People lose their senses when entering the land of the farm bill. Conservatives vote for subsidies and feel perfectly fine about it while voting to cut food stamps. (Which should be reduced but so should the farmer subsidies.) When one explains to a farmer that they are essentially on welfare and costing the taxpayer billions of dollars one invariably hears back that farmers feed the the country and that somehow they deserve all the welfare that they get because they feed us.
FDR partnered with big business while burdening the general economy. (Sound familiar?) LBJ did the same in better times. As the attached article points out LBJ even partnered with corporate America to take down Barry Goldwater. Nixon laid layer after layer of regulation on top of the American people, while remaining a good friend to big business. Much of the giant government apparatus we have today was built in concert with, not to counter, big business.
How many times do we need to learn this lesson? Central planning, big sweeping, one size fits all policies do not work. They are filled with waste, crony capitalism, and all sorts of unintended consequences which often are worse than the issue the original policy was created to ameliorate.
This is absolutely the case with corn ethanol subsidies.
Our farm system is totally rigged for generally very wealthy (made wealthier with our tax dollars) agribusiness participants. But the Republicans won’t attack this kind of welfare because it benefits constituencies in rural and generally Republican districts – at least the constituencies which tend to write checks to their congressperson.
Another good one from Tim Carney. He is absolutely on point with this piece. The GOP should get real about small government or it may find itself completely irrelevant in the relatively near future. Voters are done financing this sort of thing, at least formerly GOP voters are.
The Lifeline program which gives phones to the poor free of charge has come under significant fire as of late from both the public and members of Congress.
”Stephen brings his personal experience as a successful businessman running a large agriculture operation to Washington D.C. and understands, firsthand, that jobs are not created by Washington bureaucrats, but rather by hard-working folks in Tennessee. He is committed to taking every possible step to empower people to invest and create jobs, cut government spending and make Washington more accountable to taxpayers.”
- This is from the website of Representative Stephen Fincher of Tennessee who according to the attached article received the most agriculture subsidies of any member of Congress in 2012, $70,574.
If he really wanted to reduce the burden to taxpayers he could give that $70K back I suppose.
The Farm Bill is full of nasty stuff. The subsidization of crop insurance premiums for instance by the taxpayer encourages farmers to over insure, then when there is a loss the taxpayer pays again on a larger loss than there should be. Then the farmer over insures again.
Last year was one of the most profitable in the history of US farming, yet there was a drought and many crops were lost. The reason so much money was “made” was largely because of taxpayer funded crop insurance schemes.
Such programs are just one of the abuses of the taxpayer within the farm bill. There are dozens, and probably hundreds of others. The whole bill over 10 years constitutes almost a trillion in spending—taxpayer funded spending
The Senate budget rewards big time friends with gifts from the taxpayer. As Tim Carney at The Examiner explains, it is in many respects a vehicle for legal graft, and many companies are on board.