Friday, November 30, 2007

Why Republicans Love Farm Subsidies but NOT the Farm Bill

At the Republican Presidential Candidates debate, Ted Faturos asked “I'm curious which candidate could label themselves fiscally responsiblee, will endorse the elimination of farm subsidies if they are elected president in 2008.”

Mitt Romney responded “I believe in supports” and Rudy Giuliani added “The governor's right.” Giuliani went on to say “The subsidies in Europe are far higher than they are in the United States. We could reduce subsidies here if they would do it there. But we shouldn't do it on our own.”
{NOTE : For an additional comment on this logic, please see the SIDEBAR below.}

So the two leading Republican candidates professing love for subsidies … but what about the people who really authorize spending – Congress ?

With all the media attention about farm subsidies ( Link -Farm Subsidies Go to Billionaires “Farmers” of New York City , Link - Deceased Farmers Got USDA Payments , Link – How Growers Double their Subsidies , etc.), Congressman Ron Kind tried to address these issues during the House debate. Kind’s proposal would have overhauled the farm bill by ending payments to farmers earning more than $250,000 a year (which was in line with what President Bush proposed), limiting payments farmers can receive under guaranteed loan programs, expanding conservation programs and replacing many subsidies with crop insurance and other protection that pays only if farmers lose money.
Roll Call Vote 747 was voted down by the Republicans 151 – 44 with Minnesotans Bachmann and Kline supporting continuing the subsidies.

Therefore, to an overwhelming majority of Republicans, subsidies are good government. So why hasn’t the Senate moved the bill forward ?

Well, like so many other pieces of legislation, there are a number of competing purposes. So, while Republicans Love Subsidies, there are other parts of the bill that they don’t like – taxes and welfare.
Collin Peterson said at FarmFest "We are spending less than 12 percent on farmers. Over 68 percent of the farm bill is for nutrition, for food stamps and the other feeding programs." {MORE on this in a commentary tomorrow.} Further, the bill would impose taxes on some foreign and multinational corporations operating in the United States that do not now pay taxes on some earnings as a result of international treaties.

There we have the crux of the Farm Bill problem. Republicans Hate Taxes ( I suspect as much as they Love Subsidies) … even closing loopholes to help to pay for the subsidies. Futher, they Hate Welfare (unless its Corporate Welfare which is synomosis with Subsidies.)

There is reason why Congress's approval is so low ... all they want to do is reward potential contributors and not be fiscally responsible in ensuring that our citizen’s receive the essential needs of substance.

SIDEBAR : Romney and Giuliani both complained that foreign governments pay subsidies. Therefore, if America didn’t do also, American farmers would be a competitive disadvantage.
Yet, neither recognize that many of these same governments also provide health care for their citizens … thus the logic would be that American business should not have to provide health care for their employees but instead it should be provided through the government. Don’t US companies that provide health care benefits operate at a competitive disadvantage to their competitors?
Oh, uh … I can see another “subsidy” program in the making.


Karl said...

Republican members of congress also like to collect farm subsidies while claiming to oppose them along with all government subsidies. Michele Bachmann is Exhibit A:

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