Keepin' 'Em Down on The Farm Via Subsidy

The New York Times reports (reg. may be required) on the new farm bill that just got through the House Agriculture Committee (full House should consider it next week). The bright side, for once: the bill "eliminate subsidies for farmers with more than $1 million in adjusted gross income."

And another shocking idea is apparently getting some traction for future farm bills: actually restricting federal farm aid to people who actually might be suffering some financial harm:

Critics of current programs, however, said the bill did not go far enough, especially given a steep rise in many crop prices in recent years, driven by demand for corn used in ethanol production. Many of these critics, and Democratic leaders, support replacing the subsidies, which are paid even in profitable years, with crop insurance and other safeguards against revenue losses.

Jonathan Rauch from reason in 2002 on farm bills past.

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  • ||

    There was an article about this last week on NRO. Mainly the guy was going on about the sugar subsidies. In fact, it's going to be even worse this time, as American sugar farmers will get an even higher minimum price for their sugar.

    At least they can say they're battling obesity.

  • ||

    wow that sounds great...libertarians should support these democrat reforms...unless of course the read Cato-at-large or read the washington post with any sense of skeptisism:

    Farm bloc lawmakers yesterday offered the U.S. fruit and vegetable industry $1.8 billion in new federal grants over the next five years as part of a farm bill that would leave in place far larger subsidies for grain, cotton and dairy producers.

    The concessions were part of a balancing act by House Democrats to craft a bill that will satisfy politically powerful farm interests while also bearing a Democratic imprint of reform. The House Agriculture Committee was set to vote on the legislation late last night or today.

    The package, unveiled yesterday by Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson (D-Minn.), also increases funding for land conservation, wetlands protection and nutrition programs - popular with environmental groups and urban lawmakers.

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the package 'a good first step toward needed reform.'


    http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/2007/07/19/word-abuse/

  • ||

    JC--The bill is a nightmare, of course, as any libertarian-minded person reading the FA would realize. As I said, feeling cheery this morning, I chose to highlight the "bright side, for once": the detail that they are finally seeing fit to declare farmers with over a million AGI don't need to be on the federal teat.

  • Mike Laursen||

    Cool! Now all they need to do is inflate the currency until pretty much everybody makes over a million a year. Farm subsidies ended!

  • ||

    "Cool! Now all they need to do is inflate the currency until pretty much everybody makes over a million a year. Farm subsidies ended!"

    That is probably closer than you think.

  • ||

    Fuel ethanol from corn is probably the stupidest idea in the last hundred years.

    The drinking variety of ethanol is entirely acceptable though.

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