Policy Plate: Conservatives Wake Up to Farm Bill Largesse
While the farm country press continues to scoff at the Senate farm bill’s illusionary “reform” measures, fiscal conservatives are noticing the bill’s burden on taxpayers. Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment, writes on the foxnews.com site, “It’s time for Republicans to stand up for the free market, including agriculture.” An excerpt:
I once saw a very conservative member of Congress, someone I respect and with whom I have worked on many issues, tell a room full of free-market activists that he considers himself 99 percent free market capitalist and 1 percent socialist – when it comes to agricultural subsidies.
This is a pretty common mentality in Washington, so I was disappointed but not surprised last week when the Senate Agriculture Committee passed a massive $480 billion farm bill on a 12-4 vote – with all four no votes opposing the bill because they wanted to spend even more.
Quite simply, ag subsidies have become a third-rail entitlement and are out of control.
And Jim DiPeso, vice-president for policy and communications for Republicans for Environmental Protection, penned an opinion piece on the Senate farm bill for Gannett:
The committee's bill would dump a couple of bad subsidies, but would add another and leave crop insurance subsidies mostly unreformed. Farm subsidies cost a pretty penny — far more than the reviled TARP bailout for Wall Street.
- Oxfam America’s Jim French writes of the Senate farm bill: Oxfam has long argued that US cotton subsidies damage lives and livelihoods of smallholder farmers in developing countries at a high cost to American taxpayers(see also this study). Unfortunately, subsidies for US cotton producers included in the Senate Farm Bill proposal continues this trend rather than reverses it.
- The Hill newspaper reports that EWG’s hiring of a lobby firm could “lend heft to what has traditionally been an uphill slog to reform federal farm spending”
- The Senate Agriculture Committee released a summary last night of the farm bill. The Conservation Title lead sentence reads “Our rapidly growing population demands that America’s farmers double their production over the next few decades and use fewer acres to do so.” Five paragraphs later the document details how seven million acres of conservation land will be converted into production.
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