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That the AAA program is not "a program", but a mass of conflicting ideas at war with other equally unharmonious branches of the government is well known. But Garet Garrett's surprisingly objective account of its complexities, in these days of political and meaningless rhetoric, is much needed. Once there is compulsion to limit production and raise prices "there is a kind of progression to it" until the AAA becomes almost all-embracing in scope, and affects people in ways other than their productive capacities. Thus the AAA, which by its nature must be relatively static, and based on supposed fixities of population, among other things, runs afoul the tendency of urban unemployed to flock to rural areas where they expect to make some sort of living. Where then is the solution unless the government buys up "surplus" land?
Therefore the Government does just that. On this land live farmers who make a living from it, even if it is of a marginal kind. Hence, under this "resettlement program" they are removed to other and better land, financed by the Government. There if he is to make a living "above the margin" he must produce a salable surplus of goods--which of course knocks the AAA limited production plan out of its hypothetical balance again.
The rehabilitation program is another example of the government energetically pursuing its way about a circle, only to meet itself half-way coming back. One out of fourteen of the farm population are to be "rehabilitated" with the Government again doing the underwriting. Should the program be successful, the once poverty-stricken farmers will be producing beyond the dreams of their forerunners with individualistic tendencies. This program alone, providing it were successful, would be enough to destroy the AAA lock, stock, and barrel. The conservation program and government services instructing the farmer how to grow more per unit of land are merely other cases in point.
The AAA has tried to compromise with itself and with other government agencies where no compromise is possible. Either the AAA must beat a complete retreat, or we must accept a thorough-going socialistic regime. Either the government must have absolute control of land, people, and industry in order to coordinate all the factors in production, or government must allow individual initiative relatively complete freedom. It is an inescapable choice which lies before us. Yet the present administration does not clearly recognize this fact, apparently thinks it is possible to exist half-slave and half-free.
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