Saturday, December 15, 2007

VOTE 60 : Klobuchar loses Fiscal Fight to Coleman & Coburn

FYIThe VOTE 60 in the title of this commentary refers to my effort to promote the importance of the US Senate races in 2008. VOTE 60 will be the headline of future commentaries and you can read about it here .

Wanna get a Fiscal Conservatives blood to boil ?

Ask if it is right that $3.1 million in farm payments went to the District of Columbia … or $4.2 million has gone to people living in Manhattan … And $1 billion of taxpayer money for farm payments has gone to Beverly Hills 90210 ?

Fiscal Conservatives see that as wasteful government spending.

Farm subsidies have been getting a lot of media attention … and rightfully so.

Good news for Fiscal Conservatives … we have a Senator who wants to fight for taxpayers’ monies and added an amendment to the Farm Bill to address those excessive payments.

Bad news for Fiscal Conservatives … we have too many Senators that talk about the need for fiscal conservatism, but when it comes to the vote, they side with special interests.

The Fiscal-Fraud Du Jour is Oklahoma’s Tom Coburn (R). There doesn’t seem to be a bill that comes to final vote in the Senate without Senator Coburn offering an amendment … that’s why I call him Doctor Death .
The Farm Bill was no exception as Coburn offered Amendment 3807 : To ensure the priority of the farm bill remains farmers by eliminating wasteful Department of Agriculture spending on golf courses, junkets, cheese centers, and aging barns.
Sounds like a reasonable suggestion … but seven days later the amendment was withdrawn.

The efforts to reign in subsidies had an aggressive amendment known as the Dorgan-Grassley amendment (of which Senator Klobuchar was a co-sponsor.) It would have closed loopholes, placed a hard cap of $250,000 on payments and invested the savings in small business development, beginning farmers and other initiatives to create future in rural America.
Coburn and Coleman voted against this amendment and it failed the SuperMajority requirement (see VOTE60).

Despite that aggressive amendment failing, Senator Klobuchar offered an amendment Roll Call 426 which would allow payments only to full-time farmers making less than $750,000 a year and part-time farmers making less than $250,000, after expenses and use the savings to provide additional funding for certain programs and reduce the Federal deficit.
Once again, Coburn and Coleman voted against this amendment.

Former First District Congressman Tim Penny interviewed Coleman on Friday. Penney is the ultimate Fiscal Conservative and a former member of the House Agriculture Committee and his first question was, “Why did you vote against this?” After hedging for a bit about how others voted, Coleman answered that there are some farmers with million dollar loans and they needed coverage.

Wow. I thought subsidies were to provide a safety net.
IF someone has a million dollar loan, they must also have the collateral and asset base to support that loan. Why one million … what about the poor farmer with $1,000,001 loan ? What about the $2 million dollar farmer?
Isn’t this argument akin to the Social Security argument concerning means testing ?
What is more important subsidizing mega farms or family farms? When smaller operations are driven out of business that destroys the culture of family farming and undermining rural communities.

What is a reasonable safety net ? According to Coleman, not $250,000 … not $750,000 but One Million Dollars !

That’s not a safety net.
That’s protecting a system that ensures subsidies for special interests.
According to Senator Klobuchar the average income of a Minnesota farmer is $54,000 yet there were only TWO Farm Business receiving Crop Subsidy Payments in Minnesota for 2005 that exceeded $750,000 ( oh by the way, they also exceeded $1 million ) and a total of 71 that exceeded the $250,000 threshold.

The bill will now go to a conference committee at which Congressman Collin Peterson (D-MN) wants to get the threshold down to $900,000.

As a Fiscal Conservative, I do not have a lot of hope for Congressman Peterson’s efforts as Republicans Love Farm Subsidies .

Coleman is Fiscal Irresponsibility in Action !

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good post.