I thought the consensus was that President Bush was always supposed to be wrong these days? So why is it that he is actually right on the issue of the Farm Bill? And how is it, that Senator Obama, who claims to be a different type of politician, not beholden to special interests, voted in favor of what is obviously a bloated, special-interest laden pience of legislation? Senator McCain, to his credit, voted against it. I can’t stand hypocricy, and the hypocricy of Senator Obama is completely starting to show in his voting record. At least Senator McCain is honest about who he is. He may be grumpy, I may not like some of his politics, and his judicial choices may frighten me, but at least he recognizes the absolute absurdity of the farm bill.
Reasons I hate the farm bill:
1. It hurts farmers in the developing world. How? By the U.S. subsidizing our wealthy corporate farmers, it is harder for poor farmers in developing countries to compete. In the long run, it makes the price of food much, much higher, and makes hunger in the developing world even worse, at a time when the price of food is increasing at an alarming rate.
2. It subsidizes practices that are harmful to the environment and completely misuse water resources. I want to throwup whenever I think about the subsidization of cotton farmers in Arizona, or the disgusting things done to the Colorado River by California corporate farms, all paid for by our tax dollars.
3. The farm bill cut out funding that would have gone to protect prarie grassland habitat and restore wetlands. Wow. President Bush was supporting these conservation efforts. Democrats in Congress denied money for these conservation efforts. Again, I hate hypocricy. Don’t try to sell me on your records of conservation, Democrats, when you are cutting funds that even President Bush proposed for conservation efforts.
4. It is pandering to the worst possible degree. The bill is a shot in the arm to wealthy corporate farmers, already making major profits at a time when food prices are going up, up, up. In reality, it does little to nothing to help small farmers in a place like Mississippi.
But don’t take my word for it. Take the word of my favorite journalist, Bill Moyers from his program on May 16, 2008:
BILL MOYERS: Sure enough, this week Congress overwhelmingly passed a new farm bill. It contains more funds for nutrition programs and food stamps, but continues to funnel billions of dollars to the largest and wealthiest landowners. There was an effort to prohibit subsidies to farmers making $250,000 or more a year, but it failed. Representative Ron Kind of Wisconsin, a Democrat, said the new bill is “well designed to avoid every opportunity for serious reform…while actually piling on additional layers of unnecessary spending.” Republican reformer Tom Petri, also from Wisconsin, calls it “a bloated disaster.”
Here is another look at the farm bill from Bill Moyers program.
And if you want to read the ridiculousness that is the bill itself, read the full text of the bill, H.R. 2419 here. (Aren’t I such a good law librarian to find the link for you?)