Giant hat tip to our Jodi!

The GOP’s funny farm bill

Priorities.

Wheat and twenty-dollar bills
Singh_Lens | Getty Images

A A A

In case you thought that after passing a disastrous omnibus bill, Republicans would move on to fulfilling their promises on health care and immigration, you were wrong. Now it’s time for a trillion-dollar farm bill.

If you want to understand why we never cut government and why the federal government has full control over local functions, the farm bill is the superlative case study. The ideological and geographical logrolling of food stamps and a number of different crop subsidies (soybeans for the Midwest and peanuts for the South), together with the production controls and Stalinist price-fixing “insurance” programs, create a permanent dependency on government market distortions that, sadly, rope in many conservative constituencies. It’s why there is no such thing as a true red state in the same way blue states are liberal.

Republicans promised to fix many of these problems during the 2014 farm bill when they took over Congress. Not only did they decline to fix either farm dependency or food stamps, or at least sever the two into separate bills, they are now making things worse – still with control of all three branches of government.

The last time Congress passed a farm bill before Obama’s presidency, in 2008, the 10-year cost was $604 billion. The projected cost of the new bill, H.R. 6083, is $957 billion. Almost all of that increase is due to the explosion of food stamp usage under Obama, which accounts for 80 percent of the cost. Yet this bill squanders a historic opportunity to roll back Obama’s food stamp revolution.

The one good provision of the bill, which applies work requirements to food stamps, is too weak and too limited in terms of the population that is included. Many individuals would be exempt, and states would have additional flexibility to exempt other beneficiaries. Worst of all, most of the budgetary savings would be washed out by the cost of the bureaucracy it takes to manage this program! Most of the people would not be required to work, but would be required to join a new food stamp job training program.

This is a classic example of cutting government by growing government. Over five years, the food stamp portion of the bill, which drives 80 percent of the cost, will actually increase by $1.7 billion.  And remember, the government program, once created, will never be repealed, whereas the modest work requirements can always be gutted, as we saw when Obama countermanded the work requirements for cash welfare created under the 1996 welfare reform bill.

The Obamacare of agriculture

The 2014 farm bill created two new programs: Price Loss Coverage (PLC) and Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC). The ARC guarantees shallow loss off of record revenue farmers have been enjoying over the past few years. The shallow loss program kicks in when revenue dips below 86 percent of recent year amounts. The PLC triggers subsidies when prices for certain commodities dip below target prices.

The projected cost in 2014 was $27.2 billion, but it is now estimated at $48.2 billion. This bill actually raises the floor for subsidies to kick in when prices dip below a specific target level. Supporters of the bill will tell you that we have eliminated direct subsidies, but as conservatives understand, market-distorting price manipulation is actually worse for our economy than direct subsidies.

Much as with Medicaid subsidies going to an insurance and health care administrator cartel rather than directly to individuals, farm subsidies funneled through price-loss programs based on macro-commodity pricing are worse than direct subsidies because they help empower a monopoly. A 2017 Congressional Research Service report noted that 94 percent of the farm subsidies under Title 1 of the bill go to just six commodities, with 46 percent going to corn. Remember, corn is already benefiting from the greatest subsidy of all – the ethanol mandate requiring all fuel producers to blend in ethanol into the nation’s gasoline supply. Furthermore, the CRS notes that these six commodities, despite receiving 94 percent of the subsidies, only account for 27 percent of the output value of all farming. This finding, in its estimation, “merits further inspection of how the programs function across program crops.”

No such inspection took place in the crafting of this bill.

Also, much as with government-distorted medical insurance, crop insurance covers “shallow losses” of revenue, not just catastrophic events. The president committed in his budget proposal to limiting shallow loss programs, but Congress completely ignores his ideas and the proposed $47 billion in savings from his fiscal year 2019 blueprint.

Shouldn’t each state determine how much it wants to invest in the crops unique to its climate rather than having the federal government distort the market across the board? Rather than best science and market demand dictating the agriculture practices in this country, we have a federal government socially engineering resource allocation. As the CRS observes, “The stronger the payment-to-crop linkage, the greater the potential for producers to alter their crop choices based on the relative likelihood of program payments.”

That never ends well.

Most disappointingly, this bill declines to fulfill a promise Republicans made even when they only controlled the House – to split food stamps from agriculture programs. Now, with full control of government, this is not even under discussion.

