The bird flu returns

The annual influenza scare is upon us.  It’s rather tame by 21st century standards.  The powers that be aren’t claiming it’s going to kill all of us this time.  But that isn’t stopping Uncle Sam from handing out some big fat checks to one of their favorite special interests, the American farmer.

Several Midwestern governors have declared states of emergency, opening the door for Federal funds.  Why is it the State’s job to bail out poultry farmers when some chickens get sick?  Is that somehow going to increase the supply of chickens?  No, the sick ones are dead or dying.  Money isn’t going to change that.  The price of eggs, turkey, and chicken has already increased in accordance with the law of supply and demand.  If you want chicken, you’ll have to pay a little more for it.  Some people will choose not to buy chicken, and therefore people who really want it and are willing to pay the higher prices can still get it. The market works.

So what are the federal funds for?  My guess is they’re just to help some of these giant agriculture corporations continue to turn a profit.  I mean if they didn’t bail them out and Tyson or Perdue took a loss this year, does that mean the poultry industry would cease to exist?  No one would ever raise a chicken again?  Of course not.

I assume one argument is that it will help them deal with the outbreak so it doesn’t continue to spread, but again I have to ask, don’t Tyson and Perdue have the resources to deal with this?  If the Feds didn’t hand over a couple billion, would they really just sit back and watch every single chicken in the USA die of bird flu?  I think these questions answer themselves.

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