Nov. 22, 2014

Farm Bill Doesn’t Rein in Subsidies

It used to be that the American farmer toiled in his field – perhaps with the mule team, perhaps with a sputtering John Deere tractor – to reap a harvest of corn, wheat or soybeans. But that’s so 20th century. The 21st century American farmer is buoyed by government subsidies. The new farm bill was supposed to save the government money, but the new payout system may fail spectacularly and costs may soar to 10 times the amount the Department of Agriculture estimated. Reuters reports, “Because of ample supplies, corn prices have fallen well below the long-term average price used as a benchmark for one of the new programs. Ironically, this year’s bumper harvest may not be large enough to compensate for those price falls and revenues for some farmers could be low enough to trigger payments. ‘Crop insurance has drifted away from that basic safety net concept and the farm bill has taken it even farther away,’ said analyst Craig Cox of The Environmental Working Group, a non-profit, non-partisan body that researches environmental health, food and agriculture.” Furthermore, National Review’s Veroniqe de Rugy says 83% of these payments go to the top 15% of farms. Being on the government’s dole sure is sweet. More…

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