Southern and Midwestern farmers might seem like natural allies, yet this has rarely been the case in US history due to Federal politics and intervention in the market. Once again Washington, DC is picking winners and losers – and it will surely surprise few of our readers in Dixie that Southerners are the primary losers in this year’s farm bill. Of course, on the grand scale, net tax payers in general (as opposed to net tax consumers) are the primary losers since 80% of the half trillion dollar bill goes to food stamp and other welfare programs. Essentially this is a massive wealth redistribution scheme which takes, on the whole, from the mostly White middle and upper class and gives to the mostly non-White lower classes. SEMissourian has the story:
For once, it’s not Democrats battling Republicans. The five-year farm and food stamps bill now being debated in the Senate is a regional fight, pitting rice and peanut growers in the South against corn producers and soybean farmers in the Midwest.
The half-trillion-dollar bill setting farm policy into the future outlines dramatic changes in how farmers are protected from financial and natural disasters. It would end $5 billion a year in direct payments to farmers whether or not they actually plant a crop and programs that reward farmers when prices fall below a targeted level.
Instead, the government would offer a new “shallow loss” program to aid farmers when revenues fall between 11 percent and 21 percent below five-year moving averages and would put greater emphasis on heavily subsidized crop insurance. Farmers’ regular crop insurance would pay for losses above 21 percent.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates this new shallow loss program could save taxpayers some $8.5 billion over the next five years compared with the current subsidy system.
As with all big changes, there are winners and losers. Southern rice and peanut growers see themselves as the losers. This regional divide is one of the two major obstacles to getting a farm bill through Congress before the current law expires at the end of September.
Nutrition programs, primarily food stamps, are the other hurdle. They make up about 80 percent of the cost in the $100 billion-a-year bill. The Senate proposal would cut the food stamp program now serving about 46 million people by $4 billion over the next decade — largely by targeting abuses.