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Commentary: Lawyers should whine for tax credits too

Reading the local progressive newspaper the other day, I came across a story about some farmers and municipalities who want land designated as “agricultural enterprise areas.”

If that were to happen, the farmers would get annual tax credits of $5 to $10 per acre, in exchange for agreeing to keep the land in farm production for at least 15 years.

Apparently, the Luddites don’t like it when farmland is put to more productive uses. They complain that both the number of individual farms and acres being farmed are less than they were in 1970.

Ignored in the report is that, despite these declines, actual agricultural output has skyrocketed. A reasonable person would declare this marvelous efficiency, progress and a good thing.

But Luddites are not reasonable people, and that’s not how they talk.

The Agriculture Department’s ultimate plan is to subsidize 1 million acres through the program.

My initial reaction, needless to say, was to bellow: “If a person doesn’t want a given acre of farmland to be developed for more productive uses, he should go buy it and farm it; otherwise, he should shut his mouth, because he has no right to dictate whether it is used for manufacturing, retail development, or heaven forbid, McMansions. And anyone who suggests that other taxpayers should subsidize this nonsense is an enemy of Western Civilization.”

But then I thought about it some more, and decided that the farmers may be on to something, and that lawyers need to get in on these handouts, too.

One of the farmers in the article was quoted as saying, "If we get to the point where we don't have the area to grow our own food and we're dependent on imports for food, are we all going to say, 'Geez, I wish we would have done something to try to keep that here?'”

Obviously, it would be much worse if we ever got to the point where he had to import legal services, don’t you think?

After all, practicing law is a lot more important than farming. Without lawyers, who would protect Wisconsin corporations from greedy, evil legislators and bureaucrats?

Accordingly, I propose that we all lobby the graftgrubbers in Madison to give us tax credits in exchange for using the space in our law offices exclusively for the purpose of practicing law.

Unlike these farmers, though, there is no way we should settle for a lousy $5 to $10 per acre. Ten bucks per square foot of office space sounds a lot fairer to me. What about you?

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