This Is a Bad Look: In Current Farm Bill, Conservatives Prop Up Rich Farmers

It’s much worse than “a bad look”. It IS bad. The farm subsidy system, protected by many supposedly “free market” Republicans is a travesty, a scam. A very very expensive travesty and scam. But agribusiness keeps getting handouts. The market remains warped, with the compliance and often flat out advocacy of Republicans who know better.

But everyone wants their pork right? So what if the rest of America must pay for these generally wealthy landowners and businesses?

Every time we point out how farm subsidies are a scam there are always one or two corn farmers who throw their hands up in the air and insist that the checks they get aren’t welfare.

Sorry guys, it’s welfare.

And we shouldn’t have to pay for it. But many of these farmers think we OWE them their government check.

(From The Daily Signal)

Major food stamp reform is a must in the farm bill. So too is major reform for farm subsidies–after all, it is called the farm bill.

Much of the focus, though, has been on food stamp reform, including from conservatives.

How would it look though if conservatives reform the food stamp safety net and as a result improve the well-being of the poor by reducing dependence on government, yet at the same time they expand the farm safety net and increase dependence on government?

This appears to be a real possibility. And, obviously, it would look really bad. One can easily imagine the liberal talking points now, asserting that conservatives hate the poor and love the rich.

The author is correct here but it has to be noted that “food stamps” don’t just benefit poor people. They benefit, handsomely, the many corporations that produce the foods that can be bought with food stamps. Soda can be bought with food stamps for instance. That is big money to Coke and Pepsi.

These talking points regarding the poor would be way off. But, at least in the farm bill context, it would be tough to argue the claim about the rich given that most subsidies go to farm households that have much greater income and wealth than non-farm households (there is a reverse Robin Hood effect).

For example, imagine trying to defend not reforming subsidies to large family farms. According to United States Department of Agriculture data, large family farms, which received 32 percent of commodity payments and 34 percent of crop insurance indemnities in 2016, had a median household income of $347,000 (about six times the median income for all U.S. households) and median household net worth of $3.8 million (about 39 times the median wealth for all U.S. households).