With this month’s passage of a farm bill that doles out tens of billions of dollars in subsidies to agribusiness interest, the republicans house has signaled that the class of 2010 dream of small government is dead.
This bill gets almost everything wrong, it’s an exercise in client politics passed through antidemocratic tactics and expands some of the least useful federal programs while outspending both the demo senate and the profligate Obama white house.
Republicans leaders behind closed doors decided to cleave off the SNAP and move the bill’s agriculture titles as stand alone legislation. The rules committee adopted an “emergency” rule governing debate on the bill that would close it off to any amendments whatsoever. Then, despite commitments to make bill language available 72 hours ahead of time, they dropped a 608 page package of legislative text a mere 10 hours before votes were called. (SOUND FAMILIAR) Tucked inside were hastily drafted and poorly understood provisions that eliminated traditional five-year sunsets for commodity subsidies. The process mimicked the worst abuses of the previous Democratic majority!.
At a cost of nearly $196 billion over 10 years, it spends $1 billion more than companion agriculture language passed by the Demo controlled senate. Thought proponents claim that is will reduce the deficit by more than $12 billion over the next decade it actually increases spending by ore than $1 billion next year and schedules most of the savings for years 6-10.
The bill increases price guarantees for commodity crops and perhaps worst of all creates a new open-ended “shallow loss” program to insulate farmer from even small declines in prices. The law sets as a floor today’s near record high prices. The 2002 farm bill cost 30% more that CBO originally projected and the 2008 bill cost 43% more. House bill is devoid of structural changes that have broad bipartisan support in both chambers. The crop insurance scheme included no limitation or caps to prevent cost form spiraling out of control. If fails to include a policy called “conservative compliance” which has helped ensure that taxpayers are not on the hook for risky and environmentally destructive framing on sensitive lands. The senate passed legislation makes both improvements including a modest means test that reduces subsidies for those with adjusted gross income of more than $750,000. Average farm income is now about 25% higher that the average household income. Prices that framers receive for their products are at or near record highs.
Reform would have meant limiting crop insurance subsidies, particularly for rich farmer and not adding expensive new entitlements like “shallow loss”.
Sounds like a page out of the demo play book????
Sources—weekly standard, Andrew moylan