There was no 2012 farm bill. Instead, in the fiscal cliff negotiations, Senator Mitch McConnell and Vice President Joe Biden agreed to an extension of the 2008 farm bill through September 31, 2013, with the expectation that a new farm bill will be written in 2013. The delay was a real blessing for taxpayers, who would have been stuck with paying for a potentially exorbitantly expensive set of new “shallow loss”, insurance, and price support farm subsidy programs if the House and Senate Agricultural Committees’ 2012 farm policy proposals had become law. But now attention has turned to the 2013 farm bill, with congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle searching for inefficient, wasteful and outdated programs where federal spending can and should be cut. For seven decades or more, for the most part federal farm programs have consisted of an array of subsidies, regulations, spending programs, and land-use restrictions that waste economic resources, transfer tax payer dollars mainly to rich landowners and wealthy farmers, generate environmental degradation, impose fiscal burdens, and are largely responsible the failure of global trade negotiations. These inefficient and outdated policies are once again up for renewal. They deserve to be heavily scrutinized, and most of them probably scrapped, especially at a time when federal budget deficits have simply become unsustainable.
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The Department of Agriculture Administration Building sits next to the Smithsonian. It ought to be a museum, too.
When somebody else pays for their drinks, most partygoers find they want and need more than a modest amount to drink because at an open bar, the cost of a drink is the time spent waiting in line for service. At a cash bar, lines are shorter because most people find they just don’t need that much to drink when they have to pay for it. What holds for drinks also holds for crop insurance.
Congress was unable to pass a farm bill in 2012 because of disagreements on policy and funding levels. With farm bill action expected soon in the Senate and House Agriculture Committees, what should farm subsidy programs look like?
For many years, a persistent theme in House and Senate Agricultural Committee debates over farm policy has been “Give the farm lobbies the subsidy programs they want and the heck with the consequences for U.S. trade relations.”
With Valentine’s Day upon us, Americans will buy and enjoy candies and chocolates by the millions. But every box costs a little bit more because of sugar quotas that guarantee sugar cane and beet producers and sugar processors higher returns than they would obtain if they faced genuine competition...
Florida sugar cane is an industry literally built on big government, and growers know it will wither in a free market.
In the United States, the federal government has been involved with, and provided subsidies for, farmers and the agriculture sector since at least 1862, when the Morrell Act established the Land Grant University system to encourage both agricultural research and education.