Sallie James

GOP leaders are to blame for Farm Bill failure

Much ink has been spilled over the Farm Bill that failed to pass the House of Representatives last Thursday. This measure, the bulk of which is SNAP (food stamp) funding, is taken up by Congress every five years and passed with limited opposition.

But that changed this year.

Sallie James, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute, noted on Friday that this “was the first time in 40 years (or possibly in history) that the House has failed to pass a farm bill.” She noted the blame game being played in the media, she adds, however, that she would like to “bestow Presidential Medals of Freedom on the culprits.”

Indeed. If one wants to point to one piece of legislation that embodies Washington’s incestious relationship with special interests, there is no better example than the Farm Bill.

There are a number of things wrong with the policies pushed in this legislation. For example, it subsidizes wealthy “farmers” — including Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Ted Turnerand members of Congress — and artificially drives up prices by paying farmers not to yield any crops.

It also enacts policies that are protectionist in nature. The sugar industry probably serves as the best example. Through import restrictions, price supports and subsidies, U.S.-based sugar producers get a pretty sweet deal (no pun intended) that helps them avoid overseas competition at consumer and taxpayer expense.


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