So much wrong with Farm BillPublished 7:33pm Tuesday, June 25, 2013
What is going on with the federal Farm Bill? It has become an enormous outlay of taxpayer dollars.
Please do not misunderstand; I realize the importance of farming. I am a product of a family farm, and support family farmers. All of this is a given, but there seems to be much more than farming and subsidies in the Farm Bill.
It appears food stamps and special interests have hijacked the Farm Bill. A full 80 percent of the bill is for food stamps.
Food stamps are now called the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program or SNAP for short, those clever politicians.
About 75 percent of large farms with incomes more than $250,000 receive farm subsidies while only 24 percent of farms with lesser incomes receive help. It is estimated about 61 percent of family farms operate without taxpayer subsidies. However, it is noteworthy that large farms only comprise 12 percent of farms, but account for the majority of production.
Believe you me, this is not the proverbial drop in the bucket of taxpayer monies I’m speaking of either.
The Farm Bill passed by the Senate last week is a 500 billion dollar monstrosity spread out over the next five years. This bill is so bad apparently neither Senator Sessions nor Senator Shelby could hold their nose and vote for it. You know it had to be bad for them to vote no coming from an agricultural state. Personally, I applaud their vote, not that I am against farmers, but I am against waste.
The last Farm Bill passed was in 2008. It was 1770 pages of agricultural subsidies, expanded eligibility for food stamps, massive spending on forestry, telecommunications, energy and rural development.
According to Senator Sessions, spending for food stamps has doubled during the Obama administration. There are now one in 7 Americans or approximately 46 million people partaking of food stamps.
The latest figures from end of FY2012 indicate $80.4 billion spent on food stamps, up 2.7 billion from the year before. Of this staggering amount fraud accounted for $750 million or about 1 percent in 2011. But, whose to be concerned about chicken feed?
Why is food stamps a part of the Farm Bill? According to Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), ranking Republican on the Senate Agricultural Committee, “it helps get the farm bill passed.” It sounds to me as if there would be no support for family farmers if it did not include the food stamp program.
Closing note, the House rejected a five year $939 billion reauthorization of the farm bill last Thursday, and rightfully so. No bill is better than a pork laden bad bill.