Monday, May 19, 2008

Farm Bill 2008

The House of Representatives passed the $307 billion, five-year Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 by a vote of 318 to 106 (H.R. 2419). The Senate passed it by a margin of 81 to 15.

In Utah, congressmen Chris Cannon and Jim Matheson (my rep) and Senator Bob Bennett voted against the bill; however Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Rob Bishop. voted for it. I praised Matheson and Bennett but chastised Hatch (needs to retire, switch parties or join McCain's guaranteed-loser-in-November campaign).

This is bad legislation. This is pandering politics and special interest at its finest. There are no-strings handouts to millionaire mega-farmers at a time when many crops are selling at record prices and farm revenues are up a whopping 51 percent over their 10-year average.

The spin the politician and Dept of Agriculture place on this is that it addresses the following important areas:

- Ensuring food security
- Promoting homegrown renewable energy
- Reforming farm programs
- Protecting the environment
- Strengthening international food aid

This legislation has pretty much flew under the radar. I have heard little discussion by the talk radio pundits. The headlines of "high subsidies when food prices and farm profits are at record highs" has just slipped by most. Even the NY times is asking Bush to veto it.

The government's idea of good ag policy is to allow farming mega-companies to switch human food for inefficient ethanol, promote failed farm handouts and expand buyback programs; e.g., sugar. It raises spending 44 percent above last year's level, which was too big then.

Regardless of party affiliation, it is spend, spend, spend -- the Congress, the Presidency. My new motto: never vote for the incumbent.

No comments: