Grower: Subsidies help Big Ag, not small farmers

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On June 20, the House rejected the “Federal Agricultural Reform and Risk Management Act” (HR 1947) – the 2013 “Farm Bill” – by a vote of 234-195 (with 172 Democrats and 62 Republicans voting “Nay”).  Democrats opposed that “Farm Bill” because it cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (“SNAP”) – Food Stamps—too much; Republicans, because it did not cut Food Stamps enough.

On July 11, the House passed a “new and improved” Farm Bill (HR 2642)—which at least temporarily eliminates the Food Stamp program entirely – by a partisan vote of 216 Republicans to 208 Democrats.  Scott Tipton voted against the earlier version, but for the latter one – thereby proving himself to be just another Republican hypocrite.

Local Tea Partiers would be wise to realize that farm subsidies constitute the purest form of “corporate socialism” in our economy – with millions paid annually to agribusinesses (not small farmers) to protect them from the vagaries of the sacrosanct “free market”.

While Republicans claimed that the earlier bill would save some $20 billion by tightening eligibility requirements for Food Stamps (thereby reducing “fraud and abuse” in SNAP), that “savings” was actually larded onto increased farm subsidies in the latter version.

Reportedly, the various agricultural support programs are fraught with more “fraud and abuse” than SNAP, but the House Ag Committee (upon which Tipton sits) hypocritically embraced such chicanery by increasing payments to wealthy farmers (including a fellow Republican Committee member who has received some $3.5 million in such payments).

While dubious subsidies to cotton producers distort markets and violate international trade rules, “fiscally conservative” Republicans extended such largesse for two more years – and authorized $165 million in annual reparation payments to Brazil for doing so.

How much of this Republican “sausage” will survive a conference committee with the Senate remains to be seen.

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