Thursday, May 02, 2002

Congress Sows Its Subsidized Oats

The farm bill passed recently by the House and Senate is bad, bad, bad. Unfortunately, since it's not a very compelling news topic it's gotten very little coverage. Those news outlets that have taken notice, however, have managed to see it for the stinking pile that it is. The Washington Post called it "shockingly awful" and the New York Times opined that it "is a regrettable reversion to some of the worst policies of the past."

It's full of lavish and counterproductive subsidies for one. From the Times:
"The basic flaw of the bill is that the lion's share of its money goes to subsidize farm output, a policy that stimulates supply, drives down prices and hurts the farmers it is meant to help. According to the Congressional Budget Office's 10-year estimates, the bill gives producers $50 billion, a sum that supplements the $80 billion or so 'baseline' that farmers will get anyway. To put this in perspective, the bill envisages total farm handouts worth around a third more per year than the current foreign aid budget."

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