Saturday, June 22, 2013

My Kingdom for a Peanut

by Tony Traina on June 21, 2013
Poking fun at United States agricultural policy is low hanging fruit. From catfish to sushi to alfalfa, most agriculture industries are handsomely subsidized via the half-a-trillion dollar farm bill. So after the House’s 195-234 defeat of its version of the bill, what’s the proverbial forest to see for the trees, as The Wall Street Journal put it in an editorial this morning?
While their Senatorial counterparts were able to bribe enough lobbyists and fellow Senate members with regional- and crop-specific goodies to push through a largess bill last week, some members of the House are calling for a larger debate.
As the WSJ notes, Representative Marlin Stutzman (R-Ind.) introduced an amendment that was quickly disposed of by the House Committee on Rules which would have split the farm bill into a farm-only bill and a nutrition-only bill…… According to OECD estimates, total government support for the United States agriculture sector cost over $146 billion in 2011. This for an industry that adds just under $174 billion in value to the United States’ total GDP. Eighty percent of the “farm” bill’s provisions go to food stamps though, a program which enrolls 14 percent of Americans. This unholy marriage rolls two much-needed debates into one opaque, 629-page (1052 pages in the Senate’s case) piece of legislation….To Read More…

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