Finally, it is important to note that it’s bills like this that help create a culture of dependency in red states (on top of the blue state dependency culture). You will hear many of the Republicans who represent these districts speak out passionately against Obamacare and government regulation of energy and financial services, yet celebrate the endless agriculture subsidies in this bill. But it is precisely this bipartisan culture of injecting the federal government into private enterprise that created Obamacare. The feds didn’t take over the health care sector overnight. It was facilitated by the precedent of decades’ worth of government intervention in private industries such as agriculture. If government can completely control commodity prices through price targeting, trade barriers, and production quotas, it isn’t such a drastic leap to take over the health care sector.

Of course, any constituency that is acclimated to the allure of government subsidies for decades will not voice strong opposition to the pork chops they receive. But that cuts to the core of our problem with the Republican Party. We will never elect limited-government conservatives from blue urban America. If we allow Congress to co-opt the rural red districts – districts that are naturally suspicious of the federal government – with special-interest dependency favors, we will never elect limited-government conservatives anywhere. The reality is that we need members to speak honestly to these constituencies and tell them we will not over-tax and overregulate you, but we will not subsidize you, either.

https://www.conservativereview.com/articles/gops-funny-farm-bill/

Views: 25

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

This is a bad fit with the 10th Amendment.

It’s a bad fit with those of us who embrace personal responsibility, a pillar of our nation’s founding!

Note the paragraph I where I added bold font to emphasize it.  Being a dairy farming (semi-retired) family, I can speak to some of this stuff with some applied practical experience.  We were always small by today’s standards, but ‘getting up there’ by 1950s and 1960s standards.  That said, our farm was run frugally, and did actually support us with minimum, manageable, or no debt.

Ah...debt....that is the sole reason for those programs - the PLC and the ARC.  You see, many farmers had catastrophic insurance for natural disasters, or should an action by the policy holder cause harm to another (like if our load of milk contained an antibiotic or bacteria that ruined an entire tanker load of milk).  That said, these programs offer far more protection to the farmer...because today, most have such massive debt that any dip in commodity prices means they’d probably be unable to service their debt, and end up in a bankruptcy situation.

It may seem like a good thing on the surface, like mortgage insurance or something, but I don’t see it that way.  These programs make risk taking attractive, and many have abandoned all caution in favor of growth because of a government guarantee.  But what happens if all this propping up of the agricultural industry comes apart? What if it comes crashing down?  Who, then, will own the farmland, ranch land, and equipment to produce the country’s (world’s?) food?  As I see it, and fear it, the government will assume all ownership and control of it.  

Now think about how the populace in other nations fared when the government controlled the food supply.  

I welcome your thoughts on this!

I believe the pattern has been set.  Corporations will own the farms, not the government.  But, corporations may also own the government.

A more effective means of helping with farm debt might be a decrease in the interest rate at which money is owed.  So, borrow at 5% in good times and renegotiate to 4% when crops fail or the commodities markets go to hell.  This would allow small farms to keep up payments and eventually pay off the loan without creating a "welfare" farm via subsidies.

Ah, yes, it’s a welfare for LARGE farms via those subsidies, but not for small farms, unless the small farmer goes totally non traditional and does something really weird except to liberals....weird agricultural stuff is also subsidized.

OMG this is horrible. Our government is filled with those only there to get rich. They get money from lobbyists and continue doing the same things over and over. Enrich themselves at the expense of, we the people. They go to congress making 170 grand a year and are millionaires in a short period of time. We need term limits. Immediately!  

Our farmers are our food supply! What doesn't the government get about this? I totally agree with JB's statement! 


A more effective means of helping with farm debt might be a decrease in the interest rate at which money is owed. So, borrow at 5% in good times and renegotiate to 4% when crops fail or the commodities markets go to hell. This would allow small farms to keep up payments and eventually pay off the loan without creating a "welfare" farm via subsidies.

Thanks, Lynn.  You make me think I said something good.  :)

You're welcome. You did say something good. 

Info from the Heritage Foundation:

Q&A: Farm Bill Policies Benefit Wealthy Farmers, Hurt Taxpayers

"So farmers only pay a third of the premiums. That would be nice if that’s how my auto insurance worked and taxpayers paid two-thirds."

You can listen to the podcast of above interview here at the 5:18 mark

Wow, thanks Jodi!  I didn’t know it was that bad!

HOUSE PASSES PART OF FARM BILL

By a partisan vote of 216 to 208, the House Thursday passed a stripped down farm bill that leaves out its most expensive part, the Nutrition Title.

"Pass the farm bill farm bill, so that I can begin to work on the nutrition part of the farm bill next." House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) told his colleagues just before the vote, which didn't get any Democratic support and was opposed by about a dozen Republicans. It was a victory for Representative Marlin Stutzman (R-IN), a fourth generation farmer who came to Congress in the Tea Party wave of 2010 and who has been working for a year to make farm programs and nutrition programs stand on their own."

