Once upon a time, it was popular to say that the U.S. government only had enough wheat stored up to provide everyone in America with half a loaf of bread. But that is not true anymore. Recently, I discovered that the U.S. does not have any strategic grain reserves left at all. Zero. Nada. Zilch. As you will see below, the USDA liquidated the remaining reserves back in 2008. So if a major food crisis hit this country, our government would have nothing to give us. Of course the federal government could always go out and try to buy or seize food to feed the population during a major emergency, but that wouldn’t actually increase the total amount of food that was available. Instead, it would just give the government more power over who gets it.
The U.S. strategic grain reserve was initially created during the days of the Great Depression. Back then, the wisdom of storing up food for hard times was self-evident. Unfortunately, over time interest in this program faded, and at this point there is no strategic grain reserve in the United States at all. The following comes from the Los Angeles Times…
The modern concept of a strategic grain reserve was first proposed in the 1930s by Wall Street legend Benjamin Graham. Graham’s idea hinged on the clever management of buffer stocks of grain to tame our daily bread’s tendencies toward boom and bust. When grain prices rose above a threshold, supplies could be increased by bringing reserves to the market — which, in turn, would dampen prices. And when the price of grain went into free-fall and farmers edged toward bankruptcy, the need to fill the depleted reserve would increase the demand for corn and wheat, which would prop up the price of grain.
Following Graham’s theory, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created a grain reserve that helped rally the price of wheat and saved American farms during the Depression. In the inflationary 1970s, the USDA revamped FDR’s program into the Farmer-Owned Grain Reserve, which encouraged farmers to store grain in government facilities by offering low-cost and even no-interest loans and reimbursement to cover the storage costs. But over the next quarter of a century the dogma of deregulated global markets came to dominate American politics, and the 1996 Freedom to Farm Act abolished our national system of holding grain in reserve.
As for all that wheat held in storage, it became part of the Bill Emerson Humanitarian Trust, a food bank and global charity under the authority of the secretary of Agriculture. The stores were gradually depleted until 2008, when the USDA decided to convert all of what was left into its dollar equivalent. And so the grain that once stabilized prices for farmers, bakers and American consumers ended up as a number on a spreadsheet in the Department of Agriculture. ….
Just a silly oversight, like forgetting that housing mortgages don’t become prime just because fanny mae and freddie mac are forced to buy them. Or that exported industries cease to create american jobs. Or that the fed is privately controlled and managed in closed meetings attended only by representatives of businesses best positioned to profit from knowing its decisions in advance. Or that the “fed”, the CIA and the IRS are private corporations registered in delaware with registration numbers 0042817, 4979825 and 0325720, respectively. See http://corp.delaware.gov/onlinestatus.shtml
Or forgetting that people need food to survive, just before killing the golden-egg-laying goose which was the world dollar system.
Just a comedy of errors.