Teetering on the Edge of Disaster: House Should Not Vote on Farm Bill

Let’s set the stage for the farm bill discussion underway in Congress right now: We are approaching $17 trillion in debt.  Yet, House Republicans want to hastily, and nonsensically we might add, move ahead with an outdated farm bill that is in dire need of reform and that is a huge burden to taxpayers and consumers.

Our $17 trillion debt is a massive problem, by any rational estimation.  Adding hundreds of billions to that level of debt is extremely ill advised.

If Congress moves forward with the farm portion of the farm bill, they’ll do just that.  Not only is the farm bill unaffordable, but large corporate farmers – the primary beneficiaries of farm bill handouts — do not need taxpayer assistance!  As we noted last week:

Central planning never works well; the agriculture industry is no exception. Farmers are sophisticated, innovative business leaders, evinced by their record high incomes.   They don’t need subsidies upon subsidies.  Really, they can take care of themselves.

They can manage risk – through futures contracts and hedging, crop diversification, credit reserves, and private insurance — without taxpayer subsidies.

Still, some obstinate – and politically motivated – lawmakers want to barge forward and pass a farm bill that has not been reformed in any meaningful way.  If it becomes law, taxpayers will be stuck footing the bill for Depression era subsidies for today’s millionaires.   

The state of play right now is that House Republican leaders have decided to drop food stamps from the farm bill and are whipping the farm-only portion of the bill for a vote that will likely come this week.  If that occurs, the legislation will almost certainly become law.

We outlined last week the various ways in which the farm bill can and should be reformed.  If Congress would put the good of Americans before political expediency, they might cool their jets and consider these reforms.

House Republicans need to remove the blinders.  The farm bill is riddled with wasteful programs and passing it would be a huge mistake and injustice.

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