Farm Bill Represents the Epitome of Crony Capitalism
Over at NRO’s The Corner, Veronique de Rugy lays out the ugly details:
So here is a little reminder of what is in the farm bill, how big it is, and other details relevant to this discussion:
- The farm bill is massive; it would spend almost $1 trillion over the next decade.
- For the most part, farmers are doing very well. As Drew White at Heritagereminds us, in spite of and partially thanks to this year’s drought, net farm income is estimated to set a new record of $122.2 billion in 2012.
- The bill cuts direct subsides, but it preserves some $22 billion on subsidy programs for farmers.
- To make up for the reduced direct subsidies, it replaces them with other payments to farmers such as the shallow-loss program; it provides protection to farmers from bad weather and poor prices at a time when crop prices are at an all-time high. (The same would be true for dairy farmers.)
- Taxpayers will continue to foot most of the crop-insurance costs on top of that.
- Eighty percent of the spending in the bill is devoted to food stamps, known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. When the food-stamp program was first expanded nationally in the 1970s, just 1 in 50 Americans participated. Today, one in seven Americans receive $134 each month, at a monthly cost of more than $6 billion. This bipartisan farm bill would help make these high levels of dependency permanent.
Mix cronyism and dependency and you get this gigantic farm bill. As such, we should resist lawmakers’ calls for its passage.
Image via The Whited Sepulchre