Friday, May 9, 2008

BAD CONGRESS Agrees on BAD Farm Bill

Congress Agrees on Farm Bill
(from Cato Institute)
"Congressional negotiators announced a final agreement on a $300 billion farm bill on Thursday, as the White House and key conservatives continued to signal opposition to the legislation," the Associated Press reports. "One of the biggest sticking points has been how much money would be paid to wealthy farmers. Under the legislation, married farmers with joint incomes of up to $1.5 million a year and individuals who make more than $750,000 could still qualify for some crop subsidies."

Sallie James, policy analyst at Cato's Center for Trade Policy Studies, comments: "The agreement reached by the farm bill conference committee contains very little in the way of serious reform. It makes minimal cuts to farm subsidies and in fact adds a new 'permanent disaster' program on top of the existing hand-outs to farmers. The conferees did make some small cuts to subsidies by introducing a slightly tighter means test, but only for the type of support least offensive to our trade partners and least market-distorting.
"In an effort to garner support for the insupportable, the committee has larded the farm bill up with extra nutrition and conservation spending, even as they encourage the development of biofuels that act against the interests of poor and hungry people and the environment. At a time when commodity prices are at record highs and farmers are doing so well, this policy proposal is woeful."

Mac's comment: Will we EVER get agriculture policy reform in this country? (Or any other country, for that matter -- see France, see Japan, see et al.)

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