Policy Plate: Lawmakers Could Look to Farm Bill for $100 Billion in Savings
Simple good governance and due process are reason enough to demand open deliberation on the farm bill, but there are significant budgetary reasons to insist on it as well, and lawmakers should take note of them.
Rather than pocketing the modest $23 billion to $35 billion in 10-year savings the current Senate and House versions of the farm bill would yield, Congress could easily make changes that would save $100 billion or more. That would be a meaningful contribution to the budget trimming that would be needed to address the federal deficit.
Here is how the math could work:
- Eliminating the direct payments subsidies would save $49.58 billion over 10 years.
- Eliminating the subsidies that currently go to crop insurance companies and save $13.8 billion.
- Cutting crop insurance subsidies – particularly for the most gold-plated policies – taxpayers could save as much as $20-to-$30 billion.
- Placing a cap on the total premium subsidy any one person could collect and reducing subsidies going to very wealthy individuals could save an additional $15 billion.
- Cutting additional unnecessary or wasteful farm bill programs could easily yield another $1-to-$2 billion.
Environmental Working Group released a report today that uses 12 years of water quality data from Iowa to expose what amounts to an ongoing environmental and public health disaster. Forty years after passage of the federal Clean Water Act, it is clear that farm pollution, which remains exempt from the law, is standing in the way of clean water in Iowa and across the nation. The law succeeded in cutting pollution from cities and industries, but 80,000 miles of rivers and streams in the U.S. remain badly polluted by chemical fertilizers and manure.
Click here to read Des Moines Register’s coverage of the report.
EWG has named Heather White as its new executive director.
Click here to read an op-ed by AEI and EWG: Congress Shouldn’t Sneak Farm Bill into Fiscal Cliff.
New York Times reports several U.S. cities are reporting declines in childhood obesity rates.
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