Monday, July 9, 2012

Farm Subsidies: The Continuing Failure of U.S. House Republicans

This morning, I received an e-mail from Americans for Prosperity, money quote:
It’s hard to believe, but the numbers show that a whopping eighty percent of Farm Bill spending goes toward food stamp and nutrition programs.  The rest is welfare of a different kind: corporate welfare. The bill includes pork-like programs that do more to support special interests than small farmers, since the benefits go toward the biggest and best-connected farms that know how to navigate the Washington maze.
Every five years Congress must vote to reauthorize these USDA programs or watch them expire, meaning that the so-called Farm Bill is an opportunity to make serious reforms and real cuts to the billions we waste on farm subsidies and food stamps.
The Senate already rammed the Farm Bill through, and they failed to make meaningful cuts. The
House of Representatives is expected to take up the issue this week, and they need to hear from you that you oppose spending hundreds of billions of dollars on even more food and farm welfare.
With all due respect to AFP, the real outrage isn't the content of the bill, it's the fact that a group of allegedly conservative representatives, who were elected with an explicit mandate to cut spending, are doing a farm bill in the first place.  Our government has operated has operated exclusively via continuing resolution for three years now (*).  Nothing ever gets done under normal business these days, yet the House GOP is taking the time to do a farm bill.  Why?!?

The answer, of course, is pork.  Much like the Highway Bill House Republicans passed earlier this year, farm subsidies are a favorite tool for big-spending Republicans to continue business as usual.  I've written about dismantling the U.S. Department of Agriculture before, because nothing good comes out of Federal farm programs.  That Congressional Republicans have chosen to make agricultural pork a priority clearly demonstrates how little they've learned.

After 18 months, the failures of Republicans in the 112th Congress are myriad.  They caved on the Debt Ceiling.  On Fast and Furious, they have combined buffoonish rhetorical bluster with far too little action far too late.  They've caved (multiple times) on the Keystone Pipeline.  They haven't (with the notable exception of Congressman Pete King) lifted a finger to address the ongoing infiltration of the U.S. Government by the Muslim Brotherhood.  Heck, they caved on defunding Obamacare.  On each of these examples, the Republican position has enjoyed public support, yet Republicans in Congress have allowed Barack Obama to psych them out using Alinsky's first rule.  Given countless opportunities to go for the jugular against Obama, House Republicans flinch every single time.

In the 113th Congress, this cannot continue.

As long as the conservative grassroots continues to do what we've been doing for three years, Republicans will win bigger in 2012 than they won in 2010.  Simultaneous with winning the current election, the conservative grassroots needs to lay the foundation to hold President Romney and the 113th Congress accountable in 2013 and 2014.  On a practical level, that means a post-election, mid-November, leadership fight.  John Bohener (along with Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan) and Mitch McConnell have repeatedly demonstrated inept political judgement combined with spines on linguine.  In 2013, Louie Gohmert and Jim DeMint must run Congress.

Returning to the original topic of this post, you can help AFP kill the Farm Bill here.

* I apologize for linking to Wikipedia but it's the site that presents the data most clearly.

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