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Washington Feeling Pressure from Conservatives to Reform Farm Bill

The farm bill can sometimes be a touchy subject because some people mistakenly think the farm bill is about getting food on peoples’ tables.

That belief, while encouraged by farm bill proponents, is simply misguided.

In the last Congress, conservatives placed a lot of pressure on Washington to reform the trillion-dollar farm and food welfare bill, which is riddled with waste and has outdated programs that need to be reformed.

Lawmakers haven’t forgotten, and they’re not likely to forget any time soon.  The pressure is still on because the good of the economy depends upon seriously reforming all bad bills, especially one that costs taxpayers a trillion dollars.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-OK) wants to move full speed ahead to a farm bill markup on May 15.  But he’s already being reminded that the bill needs to undergo serious reform before it will be taken seriously by conservatives.

He’s already expressed interest in appeasing politicians on both sides of the aisle.  But as nice as that may sound, it won’t necessarily result in a solid – fiscally responsible – piece of legislation.

If lawmakers think about the following flaws in the farm bill, they too will realize that this bill needs to change.

Nothing’s changed since 2012… yet.

Are Washington politicians aware that the farm bill provides Depression-Era subsidies for today’s millionaires?  Because it does.  The bill does not take into account how things have changed – from advances in technology to the size and number of farms.

Are they aware that net farm income has reached record highs?  Because it has.  Heritage’s Diane Katz explains that this is due largely to rising exports and higher corn prices.

Are they aware that consumers are getting the raw end of the deal?  Because we are.  Do they know that the dairy market controls in the farm bill today are a product of New Deal market manipulations to control agriculture prices?  This means that the government artificially limits supplies of milk to maintain higher prices.  And this means we pay hundreds of millions of dollars more for milk and other dairy products than we should.

Are they aware that 80 percent of the spending in the bill goes to food stamps, a program that hit record participation in 2012?

This is just to name a few of the many things that need changing in the farm bill.  Washington, take notes.

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The trillion dollar farm bill must be reformed before it is reauthorized.

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The farm bill contains Depression-Era subsidies for today's millionaires.

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