The 66 members of the Senate who approved this $955 Billion give-away program known as The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013.
A fine article written by Sallie James hits some of the high-points of this legislation. Sighting the fact there is no ‘real‘ deficit reduction and the Farm Bill is no longer just a farm bill but a welfare and environmental bill rolled into one, which at its core is the exact opposite of the free-market.
I would like to touch on some additional items included in this bill, items that make no sense whatsoever, but are typical of government mentality, such as:
1. Paying farmers’ subsidies supporting commodity prices instead of letting the market adjust them naturally-while handing out food stamps to buy the same commodities we are subsidizing. Please explain how this is a good thing.
2. Grants which “Encourage Healthy Food Choices” modeled after a program currently under way in Michigan known as “Double Up Food Bucks” whereby SNAP recipients can double their SNAP purchasing amounts if they use those amounts to buy veggies (healthy fruits and vegetables) – all at your expense – what a deal for them. A reciprocal program which the taxpayer pays twice for someone else making the right choices in food purchases.
3. And my personal favorite; The Community Wood Energy Program. “This program provides competitive, cost-share grants for communities to supply public buildings with energy from sustainably-harvested wood from the local area.”
How many government buildings are in use currently that have wood-burning stoves? If the answer is none, then it begs the question why do we need a program providing a service for a nonexistent need? Because its government mentality.
The bills summary is full of the usual grandiose promises – saving taxpayers money, creating jobs, strengthening our future, along with the other non-factual drivel, when in reality it does none of these things.
There are political jabs and “well duh” moments incorporated in this bill which may be needed, but are comical because they are loopholes that should have been plugged to begin with. Yet another example of a government that is incapable of managing the people’s money effectively. Our government has grown too large too fast to be effective and with zero accountability huge mistakes and fraud are all too common.
For instance – the portion of the legislation “Prevents Lottery Winners from Receiving Food Assistance” is the result of a loophole that was exposed when the media discovered an unemployed woman was collecting SNAP benefits even though she had just won the lottery.
“Ends Farm Payments to Millionaires” is a topic I’m sure will make the liberal base happy in its claim, but maybe we should consider not throwing out the baby with the wash water – maybe revising the system to where it makes more sense. It would be hard to argue the fact most farm commodities are produced by large farms and many of them are able to produce commodities at a reasonable price because of their size and the efficient manner in which they are run. Many of these ‘large farms’ would eclipse the $750k AGI- do we arbitrarily penalize their efficiency?
Should we reward farmers who are inefficient or worse yet not growing anything at all, paying them for doing a poor job? This, by the way, is exactly what most welfare programs do.
The bill includes insurance coverage for cotton crops and a reduction in domestic cotton commodity price supports while paying an annual settlement to Brazilian cotton farmers over a WTO lawsuit. Instead of fighting, our government has decided to just pay the Brazilian farmers $150 million a year.
Some of the nonsense in this bill has been put forth in the past two Federal Budget proposals submitted by the Obama administration. Those budgets were so bad Harry Reid refused to bring them to the floor of the Senate for a vote, and yet they have found their way into this bill.
So, congratulations to the 66 Members of the Senate who passed this piece of farm fertilizer (commonly known as cow dung) legislation and in their winning the clueless award of the month for June 2013.