Friday, June 21, 2013

A "Dysfunctional" House Does What's Right On The Farm Bill

In a shock to its leadership, the House voted down the farm bill 234 to 195. Too many Democrats and Republicans defied their leadership. Expecting the easy passage of the farm bill, the Washington political and media elite harrumphed that Washington politics has become completely dysfunctional. We can’t even pass something as routine as the farm bill! We are supposed to run Washington  as  “business-as-usual.”

The farm bill, which is passed every five years, has long been exhibit number one of what is wrong with Washington. Although U.S. agriculture is the most productive and efficient in the world, our farmers still receive subsidies, price supports, and loans under programs that date back to the farm collapse of the Great Depression. The vast majority of today’s farm programs  simply transfer tax dollars to a few wealthy grain farmers, dairymen, and sugar growers at taxpayer and consumer expense. They raise milk and sugar prices (Americans pay at least double the world price) under the guise of helping the struggling family farm. Small agricultural enterprises get only one quarter of the goodies that the farm bill hands out. The top ten percent get three quarters. Where are the Congressional opponents of inequality when we need them?

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