The Federal government's involvement in the 1930's Dust Bowl.Submitted by RC Liberty on Mon, 04/15/2013 - 11:23
I've been reading a book titled The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl by Timothy Egan.
The book gives you a first hand look into the lives of several people who settled in the northern Texas, southern Colorado, western Kansas, and western Oklahoma area during the early half of the 20th century. During the 1910's and 20's this place settled quickly, and farmers turned huge profits selling wheat. In the 1930's, disaster struck as one of the worst natural disasters of the modern era took hold of the region. I thought I would share a passage of this book explaining the US governments role in this disaster:
"People were pouring into town, taking up rooms at the Crystal Hotel -- suitcase farmers who had no intention of ever settling there. They wanted only to rent out a tractor and a piece of ground for a few days, drop some winter wheat into the fresh-turned fold, and come back next summer for the payoff. It was a game of chance called "trying to hit a crop." One suitcase farmer broke thirty-two thousand acres in southeast Kansas in 1921. Four years later, he plowed twice that amount. The banks seldom said no. After Congress passed the Federal Farm Loan Act in 1916, every town with a well and a sheriff had itself a farmland bank -- an institution! -- offering forty-year loans at six percent interest. Borrow five thousand dollars and payments were less than thirty-five dollars a month. Any man with a John Deere and a half-section could cover that nut. If it was hubris, or "tempting fate" as some of the church ladies said, well, the United States government did not see it that way. The government had already issued its offical view of the rapid churning of ancient prairie sod. "The soil is the one indestructible, immutable asset that the nation possesses," the Federal Bureau of Soils proclaimed as the grasslands were transformed. "It is the one resource that cannot be exhausted, that cannot be used up."
A decade later, disaster ensued. Yet another example of the US government misallocating resources. I would love to hear Dr. Paul's take on this subject. Thanks for reading!