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Farm Bill Deserves a Veto

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Farm Bill Deserves a Veto

Statement of Fran Smith, Adjunct Fellow, Competitive Enterprise Institute

Washington,
D.C., May 9, 2008—The Competitive
Enterprise Institute applauds Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer’s
announcement yesterday that President Bush will veto the Farm Bill that the
House-Senate conference negotiated and announced on May 8, 2008. The legislation, instead of reforming costly
and wasteful farm programs, expands some of the worst farm support programs and
does little or nothing to curtail the huge payments and subsidies that even
rich farmers receive.

One particular example is the “new” sugar program, which
provides an even sweeter deal for sugar cane and sugar beet producers. The legislation
will raise sugar price supports and mandate that domestic allotments cover at
least 85 percent of the sugar estimated for domestic consumption. Provisions
would also further restrict competition, as surplus sugar imports would be
purchased by U.S. Department of Agriculture and used for ethanol
production. Besides the cost to
taxpayers for this direct subsidy, consumers would pay even more because of
restrictions on the sugar supply.

Policymakers in the pockets of the farm lobby focus on
“government” payments to farmers, when in reality consumers and taxpayers are
the ones who pay for these bloated farm programs. Even though agriculture
leaders said that they had made adjustments to offset the threatened
Presidential veto, the nearly $300 billion deal announced on Thursday deserves
to be rejected not only by the President, but before then, by the House and the
Senate.

For a short video explanation of the problems with U.S.
farm policy, watch Farming for Dollars: How Farm
Subsidies Harm Consumers, Taxpayers and the Poor
.

CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan
public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited
government. For more information about
CEI, please visit our website at www.cei.org.