It seems like barely a week goes by without some new group realizing that its ox is being gored by unforeseen consequences of Obamacare, but what is interesting as the train continues to go off the rails is that those who are complaining the loudest this week make up some of the bedrock of the original supporters of the Regime and its policies.


This week, those being gored are the folks from the back to the land movement, conservationists, supporters of community supported agriculture, and folks who generally support organic farming, which includes the rich folk in the Boston suburbs who can afford to buy chemical free, pesticide free, anti biotic free food, while the poor eat high fructose corn syrup laden crap. Based upon the news reports, I would bet that this group voted 90% for Obama in 2012.


Here’s the issue–pastoral economics. As it happens, the way that small-scale farming, particularly farming coops, CSAs and organic farming works, costs are addressed and planned in a way that is not really typical of the way most business organizations operate. It turns out that the biggest threat to organic farming and sustainable agriculture,  and it may be an existential threat, is the  cost of health care under Obamacare. To really try and get hold of this issue, an economist friend at MIT directed my attention to Gen Logsdon’s book, the Contrary Farmer, which has a rare full chapter on pastoral economics. Its worth reading the book, if you can find it, and you likely won’t find it on the web, but the basic point is that pastoral economics are not profit driven as much as sustainability driven, which allows them to produce food without running into the problem that if a farm is found to be extremely profitable it will be bought up by Big Agra. For the past thirty-five years, towns around the country, including in Massachusetts, have worked hard to preserve farm land and local food production, to the point of subsidizing farm through tax incentives and agricultural easements. The idea is to minimize the value of the land, and to provide means to minimize labor costs, with the return being land banked farm fields, fresh food, lower carbon emissions and smug bragging rights to being environmentally superior. Now, along comes Obamacare, and threatens to wipe out all of this, as Obamacare threatens to be the tipping point to make small, local farming unsustainable by requiring farms to finance ruinously expensive health care. Here’s a quote from Logsdon:


“price-profit economy presupposes the exchange of labor-power for cash; the payment of a part of the cash in taxes in exchange for regimentation, and the expenditure of the remainder in the market for food, clothing gadgets and other commodities. The individual who accepts this formula is at the mercy of the labor market, the commodity market and the State…”


Over the years, local and state policy has smoothed the obstacles to local, sustainable and organic and community supported farming through incentives and exclusion from certain business regulations. In short, small-scale farming purposefully runs at a loss, while engaging in labor practices that precludes state action which regulates business and employment practices in profit-driven industry.  Obamacare is pre empting all of this and, compelling small local farms to comply with Obamacare, threatening to utterly undermine and wipe out our local agricultural sector. How interesting and refreshing it was, this weekend, to hear liberals from Weston and Wellesley and Lincoln ranting on public radio  about the evils of the federal government and obamacare, as it begins to undermine not only local governing initiatives but also the availability to the rich Democrats of pesticide free lettuce. It now appears that you have a constitutional right to drive your Lexus SUV to pick up your carbon-free strawberries, and who is Obama to say they can’t? No one mentioned, coincidentally, that Obama was a farm-state Senator, and that Obamacare in this instance is going to be a huge boon to well-funded agribusiness.


The cars just keep following the loco off the rails….


It seems like barely a week goes by without some new group realizing that its ox is being gored by unforeseen consequences of Obamacare, but what is interesting as the train continues to go off the rails is that those who are complaining the loudest this week make up some of the bedrock of the original supporters of the Regime and its policies.

This week, those being gored are the folks from the back to the land movement, conservationists, supporters of community supported agriculture, and folks who generally support organic farming, which includes the rich folk in the Boston suburbs who can afford to buy chemical free, pesticide free, anti biotic free food, while the poor eat high fructose corn syrup laden crap. Based upon the news reports, I would bet that this group voted 90% for Obama in 2012.

Here’s the issue–pastoral economics. As it happens, the way that small-scale farming, particularly farming coops, CSAs and organic farming works, costs are addressed and planned in a way that is not really typical of the way most business organizations operate. It turns out that the biggest threat to organic farming and sustainable agriculture,  and it may be an existential threat, is the  cost of health care under Obamacare. To really try and get hold of this issue, an economist friend at MIT directed my attention to Gen Logsdon’s book, the Contrary Farmer, which has a rare full chapter on pastoral economics. Its worth reading the book, if you can find it, and you likely won’t find it on the web, but the basic point is that pastoral economics are not profit driven as much as sustainability driven, which allows them to produce food without running into the problem that if a farm is found to be extremely profitable it will be bought up by Big Agra. For the past thirty-five years, towns around the country, including in Massachusetts, have worked hard to preserve farm land and local food production, to the point of subsidizing farm through tax incentives and agricultural easements. The idea is to minimize the value of the land, and to provide means to minimize labor costs, with the return being land banked farm fields, fresh food, lower carbon emissions and smug bragging rights to being environmentally superior. Now, along comes Obamacare, and threatens to wipe out all of this, as Obamacare threatens to be the tipping point to make small, local farming unsustainable by requiring farms to finance ruinously expensive health care. Here’s a quote from Logsdon:

“price-profit economy presupposes the exchange of labor-power for cash; the payment of a part of the cash in taxes in exchange for regimentation, and the expenditure of the remainder in the market for food, clothing gadgets and other commodities. The individual who accepts this formula is at the mercy of the labor market, the commodity market and the State…”

Over the years, local and state policy has smoothed the obstacles to local, sustainable and organic and community supported farming through incentives and exclusion from certain business regulations. In short, small-scale farming purposefully runs at a loss, while engaging in labor practices that precludes state action which regulates business and employment practices in profit-driven industry.  Obamacare is pre empting all of this and, compelling small local farms to comply with Obamacare, threatening to utterly undermine and wipe out our local agricultural sector. How interesting and refreshing it was, this weekend, to hear liberals from Weston and Wellesley and Lincoln ranting on public radio  about the evils of the federal government and obamacare, as it begins to undermine not only local governing initiatives but also the availability to the rich Democrats of pesticide free lettuce. It now appears that you have a constitutional right to drive your Lexus SUV to pick up your carbon-free strawberries, and who is Obama to say they can’t? No one mentioned, coincidentally, that Obama was a farm-state Senator, and that Obamacare in this instance is going to be a huge boon to well-funded agribusiness.

The cars just keep following the loco off the rails….