Taxpayers subsidize about 60% of the premiums that farmers pay for crop insurance – regardless of how wealthy the farmer is, regardless of the income of the farmer, and regardless of whether or not the owner actually even works on a farm. Crop insurance covers not only losses due to disasters, but it also covers losses due to low prices. There is no ethical, moral, or food security reason why wealthy farm owners should be receiving any subsidy. Most farms, like most other businesses, need disaster insurance. But, there is no good reason why taxpayers should subsidize the premiums. Farmers say they need a 5-year farm bill so that they can properly plan. That is understandable. Let’s let them plan on not receiving any subsidy on their crop insurance.
Republicans propose to reduce food stamp spending by $20 billion to $40 billion over the next 10 years. As reported in the Des Moines Register, we currently (2012) spend about $75 billion per year, up from $ 15 billion in 2001. The number of people receiving food stamps has gone from 17 million in 2001 to 46 million in 2012. So, the number of people receiving food stamps has gone up 170% and the dollar amount has gone up 400%! The $40 billion in proposed cuts over the next 10 years equals an average of $4 billion per year. That is only a 5% cut from the current record high numbers.
Under the Republican proposal, many of those who will have their benefits cut have incomes that are too high to meet the normal food stamp guidelines. Their states allows them to automatically qualify because they qualify for one or more other safety net programs. Others who will have their benefits cut include able bodied individuals who fail to either work or attend job training for at least 20 hours per week.
Given the improving economy, declining unemployment, and our tremendous budget deficit, these cuts appear very reasonable. How can we ever solve our budget deficit problems if we can’t make cuts like these?