A Rotten System: Subsidizing Environmental Degradation and Poor Public Health with Our Nation's Tax Dollars
98 Pages Posted: 21 Oct 2008 Last revised: 17 Jun 2014
The attached article, A Rotten System: Subsidizing Environmental Degradation and Poor Public Health with Our Nation's Tax Dollars, is a scholarly piece that I wrote as my LL.M. thesis at Vermont Law School. This article thoroughly analyzes the United States Farm Bill to highlight the grave societal implications of buttressing our nation's industrial agricultural system with ever-larger subsidies. Specifically, this article first provides a brief history of both American agriculture and the Farm Bill before scrutinizing the far-reaching effects of the Farm Bill on rural development, U.S. immigration, international trade, and hunger and poverty in the developing world. Next, the article discusses the Farm Bill's attempts to implement conservation measures before exposing the failures of such efforts and examining the severe environmental consequences of a subsidized industrial agricultural system. The article then reviews the Farm Bill's role in U.S. nutritional programs before underscoring the sheer inadequacy of such programs and surveying the deleterious public health impacts caused by our nation's agricultural policies. Finally, the article concludes by re-centering the discussion on Farm Bill reform by proposing an innovative policy solution that can single-handedly solve many of the problems identified in the preceding chapters.
Keywords: Farm Bill, environmental degradation, industrial agriculture, megafarm, water, soil, wildlife impacts, public health, obesity, sustainable agriculture, organic farming
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