Yesterday, the Senate approved the new $956,000,000,000 Farm Bill and it is on its way to President Obama for signature. Yes, close to ONE TRILLION dollars of spending over the next ten years. The Bill has been in the works for 2 years, and was originally slated for 2013. But Washington D.C. is so polarized these days that it’s a miracle any piece of legislation gets through.
The Farm Bill mostly budgets 2 things:
- Subsidies for farmers
- SNAP – Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Plan (SNAP) – formerly known as food stamps.
The problem with the bill is that thousands of special interest groups have stuffed their hands into the trillion dollar jackpot by aggressively lobbying and squeezing relevant congresspeople to allocate funds for their needs. In the meantime, America’s poorest take an eight billion dollar cut in food assistance.
According to Twilight Greenaway at Civil Eats:
The bill puts an end to direct payments to large farms, but expands crop insurance programs, which have generally gone to pay the top-earning farms to continue producing the Big Five commodities (corn, wheat, soy, rice, and cotton) in a less-than-sustainable ways.
Why do we need more soy and corn, already produced in excess. Could it be to manufacture even more ?
Marion Nestle calls the Farm Bill politically corrupt because:
- It is not about what’s best for the American people, farmers, or the poor; it is about what’s best for getting legislators elected.
- It represents a substantial transfer of taxpayer dollars to the wealthiest “farmers” (i.e., agribusiness) at the expense of the poor and, therefore, legislates further income inequity.
Exhausted by two years of trench warfare by farm lobbies, lawmakers are desperate to pass this turkey and move on. President Obama can put them out of their misery by signing it — or stand up for his declared principles by vetoing it.