They just keep spending.
Apparently unfazed by the spending-driven crisis in Europe and our $16 trillion debt here at home, the U.S. Senate is actually considering whether to spend a trillion dollars over the next ten years on the so-called Farm Bill.
In 2008, the country spent $51 billion on these programs and by 2011 it had almost doubled to $98 billion. Somehow the bill’s lead sponsor (Senator Stabenow from Michigan) has the audacity to claim $23 billion in deficit reduction over ten years. As AFP Policy Analyst Christine Harbin wrote, “Lawmakers are now patting themselves on the back for locking in those huge increases and then cutting a little bit around the edges.”
What’s worse, this whole package is masquerading through Congress under the guise of being a Farm Bill. But in 2011 almost 80% of the funding went to food stamps and other supplemental nutrition programs. With less than a quarter of the spending in this bill actually going to farm programs, perhaps it would be more appropriate to call this the Food Stamps Bill.
The bill also claims to end direct payments to crop producers but it puts in a whole new program called “shallow loss” where Congress guarantees big agribusinesses’ revenues will never fall below 90% of their average revenues over the last five years. If a crop has a bad year or if prices fall, Uncle Sam is there to make up the difference. It’s a guaranteed minimum income and it’s just as bad as direct payments.
AFP has issued a key vote letter in support of four amendments as the Senate considers changes to the bill; click here to read our letter.