Farm Bill in the Lame Duck: Lawmakers Must Keep Their Conservative Principles

While it was a conservative victory that the gargantuan, $1 trillion dollar farm and food stamp bill was allowed to expire, we knew that the battle was not yet over.  We found ample evidence, including the fact that farm bills have been allowed to expire in previous years without the world coming to an abrupt end, that the expiration of the farm bill would not do much harm, apart from certain commodity producers not being sure how much money they were going to receive from taxpayers.

According to the Idaho Statesman, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said in Boise that the House will vote on the Farm Bill after November 6.  If this is the case, lawmakers should bear in mind what we’ve said before. 

First, farm policy and food stamp policy should be considered separately.  Food stamp programs have been growing rapidly for years – doubling between 2001 and 2006, and doubling again under President Obama.  What liberals don’t seem to understand is that our goal should be to decrease welfare spending, not to increase and perpetuate dependence on government.

Even if it were not for the fact that 80 percent of spending in the farm bill goes to food stamps, it would still be an awful mess of a bill.  The bill’s crop insurance subsidies (which go primarily to big businesses and are ridiculous in light of record farm profits) should end.   So too should the government practice of manipulating the market through quotas designed to control what is planted and then providing pseudo solutions through price controls and income supports to farmers.  This type of manipulation is bad for manufacturers and consumers alike.

We maintain that “the best solution is often the simplest one. Eliminate these programs, get the government out of the way, and allow the market to decide.”

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