Washington Post Says No Farm Bill Now

The Washington Post editorial board just put out quite a lucid piece yesterday on the farm bill.  Its title contains more than a grain of truth: “No farm bill at all might be better than a bad bill.”  Wise statement!

They explain that while some decry the inaction on the farm bill as a testament to Washington’s dysfunction, it may be more of sign that Congress has done something right.  They look at it this way:

“For those who think, reasonably, that agriculture needs a bigger haircut than the Senate farm bill’s $23 billion in savings over 10 years, the delay is not cause for concern at all. Operation of critical programs, including food stamps, won’t be affected for the time being. Meanwhile, Congress can think some more before approving legislation whose 10-year price tag approaches $1 trillion — and whose key innovation is to replace existing crop subsidies with a costly new crop “insurance” program that creates all sorts of perverse incentives for farmers.”

They continue:

“Advocates of the proposed new crop insurance program argue that farmers need it to protect them not only against natural disasters but also against sudden price declines. Why farmers, alone among all businessmen, should be entitled to a nearly guaranteed income is especially inexplicable when total U.S. farm equity is projected to $2.3 trillion this year, up $500 billion since 2008, according to the Agriculture Department. The OECD expects “relatively high” commodity prices to continue, a reasonable forecast given the growth in emerging markets and the Federal Reserve’s plan for near-zero interest rates through mid-2015.”

Could it be any clearer?  Taking action just for the sake of action is not synonymous with advancing the nation’s best interests.  Sometimes standing still and thinking out a better plan to pursue is the best option.  As a former President once told a fidgety aid, “Don’t just do something. Stand there!”

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