Guns and butter
That liberal rag the New York Times has some good stuff on its op-ed pages today, one about our nation's gun laws -- or lack thereof -- and the other about its back-asswards farm policies.
From the former:
A short, smart public safety agenda would include:
¶ Requiring background checks for every gun purchase. That means closing the egregious loophole that permits unlicensed dealers to sell firearms at gun shows without conducting any background check.
¶ Limiting purchases to one gun a month in order to defeat traffickers who use straw purchasers to buy weapons in bulk and then resell them on the street.
¶ Once again banning the sale of military-style assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines like those used by the Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University killers. These magazines would have been outlawed under the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, but President Bush and the Republican Congress recklessly let it expire in 2004 to please the gun lobby.
And from the latter:
The commodity farm program effectively forbids farmers who usually grow corn or the other four federally subsidized commodity crops (soybeans, rice, wheat and cotton) from trying fruit and vegetables. Because my watermelons and tomatoes had been planted on “corn base” acres, the Farm Service said, my landlords were out of compliance with the commodity program.
I’ve discovered that typically, a farmer who grows the forbidden fruits and vegetables on corn acreage not only has to give up his subsidy for the year on that acreage, he is also penalized the market value of the illicit crop, and runs the risk that those acres will be permanently ineligible for any subsidies in the future. (The penalties apply only to fruits and vegetables — if the farmer decides to grow another commodity crop, or even nothing at all, there’s no problem.)