The Federal Government's $714 million drought package provoked predictable howls of indignation from Adam Smith's undead army of economic rationalists.
"Why the special treatment for farmers?" they cried, "Stop encouraging uncompetitive businesses!" - revealing a gross lack of understanding of the issue at hand.
Firstly - there were questions as to why farmers should be 'propped up', while other struggling businesses weren't afforded similar relief. There were claims that drought support represented preferential treatment for a sector that holds sentimental attachment for many Australians and that differential treatment was unfair.
The thing is - agriculture IS different to the other businesses. In case of other sectors, a struggling business is a struggling business and the fundamentals are unlikely to be turned around quickly.
In farming, it's a different story. A succcessful, viable business (let's not forget that prior to receiving exceptional circumstance funding, all farm businesses have to undergo a viability test) can be crippled by climatic vagaries.
Equally - the same business will bounce back hard should there be improved conditions.
Yes - farmers in some of the marginal dryland areas may have to closely consider their future, but surely nursing healthy, viable businesses that provide both employment and tax revenue 90 percent of the time is a sound decision for the government.
Then there's the food price issue. Many urban consumers are quick to sneer at the 'whinging farmer' always on the lookout for a handout, yet on the other hand, should a loaf of bread rise by 20 cents due to higher wheat prices, they're the first call for something to be done.
You can't have it both ways guys - keeping food prices down requires an Australian agricultural sector and nursing sustainable farms through this tough time is a move that will see the government recoup its investment many times over.