While its a bit far afield from my gunny readers, I would take note of the failure to pass a Farm Bill for 2012. The House has recessed, making it a virtual certainty that there will be no replacement when the current bill sunsets, at the end of the month.
There are a few ways this will affect the population.
Firstly, scheduled farm subsidies will not have authority to be paid. I know, the Libertarian in me objects to farm subsidies, but the farmer in me knows theres precious little profit in it at ground level, and this money helps defray that fact. The subsidies may ne paod anyway, but without an active farm bill, there is no current authority to do so. This will have the effect of ruining more than a couple farmers that are on the edge. Further, it will reduce the food supply for next year, causing prices to rise.
Second, the authority to issue foos stamps is tied to the farm bill. In much the same way, food stamps MAY continue to go out- this will be entirely deficit money, as there is no law (LITERALLY NO LAW) that authorizes or even defines the rules for food stamps. If the check fails to go out- expect riots. Lots of riots. Because all those people receiving them will be both hungry and confused (and probably pissed off that their free money is not appearing).
Third, an issue related to the first. There is one farm bill that remains in effect, as it has no sunset provision. The farm bill of 1949 sets some subsidies based on the purchasing power of product raised. This is not ideal, because the food price has changed a LOT since this bill went into effect. The long and short of this is that food products will be worth more poured out on the ground and lit on fire than they are sold to consumers. Without a DRASTIC rise in food cost, we may easily see valuable food going to waste while starving people riot over the loss of their panum et circensis.
Unless this gets ironed out, be concerned. Very concerned.
Stay safe out there.