Food Stamps and the Farm Bill Head Fake
As the Senate prepares to move a five-year food and farm welfare bill next week and the House marches ever closer toward its May 15 committee mark up, conservative stalwarts are once again tasked with stopping yet another Obamacare-sized monstrosity.
Last year, patent absurdity found a champion in Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). In a statement that firmly planted her feet in thin air and defied all reasonable expectations of truthfulness, Senator Stabenow declared that she and her fellow Agriculture Committee Members would be “putting forward policies that I am sure the Senate will support that will guarantee there is not $1 that is going to somebody who doesn’t deserve it or to someone who is cheating.”
Well, we saw her bill last year—all $969 billion of it. We also saw that it failed to incorporate any of the policy mechanisms that would cut down on the waste, fraud, and abuse running rampant in the food stamp program. As comical and vexing as her commentary was prior to the passage of the Senate farm bill, taxpayers burdened with the unenviable task of actually paying for the tab weren’t as amused.
Both the Republican-led House and Democrat-led Senate versions of the food and farm welfare bill had a price tag of nearly $1 trillion, implemented new market-distorting subsidy programs, and spent nearly 60% more than the wildly expensive 2008 bill that even President Bush vetoed.
This year’s outlook looks to be much the same. And it’s leaving the more acerbic-minded asking when this nightmare will finally end.
Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, recently stated that, “There is less fraud in food stamps than in any government program. There is five times as much fraud in crop insurance than in food stamps.”
Oh, well that’s a relief! Considering how bad the fraud currently is in food stamps, one cannot help but shudder at the thought of crop insurance being five times worse. This just reinforces the fact that all parts of the food and farm welfare bill are promoting bad policy.
The bottom line is that food stamps comprise 80% of the farm bill and have no place being log-jammed into legislation that allegedly deals with “farming.” It’s long past time to separate food stamps and all the nutrition programs from this pork-laden bill.
Conservatives in Congress should not fall for such blatantly political head fakes. And they certainly should not be helping to implement President Obama’s agenda to expand food stamps ad infinitum.