by Mark Horne
The conservatives in the Republican Party managed to crack through the evil bipartisan tradition of the Farm Bill. They rocked the boat. They disrupted the monopoly. They put a fly in the ointment. The fought the power. Yay, Conservatives! As Politico writes:
“…the decision to jettison the nutrition title breaks with nearly a half-century of precedent. And the GOP victory came at a huge political cost, splitting American agriculture and driving a wedge between urban and rural lawmakers who have long worked together on farm legislation.”
OK, I can hope that this crack results in a real fissure some day. But can we just admit now that the result of this victory is an ugly disaster.
The Heritage Foundation sums up the monstrosity. Here are their bullet points:
- Spends far more than President Obama on the most expensive farm program (crop insurance).
- Adds new programs that would guarantee payments to farmers.
- Creates a radical new program that would cover even minor losses suffered by farmers. Even the American Farm Bureau Federation expressed concern over this minor loss system.
- Doesn’t make even one reform to crop insurance (unlike the disastrous Senate bill).
- Doesn’t make even one modest reform to the sugar and dairy programs that drastically drive up food prices for consumers.
- Hurts low-income families by preserving policies that drive up food prices, which have a disproportionate effect on the poor.
- Protects corporate welfare programs, such as a wealth-transfer program that shifts money from taxpayers to major corporations for their overseas marketing.
- Gives the Obama Administration the green light to tax Christmas trees and wouldn’t touch other commodity tax programs.
People have been feeding themselves without government help for thousands of years. And the progress we have made in reducing famine and producing more food has nothing to do with progress in government bureaucracy. All of these programs are soviet garbage and it is an embarrassment that the United States has been entangled in them for over a half century. They need to be killed and buried.
Why didn’t conservative Republicans simply refuse to vote or any farm bill at all? How is artificially driving up food prices a conservative victory? In terms of propaganda, this is a stunning defeat. The GOP is now on record for both making food less affordable and refusing to give aid to the poor to afford the food.
(Of course, the food stamps are also a form of corporate welfare. Walmart and other food retail giants lobby for them.)
Farming is a business like any other. We don’t give money to Dell to sell computers and we shouldn’t give money to agriculture producers—whether family farms or giant corporations—to sell food. The Farm Bill should not exist. Kicking a few poor people in the teeth is not a conservative improvement.
The Farm Bill deserves one and only one conservative response: vote against it always and under all circumstances. Abolition is the only solution.