Economic principles get steamrolled by politics as usual every five years in passage of a gargantuan farm bill. The 2002 measure expires in September.
The enormous subsidies benefit primarily the biggest, wealthiest agribusinesses. The estimated cost to consumers over the past two decades: $1.7 trillion.
The farm bill should be vetoed. That won’t happen. So, the best taxpayers can hope for is agricultural aid reform — something on the same scale as welfare reform in 1996.
Before 2002, U.S. net farm income (less government aid) averaged $30 billion. Now it’s reportedly twice as high. The most undeserving must be lopped from the public dole.
And consider government’s bitter harvest: billions in unceasing allocations annually , increased taxes and food costs for consumers and the interminable cycle of subsidies.
And while the fat cats grow fatter on government’s farm handouts, the little guys are forced into consolidation — or out of business.
Perhaps the most pressing requisite for reform is the coming storm from two threatening fronts: Social Security and Medicare. Both are on pace to pulverize taxpayers by 2050. The projected tax increase per household to sustain both (adjusted for inflation): $11,651 .
Stacking another grotesque farm bill on top this mounting burden would be utterly irresponsible.