this plan from The Cato Institute after it is released Wednesday.]