For many years, the United States Congress has exercised its powers to investigate controversial topics, including foreign policy, presidential power and federal spending. Often, Congress has used its legal authority to compel other authorities to provide information, as members carry out their necessary and proper power to make and execute federal laws. However, the U.S. Supreme Court continues to grapple with challenging questions on the limits of Congressional authority to compel information. The Court recently decided to dismiss a case that would have addressed a pressing question regarding Congress’ authority to demand information from an executive agency. This case represents a hallmark of separation of powers, and the Federalist debate.
While the Great Depression affected almost all sectors of the United States economy, the farming industry, which employed nearly a quarter of the country’s population, was hit particularly hard. In response, one of the first laws passed by the Roosevelt Administration was the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1933 (AAA). Although it had good intentions at the time, the AAA has largely devolved into direct handouts to farmers, overwhelmingly incentivizing the production of only five crops: corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton and rice.
While government subsidies persist, the agriculture industry has changed drastically. Despite representing only 10% of incentive recipients, large corporations now control much of the farming industry and receive almost 66% of subsidy dollars.