Farm Bill cuts SNAP for poor, expands subsidies to wealthy agribusiness

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The Farm Bill is full of nasty stuff. The subsidization of crop insurance premiums for instance by the taxpayer encourages farmers to over insure, then when there is a loss the taxpayer pays again on a larger loss than there should be. Then the farmer over insures again.

Last year was one of the most profitable in the history of US farming, yet there was a drought and many crops were lost. The reason so much money was “made” was largely because of taxpayer funded crop insurance schemes.

Such programs are just one of the abuses of the taxpayer within the farm bill. There are dozens, and probably hundreds of others. The whole bill over 10 years constitutes almost a trillion in spending—taxpayer funded spending

In the current farm bill, which is now being reworked as it was voted down in the House, corporate welfare has been expanded while cuts have been made to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP. SNAP provides food aid to the poor.

SNAP is full of waste and in many ways serves as a form of corporate welfare as large companies lobby to get their products and stores approved for the program. This constitutes nearly a direct line from the taxpayer to the bottom line of many food businesses. It should be cut and reformed fundamentally.

But so should the myriad of programs which go to directly to farmers, from subsidized crop insurance programs, to commodity subsidies, to special deals on equipment financing,  As the R Street Institute reports, the farm bill is a perpetual subsidy machine.

The whole thing should be much, much smaller. But any effort to reduce the farm bill’s footprint (don’t hold your breath) should not only be in the area of food aid to the poor, it should also be in bottom line aid to corporations.

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