Farm bill yields 
mixed bag of reform

It’s easy to have conflicting views about the massive farm bill passed by the House Wednesday and likely to win a Senate approval this week. We are pleased the bill that authorizes $956…




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Kudos to the Daily Sentinel for joining the The Washington Post in questioning the merits of the “compromise” Farm Bill (“Farm Bill yields mixed bag of reform”), even though it benefits Mesa County temporarily.

After two years of “negotiations”, and with Congressman Tipton (a member of the House Agriculture Committee) not voting, H.R. 2642 – the ten-year $956 billion “Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2014” – passed on a bipartisan vote (162 Republicans and 89 Democrats “for”; 103 Democrats and 62 Republicans against). 

But, there is ample reason for the Sentinel’s (and Tipton’s) apparent ambivalence.

First, H.R. 2642 “only” cuts Food Stamps by another $8+ billion (in addition to last November’s $5 billion cut) – less than the $39 billion demanded by “Teapublicans” like Tipton, and accounting for half the purported “savings”.

Second, while imposing draconian cuts on – mostly—single women with children and the elderly, the bill provides guaranteed income to already wealthy “farmers” – and thus   should more aptly have been titled the “Millionaire Farmers’ Welfare Act of 2014”.

With median household income in the U.S. at $51,000, H.R. 2642 authorizes subsidy payments to corporate farms and farmers earning up to $900,000—after deducting all farming and other expenses (versus $250,000 previously).

Thus, even though the bill ends the statutorily disclosable (by Congressmen) “direct payment” program (because it was more rife with “waste, fraud, and abuse” than any other federal “entitlement” program), Tipton’s fellow-Republican millionaire absentee-farmer cronies in Congress will now receive no-longer-disclosable indirect payments.

H.R. 2642 also reveals Republicans’ socialistic tendency to protect favored groups (only) from the vagaries of the venerated “free market” by creating a new insurance program to protect farmers against price fluctuations – while guaranteeing insurers a 16% profit.

Perhaps all subsidies could be limited to real farmers with net incomes under $125,000?

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