Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was campaigning in Iowa yesterday and, inevitably, went native. He---oh, hey, what a coincidence!---also released a 16-page white paper outlining his plan for rural America, which consists of four main ideas:
- Implement effective tax policies to support family farms and strong agribusiness.
- Pursue trade policies that expand upon the success of the agriculture sector, not limit it.
- Create a regulatory environment that is commonsense and cost-effective.
- Achieve energy independence on this continent by 2020.
These aren't the typical subsidize-and-control policies that are usually associated with agricultural policy in the United States (which is not to say they are good ideas). But Mr. Romney betrayed his bias towards managing things---in a "commonsense" and "cost-effective" way, of course---in his remarks to the crowd. Politico reports:
“The big difference between the president and me, he has no plan for rural America, no plan for agriculture, no plan for getting America back to work,” Romney said. “I’m going to make sure I help the American people, and the American farmer, and get America working again.”
A quick fact-check: Obama does have a plan for agriculture. He endorsed the Senate-passed farm bill, and he (and his wife) have meddled plenty in agriculture and food policy in this country. But that's not the point I am trying to make here.
Instead of launching and bragging about his "plan," Mr. Romney would better serve the American people by giving them a clear alternative to current farm policy: an alternative that consists of no plan for agriculture, or rural America generally, at all. Let those folks get on with the business of farming, and give American taxpayers and consumers a break.