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.