"The government is bailing out the banks...but who's going to bail out the government?" asks Texas cotton farmer Ken Gallaway, a vocal critic of agricultural subsidies that cost U.S. taxpayers and consumers billions of dollars a year in direct payments and higher prices for farm goods.
Agricultural subsidies were put in place in the 1930s during the Great Depression, when 25 percent of Americans lived on farms. At the time, Secretary of Agriculture Henry Wallace called them "a temporary solution to deal with an emergency." Those programs are still in place today, even though less than 1 percent of Americans currently live on farms that are larger, more efficient, and more productive than ever before.