The new farm bill is a "bait and switch" scheme that will send much of what could be $15 billion per year in new taxpayer spending to the wealthiest farmers and the crop insurance industry.
That’s the opinion of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative group known for its pro-business slant. The AEI has serious reservations about the bill.
The bill, which passed the House this week and has been sent to the Senate, actually eliminates $5 billion in annual subsidies to farmers whether they plant anything or not, a long-time spending tradition that has become politically toxic.
But it adds new guarantee programs that could be even more expensive, and ensures “farmers’ revenues never fall below 86 percent of what they earned in previous years, when crop prices were at historical highs,” according to the AEI’s “American Boondoggle
“No other business could hope for such guarantees, much less ones funded at taxpayer expense,” the AEI blog asserted.
The farm bill embraced in Washington, which has both Democratic and Republican support, ensures corn, soybeans, wheat and rice subsidies are blatantly non-compliant with the World Trade Organization, and thus taxpayers will be more vulnerable to WTO trade sanctions, the AEI maintained.
The Los Angeles Times
said the bill has an even broader downside for poor Americans.
According to the Times, “the AEI doesn't even address what may be the worst aspect of the farm bill, which is its cuts to food stamps. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (that's the formal name for food stamps) will be cut by $8 billion over 10 years by the bill agreed upon in conference between representatives and senators.”
The food stamp move by Congress means the loss of 21 meals monthly for a family of four, the newspaper said.
The Washington Post
urged President Obama to veto the farm bill. “It is only a slight exaggeration to say that this legislative grotesquerie gives to the rich and takes from the poor,” the Post said in an opinion piece.
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