Farm tractor

What Costs A Trillion Dollars and is Riddled with Green Energy Subsidies?

The farm and food stamp bill.

The trillion-dollar farm and food stamp bill helps lawmakers from agricultural districts, big-government liberals, and large corporate farms at the expense of consumers and taxpayers. The cherry on top, though, is that it includes subsidies for green energy – because President Obama’s meddling in the energy industry has gone just swimmingly in the past!

Sure, if the bill passes, lawmakers from agricultural districts will be able to go home and tell large corporate farmers they’ve secured for them Depression-era subsidies and taxpayer-funded crop insurance that have no place in a free-market economy.  Russ Vought explains the bill “contains lavish price supports and revenue guarantees for farmers.”

These price supports and revenue guarantees take the form of a new “revenue protection” entitlement program.  And that is on top of “currently established subsidized crop insurance set at current crop prices that are at all time highs,”  Remember, “subsidized” means money goes from your paycheck into someone else’s wallet.

Obviously large, corporate farmers will be pleased with this bill, which helps them drive out competition:

Ironically, as large farms receive massive subsidies, they are better able to compete against smaller farms and keep out any new competition.

And yes, big government liberals will get their fix too, since 80 percent of the spending in the bill goes towards food stamps.  The only good news on this front, as we’ve noted, is that the inclusion of tens of billions of dollars for food stamps in the farm bill may actually diminish rather than augment prospects of the bill’s passage in 2013.  Food stamps, in the past, have been used as a bargaining chip to win votes from urban and suburban lawmakers, but this year food stamps are making passage harder.

As if all these subsidies and food stamp spending were not egregious enough, the farm and food stamp bill also contains subsidies for green energy.   Heritage’s Nick Loris cuts right through the Washington spin:

Slapping the word rural in front of a bunch of green subsidies does not mean they’re not subsidies. But that’s exactly what the Rural Energy Investment Act section of the Senate version of the farm bill legislation does.

Businesses do not need public investment to improve efficiency and cut costs; they make those investments regularly with their own money. Integrating more renewable energy will make economic sense for rural communities when it’s not artificially driven by politicians.

As Cato points out, even the left should take issue with these policies.  The Renewable Fuel Standard actually causes up to $52 million in environmental costs from reductions in air quality and will have “modest but directionally negative effects on water quality, water use, wetlands, ecosystems, and wildlife habitats.”

Passing the farm and food stamp bill in its current form would be a massive disservice to America.

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