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Aggies’ Farm


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aggies%E2%80%99-farm-editorsNational Review:

A bloated farm bill (but we repeat ourselves) has made it out of markup and will come to the House floor with features the Republican leadership strongly opposes. This happened because GOP members on the Agriculture Committee, including some who style themselves tea partiers, joined hands with Democrats to fund a spree of Big Government corporatism predicated on an increasingly remote interest in improving the American agricultural sector.

The bill will cost $940 billion over five years (or about as much as Obamacare purports to cost over ten). Spending on food stamps makes up 80 percent of it, and the bill as marked reports $20 billion in savings by tightening eligibility and closing loopholes in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). That’s a mere 2.5 percent cut. While it’s a start, it isn’t much one of one; considering spending on food stamps has more than doubled since 2007, we think there is more fat to trim. Indeed, the committee inexplicably rejected a modest amendment that would have cut an additional $12 billion, bringing the total cut up to a whopping 4 percent. A work requirement should be added for able-bodied recipients once labor markets return to normal.


The other 20 percent of the bill is mostly bad, too. It phases out “direct payments” — subsidies that go to farmers come drought or bumper crop — which is welcome. But it diverts much of the saving to other subsidies, and is actually less ambitious than the Democratic Senate’s plan, which ends direct payments immediately. And it raises “trigger prices” for various agricultural products, floors below which various other subsidies kick in. Once again, it does so more generously than the Senate’s plan.Scissors-32x32.png

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