Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Fighting Over the Farm Bill – Pigs Feeding at the Trough of Government Spending

Everyone – Just Part of the Greed for Federal Dollars

The Congress is trying to pass a new Farm Bill.  This is important, nutrition assistance is authorized in the Farm Bill and without that assistance millions of Americans will suffer.  But also a part of the Farm Bill is an enormous federal handout for agriculture, a handout that is no longer needed, desirable or even appropriate.

As the proposed legislation moves through the law making process, the competing interests are fighting among themselves for the billions in federal subsidies that conservatives and liberals, Democrats and Republicans are all wanting to hand out.

Farming vehicles in a field are shown. | AP Photo
The bad blood and distrust among farming interests are now exceptional. | AP Photo

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2013/12/farm-bill-intense-lobbying-agricultural-congress-100610.html#ixzz2mWCyd65x

As House-Senate talks resume Wednesday, the bad blood among rival commodity groups is becoming an embarrassment for farm bill advocates and a threat to getting legislation through Congress this winter.

Cotton and rice recently took a shot at corn and soybeans in a letter about proposed payment limits in both bills. Corn and beans went directly after House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) last week — threatening to kill the farm bill and seek a two-year extension that would run past his tenure as chairman.

What is also happening is a so called reform in the government’s support for agriculture.  The new program would heavily subsidize crop insurance, in effect guaranteeing the farming industry a profit at the expense of the tax payer.  Now federal support for agriculture is indeed warranted, IF THIS WERE 1935!  But today the agriculture industry is very stable, very profitable and has no more need for federal support than any other industry.

So why aren’t conservatives adamant in winding down the program?  Oh, they represent districts that benefit here, and if the choice is between being re-elected and standing up for principles, well we all know how that works out.

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