Farm Bill Pork

On 6/10/2012 The Des Moines Sunday Register reported that Senator Tom Harkin says he is optimistic that a half-trillion-dollar farm bill will be approved by Congress this summer.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry reported: “The bill ends direct payments, streamlines and consolidates programs, and reduces the deficit by $23 billion.”

According to the Congressional Research Service, total Farm Bill Spending has/will be as follows:

2002 – 2007     $241 billion  ($48 billion average per year)

2008 – 2012     $401 billion ($80 billion average per year)

That is a 66% increase!

FYI – The Consumer Price Index for the 5 years from 2006 to 2011 went up 11.6%.  For the 6 years from 2002 to 2008, the CPI went up 19.7%

The Senate proposal calls for:

2013- – 2023 (ten years) $969 billion ($96 billion average per year)

That is a 20% increase!

So, the $23 billion in cuts are really “Washington cuts” – that is, cuts in future projected increases.  There are no real cuts and this bill does not reduce the deficit.  It only reduces the projected increase in the deficit.

We need real cuts!  Let’s start with crop insurance.  The Register reported, “The U.S. Department of Agriculture now pays about 60 percent of farmers’ premiums for crop insurance.”  “Some organizations have argued that the payments are excessive, with more than two dozen farming operations collecting $1 million or more in taxpayer-financed subsidies for crop insurance.”

Why not reduce the crop insurance subsidy to 40% then reduce it by 10% per year until it is phased out.  Then let any private insurance company compete for the business.




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