Farm subsidies and the military are 2 areas (not the only areas) where “conservative” lawmakers too often look the other way when your money is being spent.
(From The American Spectator)
As the R Street Institute joked on Twitter, this year’s Farm Bill took a similar approach to commodity payments as Oprah does with prizes — everyone in the audience gets some! Current law is already generous; not only is an actively engaged farmer eligible for up to $125,000 in subsidies, but so too is his spouse and all of his family members and all of their spouses. Under the House’s legislation, Congress would have expanded the definition of a “family member” to a ludicrous extreme, including cousins, nieces, and nephews — and you guessed it, their spouses too!
For family members (however loosely the term is defined) and their spouses to qualify for subsidies, all they must do is meet the requirement that they are “actively engaged in farming.” If you think defining nieces and nephews as “family members” eligible for subsidies is a loophole, the definition of “actively engaged in farming” is a crater.
Not everyone in Congress is letting this kind of blatant cronyism go unchallenged. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) introduced an amendment to restrict commodity payments to a farmer, a manager, and their two spouses. This amendment was a logical change to a system that goes well beyond its stated purpose of providing a safety net to farmers. Unfortunately, this smart reform was left on the cutting room floor by the Rules Committee. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) has also criticized the Farm Bill for its definition of “actively engaged in farming,” pointing out 85 percent of persons receiving farm payments are benefiting from the loose definition of active engagement.