"Together we can get this done and pass the first farm-only farm bill in 40 years," Stutzman said at the start of a sometimes emotional debate. The bill passed today is similar to the amended version that the House defeated on June 20, and includes a consolidated conservation title that saves $6 billion over 10 years, as well as a commodity title that ends direct payments. One key difference is that it would replace the 1949 permanent farm bill, which Lucas said was in effect when Harry Truman was President and is outdated.

https://www.agriculture.com/news/policy/house-passes-part-of-farm-b...

RSS

Attention:

 

 

Please view our mission, policy, and legal disclaimer to learn about us by visiting the main menu.  Thank you.

PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION!

AGENDA 21/2030

http://bit.ly/2mqIVmH 

CONTACT CONGRESS!

Let your voice be counted!

House:  http://1.usa.gov/mHZjgo

Senate:  http://1.usa.gov/3UAs

 

 

PLEASE PRAY FOR OUR NATION.

 

 

national debt

Founders' Corner

Latest Activity

kwicgov55 replied to Robin's discussion Very Sad News! Sorry to let you know that Steve aka PatriotEagle1 passed away in January.
"That is very sad news. RIP Patriot Eagle. "
9 hours ago
JeansBrother replied to Robin's discussion ‘Consensus’ Reached to Slash $370 Billion U.S. Trade Deficit with China
"Good!  But, Mr President, I'm not tired of winning yet!  LOL!!"
10 hours ago
JeansBrother replied to Robin's discussion Trump Administration To Open Records On Obama's #FastAndFurious Gun Running Operation.
"Yup, yup, yup!!!   :)))"
10 hours ago
Robin replied to Robin's discussion Very Sad News! Sorry to let you know that Steve aka PatriotEagle1 passed away in January.
"He is indeed, my friend! Amen!  "
10 hours ago
Robin replied to Jodi180's discussion Peter Stzrok: 'This is horribly wrong'
"Ok, don't know if this is true or not. But, if it is, holy cow! INTERCEPTED DEEP STATE PRIVATE…"
10 hours ago
Robyn Taylor replied to Robin's discussion Very Sad News! Sorry to let you know that Steve aka PatriotEagle1 passed away in January.
" Patriot Eagle was a true patriot. He is soaring with the angels."
10 hours ago
Robin posted discussions
11 hours ago
Robin replied to Robin's discussion Trump Administration To Open Records On Obama's #FastAndFurious Gun Running Operation.
"Not sure, but, when it involves murder (Brian Terry and Jaime Zapata) no statute of limitations on…"
11 hours ago
Robin replied to Fundamental Refounding's discussion 5/18/18 TOP TIDS Spinning a Crossfire Hurricane: The Times on the FBI‟s Trump Investigation By Andrew C. McCarthy
"LOL Love how you put that, JB! It was like someone turned up the heat to 2,000 degrees. Woah…"
11 hours ago
JeansBrother replied to Robin's discussion Trump Administration To Open Records On Obama's #FastAndFurious Gun Running Operation.
"Don't get your hopes up too high on this one.  Much of the punishment for their evil has…"
11 hours ago
JeansBrother replied to Fundamental Refounding's discussion 5/18/18 TOP TIDS Spinning a Crossfire Hurricane: The Times on the FBI‟s Trump Investigation By Andrew C. McCarthy
"Ditto!  Before Obama and his blowtorch arrived at the kettle, I was a happy frog swimming in…"
11 hours ago
Robin replied to Robin's discussion Very Sad News! Sorry to let you know that Steve aka PatriotEagle1 passed away in January.
"Amen, Ruthie! Steve was such a joy. I got to know him pretty well. Spoke on the phone as well. He…"
11 hours ago
Robin replied to Robin's discussion Very Sad News! Sorry to let you know that Steve aka PatriotEagle1 passed away in January.
"I am very sad too, Robyn! Steve was such a good person. Loved him! "
11 hours ago
Robin replied to Rahthrae (Admin.)'s discussion The Folding Firebox Stove ** @FireboxStove
"Think I'll bring this back up and tweet it out. ;)"
11 hours ago
Robin replied to Rahthrae (Admin.)'s discussion Simple Creation of a Personal Portable Microgrid
"Thought a bump to the top for some really great things Rahth researched for us all was in…"
12 hours ago
Robin replied to Robin's discussion Fundamental Refounding STILL being stalked by another site owner!
"Well, we both were right! My suggestion in the post was taken. The word that was spelled wrong is…"
12 hours ago

TRAFFIC



© 2018   Fundamental Refounding.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service