WashingtonWatch today listed the cost of the farm bill (H.R. 2419) just passed by the House last Friday. It seems like the average American family will pay $2590.27 for this bloated program that the Democrats — in pushing it through — claimed had “something for everyone.”
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the House bill will bring total spending of programs administered by USDA to $286 billion for the period 2008-2012. It extends major farm income support programs for major commodities — direct and countercyclical payments, crop loans, and marketing loan programs — gives increased funding for export promotion and for rural development. It also includes significantly increased funding for nutrition, research on organic agriculture and specialty crops, conservation, and for block grants and promotion of specialty crops, horticulture, and organic agriculture.
And, that sweet l’il ole sugar program is made even sweeter by raising the price supports and by subsidizing the use of sugar as a feedstock in the production of ethanol. With the current sugar program costing consumers about $1.8 billion a year, the new and expanded program will further increase consumers’ and taxpayers’ burdens.
Oh, and by the way, to pay for expanding some of these programs — to the tune of over $4 billion — there’s a proposal for a new tax on companies in the United States that are owned by non-U.S. firms. What one group against that tax has called “in-sourcing.” Think what that would do for capital investment in the U.S.
So, now the House has a bill that’s going to hurt consumers, taxpayers, and thousands of companies in the U.S. to provide a “safety net” — mostly for rich farmers. (According to USDA figures, 66 percent of crop subsidy benefits went to 10 percent of the beneficiaries of those programs.)
Don’t expect the Senate, however, to have more sense. With election year coming up, the Senate may go the way of the House to deliver the pork — or the sugar — to farm states, including Big Sugar in Florida.
(Thanks to Wayne Crews for the tip.)