COMMENTARY: Big-spending farm bill won’t help Connecticut farmers hit by drought

  • Updated: September 7, 2012 at 4:19 PM by Zachary Janowski

“Never let a good crisis go to waste,” former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel famously advised.

Governor Daniel Malloy and Congressman Chris Murphy seem to take this advice to heart: with more than half of the country recovering from drought, they are calling on the House of Representatives to bring the trillion-dollar 2012 farm bill to the floor and pass it quickly.

Malloy and Murphy overlook the facts in order to advance a meaningless political talking point. They are using the drought to gain political cover to rush through a trillion-dollar spending bill.

In reality, farmers are already well-protected from the drought. The federal government heavily subsidizes crop insurance programs, which will allow farm businesses to recover as much as 90 percent of their expected revenue. Some farmers may even see record profits this season, since concerns about low supplies have driven up commodity prices. These record-high prices will be used to calculate losses, meaning that farmers will receive higher crop insurance payments.

Connecticut farmers are in better financial position than farmers in other states, since they get more financial help from the government. On top of the federal farm programs, our state government provides a high level of support for farmers through safety net programs funded through the Community Investment Act.

The farm bill will do little to help farmers deal with this summer’s drought, since the vast majority of the programs in the farm bill don’t even go toward farmers at all. Nearly 80 percent of the $955 billion bill would go toward social welfare programs, such as food stamps. Merely 9 percent of the total cost of the House bill would be spent on crop insurance. The remaining 11 percent mainly goes toward special interest handouts in the agriculture industry.

Fast tracking the bloated farm bill through the House would leave taxpayers holding the bag, who are already facing a national debt of nearly $16 trillion.  Now is the time for government officials to look for ways to rein in their reckless spending spending—not promote it.

Unfortunately, the House version of the bill is prepared to spend more than ever. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the 2012 farm bill will cost $955 billion from 2013-2022. American taxpayers can’t afford to continue this out-of-control spending.

Whatever House lawmakers decide to do, they shouldn’t rush to pass this trillion-dollar bill through just for the crop insurance—particularly since farmers are already protected. If they decide against bringing the farm bill to the floor, it would not hurt their recovery from the current drought at all.

The Constitution State is home to over 75,000 Americans for Prosperity activists. Rep. Murphy and his colleagues in the House should know that we will watch to see how they vote on this issue. With several options on the table, lawmakers in Washington should take a step back and consider real reforms to U.S. farm policy. They shouldn’t act with a false sense of urgency.

J.R. Romano is the state director of the Connecticut chapter of Americans for Prosperity.

zombie_woof says:

Hillary Clinton has also expressed an appreciation for crises, “Never waste a good crisis” is a statement she made to a young European audience in 2009 in reference to the global warming issue which may or may not be scientifically founded but the greater point seems to be a mind set of those who have attained some measure of influence that a sense of panic can be utilized as a tool to manipulate the masses.

As for the spending bill- it seems to be a case of missing the forest for the trees if I read the legislative process properly… using the response to the economic collapse as an example, trillions of dollars thrown at the situation that in retrospect appears to have richly rewarded the very sector near the epicenter of the mess by handing a dollar amount that exceeds the annual GDP of many countries over with no strings despite being sold to a shocked and defrauded public on the premise that it would be loan ready cash cushion to minimize the effects of the housing market collapse and severe devaluation of the mortgage backed securities that our very own government willfully furnished deregulatory cover to enable them to be stuffed into innumerable retirements, stock portfolios,and otherwise representing a great proportion of the net worth of individuals as well as businesses- including banks.

That cushion of cash that we were told was going to avert a deep recession by being used for loans to businesses and consumers was instead handed over to the biggest banks- no strings… who then either sat on it or used it to buy up smaller banks in order to consolidate the industry- creating a less competitive environment from which they could more easily increase fees to consumers who by that time were already feeling the pinch.

Virtually no one in congress actually stood up for the taxpayer during this… and no one really questioned the fast tracking of the legislative reverse bank robbery that was TARP and corporate welfare that was BAILOUT. Further, no one did anything about the burgeoning debt beyond magnifying it and using it for political gain in order to cast rivals as either spending the US off a fiscal cliff or engaging in scripted laments about how the elderly and needy were being heartlessly thrown under the bus in the name of deficit reduction.

The majority of those in government either couldn’t care less about the economic state of the union or see it as too much of a political gold mine to do anything meaningful about it. The nature of these spending bills reflects a disregard for the interests of the people when the contents of the proposed legislature belie the altruistic sounding titles that clearly are calculated to convey to a constituency seen as gullible the idea that the government is at all concerned about them. It is the same with regard to spending bills sold as intended to improve education but whose implementation effectively hands over the increased tax monies to public sector unions, to bloated teacher salaries through collective bargaining and to union labor which wins the union only bidding for work on new facilities that is “for the children” and will little if any devoted toward updating curriculum or making any other changes that would actually impact the learning experience of the actual students whose situation gets shamelessly exploited.

The fast tracking of any bill should be a tip-off that those pushing for it are well aware of the true contents and they do not want to give any time for anyone to actually read and comprehend what the spending is really for. It is how they work… remember Nancy Pelosi ahead of the ramming through of “Obamacare”? “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.”

The bill has been law for a while now and we’re still waiting to find out what’s really in it. If it wasn’t something they knew we’d hate then we’d already have the information. So despite the law’s moniker, there’s likely nothing affordable about it. My sense is that its full implementation will make life UNaffordable for most.

The point is that our legislature may well NEED to rein in reckless spending but their actions indicate that they have no intention of doing so… and with the MSM firmly in their laps there’s no reliable way of getting information to the general population that will be seen as credible. Selling their excesses and waste under the false pretense that it is for our benefit or to address a crisis that we’ve been conditioned to feel panic about is a tried and true way of doing business as usual.