Farm Bill Opposite Day: A Closed Farm Bill Meeting Produces More Openness and Honesty
Open and honest dialogue usually requires the dialogue to be, well, open, which is the opposite of closed. Some folks apparently think otherwise, though (unsurprising, considering their trillion-dollar secrets):
Officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture met in closed session in Lincoln on Wednesday with Nebraska commodity groups and state and university representatives to discuss efforts to pass a farm bill.
Afterward, Acting Deputy USDA Secretary Michael Scuse defended the decision to close the morning event on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln East Campus to the news media.
“We feel we get more honest and open dialogue when we go in and have a meeting with just producers and stakeholders,” he said.
Sadly, Mr. Scuse may need reminding that taxpayers are usually “stakeholders” in most intrusive, oppressive federal government schemes. It is usually not by our own volition, but instead thanks to big-government special interests in Washington.
How big a stake do we, the taxpayers, have in this “farm” bill fiasco? Nearly $1 trillion.
We’ll be glad to make this point until the cows come home: the farm bill needs reform, especially the separation of the nearly 80 billion dollars worth of food stamps each year from the so-called “farm” bill.
Though food stamps are the preferred bumper crop of some lawmakers, money doesn’t grow on trees. Taxpayers are dishing out billions for a food-stamp program that is full of fraud and abuse. As we’ve noted before:
[T]he food stamp program is riddled with fraud and abuse; the federal government has loosened requirements for food stamp enrollment; and the U.S. Department of Agriculture actively recruits people to become dependent upon food stamps.
Another egregious problem with the “farm” bill is the actual farm policy within. It’s comprised of agricultural subsidies, welfare payments, and environmental patronage. Taxpayers are burdened with funding farm subsidies, price controls, and tariffs that do more harm than good.
Secretive meetings really won’t help anything. But the cat’s already out of the bag. This “farm” bill needs to change, and ultimately, needs to be put out to pasture.