February 5, 1999

The Honorable Albert Gore Jr.
Vice President of the United States
Office of the Vice President
The White House
Washington, DC 20502

Dear Vice President Gore:

I am writing to you today to share my concerns regarding the proposed pork industry bail out. Realizing that you are a busy man, I will try to be brief.

Our country has always shown great pride in its capitalist and free enterprise economic philosophy and practice. A fundamental principle of that system, I believe, is the economic law of supply and demand. While I do not have a background in economics, I am aware that the supply-demand curve according to theoretical economics influences the prices within the market segment it represents. It would follow that in a market/industry in which supply is high and demand low, prices would be low and the suppliers would make an effort to 1) reduce inventory and 2) reduce production of that industry's product(s) until such a time as the supply and the demand reconciled. However, what usually happens is exactly what we are seeing proposed now, the government steps in and bails out the industry "suffering" from a sales/consumer slump.

The problem I see with this solution is two-fold. One problem I see is the government is committing funds to a private sector industry (in this case $50 million). In order for these funds to be given to the pork industry they must be taken away from some other source. Even if these funds are tacked on over and above current allotments within the budget--so that no other segment of the budget is depleted--certainly they will add to our country's already climbing deficit.

The other problem I see is the effect this handout will have on farmers. To use a cliché, it is putting a band-aid on a broken bone. It puts the farmers in a position of dependence on the government. If the government does not bail them out, they may have a rough year or two, suffering losses at the hand of a slumping market, but wouldn't the end result be a more realistic expectation of the market and an eventual balance between the supply and demand for pork products? Every business man, from the small farmer to the CEO of a multi-million dollar company takes risks when they invest whether its in seed, piglets or software. The government certainly can't be there to shoulder the responsibility for every businessman who gambles on the market and loses.

On a more personal note, Mr. Gore, I am a vegetarian and an advocate of animal rights. I choose in the course of my daily life with the money I spend NOT to support the meat and/or pork industry. When I pay my taxes and the government uses those tax dollars to bail out a meat-based industry, it is negating my choice NOT to support an industry which I object to on moral and ethical grounds. I am an advocate of peace but certainly realize that some of my tax dollars may go towards the propagation of weapons for the purposes of national defense and security. While I may not enjoy knowing my contribution can be spent on explosive means of destruction, I can reconcile this with the country's basic need for protection, for our country's preservation. With all due respect, the pork farmers' wallets are not a matter of national defense or security.

In summation, I am opposed to a government bail out of the pork farmers and industry. I hope you will thoughtfully consider my arguments and re-evaluate this proposed plan.


Leigh-Anne Dennison