Office Rumors

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Richard Posner on the Farm Bill

with one comment

Richard Posner bills the new farm bill (which has passed both the House and Senate) as “Outlandish.” He also has an interesting take on our representatives in government and their relationship with rich farmers:

The President has expressed dissatisfaction with the proposed Farm Bill wending its way through Congress. He wants farmers whose annual incomes exceed $200,000 to be denied subsidies; the present cutoff is $2.6 million and Congress will not go below $950,000. The President’s concern with farm subsidies cannot be taken very seriously, since in 2002 the Republican Congress with Administration connivance greatly increased these subsidies and at the same time repealed some of the modest reforms that the Clinton Administration had introduced in 1996. The Administration’s current proposals would, if enacted, be a step in the right direction, but they will not be enacted, and, judging from the 2002 legislation, they are intended I suspect merely to embarrass the Democratic Congress.

This is obviously a smart move by the Bush Administration, but as simply a political one, is not meant to reform the situation. Also of interest is the unwillingness of those in power to move for that reform. Instead of attempting to buy votes, they could further put Bush in a box and move for true reform, with the Bush proposal at center.

There is no need for the government to be giving subsidies to farmers who are making $2.6m or even $950,000. Profitable farming takes some initial pretty heavy initial asset costs, but the dollars spent subsidizing these people–who don’t really need it–could be spent on funding R&D for a number of energy or farming technologies.


Written by walonline

May 16, 2008 at 10:43 am

One Response

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  1. Why is a farmer’s hat always folded in the middle?

    Gets that way from having his head stuck in the mailbox looking for the government check.


    May 16, 2008 at 11:25 am

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