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House Farm Bill Contains Sushi Price Supports and Other Expensive Goodies

Monday, June 17, 2013 21:08
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It’s good to have friends in high places. Both the Senate and House versions of the farm bill would reduce payments to growers of corn, wheat and other crops by eliminating a $5 billion-a-year program of direct subsidies while expanding subsidized crop insurance.

But they are being replaced with other subsidies which will cost the taxpayers money via tax dollars and higher costs for certain products.

According to Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, “This bill is so bad, it’s so bloated, some things are beyond redemption”

The problem is you cant get a bill through Congress without adding goodies which help certain House members.  And those goodies cost the taxpayers money.

Tucked deep in the 1,198-page U.S. House agriculture policy legislation is an initiative to guarantee prices for sushi rice. So too is insurance for alfalfa and a marketing plan for Christmas trees.

Catfish farmers also get a morsel in the proposal being taken up this week: profit-margin insurance. The products represent a tiny fraction of the $440 billion U.S. farm economy. Yet each is slated to receive special treatment — either through subsidized insurance, promotional programs or protections against imports — in the bill that carries an estimated 10-year price tag of $939 billion.

Corn grows in a field in Tiskilwa, Illinois. Both the Senate and House versions of the agriculture bill would reduce payments to growers of corn, wheat and other crops by eliminating a $5 billion-a-year program of direct subsidies while expanding subsidized crop insurance.  

“We’re in a golden age of agriculture,” with producer profits projected at a record $128.2 billion this year, Vince Smith, a professor of agricultural economics at Montana State University, said at a briefing on Capitol Hill last week. The House bill “is about as bad a bill as I could think of writing as an economist,” he said.

Temperate japonica rice used in sushi would be added as a crop eligible for price supports. The new program is justified because direct payments to rice farmers would be eliminated in the bill, said Charley Mathews Jr., who raises 600 acres of the rice variety near Marysville, California, about 40 miles north of Sacramento.

Why is the government spending our money to protect the Sushi and Catfish industries?  The extra expense is not the only expense to the tax payers.  Keeping these food item’s costs artificially high means that consumers will be paying artificially high prices.  If the farmers cannot produce these and other price supported food items at a competitive rate then they should not be in the business of producing those “crops.”

How is a Republican-dominated House which is supposedly trying to lower the national debt creating a legislation which cost the tax-payers so much money? What am I missing?

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