Time to Reform Costly Farm Programs
Rewarding Well-Connected Lobbyists, Encouraging Dependency
(Washington, DC) – With little media attention, Members of the House and Senate from both parties met yesterday to negotiate on a reauthorization of federal farm spending. Their goal is to agree upon legislation to spend approximately $1 trillion over the next ten years. Nearly 80 percent of that spending is expected to go the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (also called SNAP or food stamps), while the rest goes to farm programs.
Jorge Lima, Policy Director of The LIBRE Initiative released the following statement:
"A major problem with America's farm programs is that they are based on outdated laws and programs put in place during the Great Depression. Instead of evaluating these laws comprehensively and updating them to reflect the dramatic changes that have occurred in the last 80 years, Congress tends to 'patch' them up every few years, rewarding well-placed lobbyists in the process. The result is a program that will cost taxpayers about $1 trillion over the next ten years, and which delivers much of the benefit to the well-connected.
Congress needs to take a closer look at farm programs, and reform them to ensure they are serving the interests of the American people. More than three-quarters of all farm subsidies go to people who earn more than the average American – even 15 Members of Congress (or their spouses) have received subsidies in the last year or so. This fleecing of the taxpayer has to stop. This is also an opportunity to re-examine a food stamp program that has grown from 31 million beneficiaries to 47 million under the Obama presidency. Congress needs to ensure public aid is a hand-up, and not a handout."