“No farmer left behind” says WSJ

Today as the Senate is considering its version of the 2007 Farm Bill, the Wall Street Journal editorialized about proposals for massive subsidy and price support handouts to farmers at a time when their income is at an all-time high.

As the WSJ notes:

And yet Congress is writing another five-year farm bill as if this were 1936 and the Okies roamed the plains. The House has already passed a $286 billion bill, and the $291 billion version now moving through the Senate may be the largest feast of subsidies ever served up by Congress. The bill’s estimated $25 billion in direct crop payments, and another $10 billion in “emergency assistance” and insurance subsidies, are stacked as high as an Iowa silo.

The editorial also takes issue with the oft-repeated phrase that farm bills provide a “safety net” for farmers during bad times:

And though this is a Democratic Congress that claims to care about “inequality,” the USDA says about two-thirds of this farm aid goes to the wealthiest 10% of farms. It is a direct transfer from taxpayers and poor consumers to mostly rich corporate farmers. President Bush has requested that subsidies only go to farmers with incomes below $200,000, but the Senate bill has no income caps for full-time farmers. One proposed amendment (by Minnesota Democrat Amy Klobuchar) would establish a cap of $750,000 in income, but that’s still about 14 times the average family income in America, and the farm lobby is fighting even that. The House subsidy ceiling is $1 million a year, which after fancy accounting would exclude no corporate farms at all. Yet all of this is defended as a “safety net.”

CEI has a video on some of the most egregious aspects of 2007 farm bill proposals. Check here on YouTube.