Farm Bill veto would be richly deserved

Right after House-Senate conferees announced that they had reached agreement on a new farm bill yesterday, the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture said that President Bush would veto it because it didn’t reform wasteful farm programs, continued to provide subsidies to rich farmers, and still used some budget machinations to hide the costs.

Indeed, the boondoggle bill deserves a White House rejection for its almost $300 billion of farm programs that will be paid for by taxpayers and consumers. Farm bills, however, no matter how wasteful, have a way of surviving, and this legislation may be no exception, since it’s a case study of bipartisanship gone bad.

Besides the sugar provisions we’ve written about here and here, the biofuels programs’ grants and loan guarantees, plus moneys for R&D and “energy efficiency” projects, together with the extension of the tariff on imported ethanol, will continue to exacerbate the food vs. fuel program.