U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) is working with Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) to fight the Bush administration’s proposed cut in agriculture spending by $18 billion over the next five years. But Chambliss is treading on some very unfertile ground.
The Bush administration’s plan would cost $87.3 billion over the next five years, not counting food stamps and other nutrition programs, compared with $105 billion spent on farm programs over the past five years.
Most payments go to growers of five major crops – corn, soybeans, wheat, rice and cotton.
Lincoln said many nations oppose subsidies for U.S. farmers, arguing that it makes trade between countries unfair. Lincoln said the U.S. market is open to foreign agricultural goods, but that “changes must occur in places other than just the United States.”
The United States needs to deal with trade issues with foreign countries before cutting subsidies to U.S. farmers, Lincoln said, because otherwise the United States wouldn’t have any leverage to negotiate.
Under the Bush proposal, anyone making more than $200,000 in adjusted gross income wouldn’t be eligible for farm payments. The cap is now set at $2.5 million.
I know it makes me unpopular in Georgia, but the free trader libertarian in me staunchly despises most farm subsidies. The problem is that these programs have been sold as assistance for the “little guy,” when in reality, they overwhelmingly benefit large farms who, in turn, buy out small farms.
There is absolutely no reason that the Federal government should be unfairly subsidizing the destruction of the small farmer. The new, lower cap in the Bush Farm Bill helps filter out a lot of the huge farms receiving unnecessary funding.
And with a burgeoning Federal debt, the proposal would cut nearly $20 billion in out-of-control spending.
Here’s a pretty good breakdown on the president’s Farm Bill proposal from the Capital Press.
Johanns said anyone earning $200,000 is among the 2.3 percent richest Americans and that he would have a hard time justifying to urban taxpayers subsidies to such high earners.