It’s shaping up to being another good year for farm incomes. As a result, policymakers looking for spending cuts are finally turning an eye toward farm subsidies. An emerging target is the $5 billion in annual payments made to farmers…for basically just being farmers.
From the Wall Street Journal:
With the farm economy booming and Washington on a diet, a program set up in the 1990s that cuts checks to farmers could be trimmed or eliminated next year when Congress writes a new five-year farm bill.
A group of conservative lawmakers has set its sights on these direct payments, and even farm-state Democrats who like the program say high crop prices make the outlays of about $5 billion a year harder to justify. Recently, the National Corn Growers Association, an industry lobby group, urged Congress to revamp the program, fearing it would be eliminated altogether.
As the Journal notes, the 1996 farm bill created these payments as a temporary handout to help “transition” farmers toward greater reliance on supply and demand. Instead, Congress and the Bush administration turned it into a permanent handout in 2002. If ever there was a symbol of Washington’s inability to get farmers off the taxpayer teat, this was it.Details